So 2014 is here.
So far, it doesn’t feel any different than 2014. Perhaps I have unreasonable expectations or fantasies that the world will suddenly be a better place when the New Year begins. But really, the New Year is nothing more than an arbitrary moment. It could have been a day before, a day earlier or anytime really. Yeah, there are big celebrations, but the world so far has continued to spin at a relatively constant rate and the orbit of our planet around our star is undisturbed – all really, really good things.
So why should I expect something different?
Tradition. Convention. The manufactured expectation that the media places upon the changing of the calendar. Like most people, I DO expect something different, but as every year past, I don’t get anything different. I know why, too.
It’s all my fault.
I recognize that the passing of a year, another birthday or another seemingly significant day doesn’t affect change. I have to do that. I have to make decisions and choices. I have to be willing to affect that change instead of waiting for some random sidereal moment to make it all better. It’s up to me to make those changes.
People often quote or misquote the last few lines of the poem by William Ernest Henley. (It’s pretty clear why people only quote or misquote the last few lines; those are the uplifting lines. The rest is kind of depressing.) Here’s the whole thing titled “Invictus:”
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
I am, dammit. It’s all on me. All.
Though being an Army guy, I prefer to think of myself as the colonel of my soul.