The turn of the year got me thinking–as always, but in a different way this time. I didn’t think about what I was going to do until eleven, because we were watching The Gold Rush/Pay Day until then. Last year I’d cut it down to listening to the turn on NPR by myself and journaling just afterward. Reflecting upon the year, stating some hopes and expectations for the coming year. Last year’s was an interesting and successful reflection. I looked forward to doing the same this year, assuming I would–until eleven, that is.I found I had no desire to reflect. Or even to think. It’s been an interesting year, of course, but I didn’t seem to care. I didn’t care at all, in fact, about the passing of the year.
So I went up to my room, grabbed a comic book (Who’s Laughing Now?, selected stories and strips from Evan Dorkin’s “Dork”), and read. I wondered if I would do anything else. I pondered my detachment and my mild guilt at that detachment. I thought about why exactly any attachment–of ritual, of tradition–existed in the first place. (Aside from the societal thing, that is.) I thought about these things, but not too much, as I kept on reading.
Having no clock within sight, I read through the turn of the year. It passed, unnoticed.
I think my desire to listen to the radio–at the very least–during the turn signifies my need to feel connected to people. Obviously, as a non-Christian the new year has no spiritual meaning for me. And I’m not one for tradition, as my decision to no longer celebrate Christmas shows. If there was a personal meaning for any of it, sure, I’d celebrate–it’s just that very few holidays have ever had significance to me, especially those with a religious foundation.
New Year’s Day means nothing to me, really. I never has, and last year I recognized that by saying that it was as good a time as any to celebrate the passing of time (if nothing else).
I no longer wish to celebrate–or acknowledge that much–the passing of time. For me, it merely stagnates growth, this constant “compulsive retrospection.” My recognizing the turn of the year has become merely a way for me to feel connected to other people–same with other holidays, especially those I have only recently denounced. As I get older, and my foundation defines its edges even more, I feel that need less. It’s still there, but I no longer feel as though I have to participate in anything meaningless (to me) in order to achieve it. My need for validation wans as I become more myself.
Eric suggested that we are all inherently alone, and that we must acknowledge and appreciate the occasional brief moments of connection we have with others, because that’s all we’re going to get. Perhaps searching for anything more merely clarifies the emptiness, the loneliness. Maybe accepting our alienation is the only way to conquer the negativity associated with it.
I grew up feeling extremely alienated. Always. The times I didn’t were occasional and brief and often illusory. But I didn’t know myself. I was unsure and insecure. I thought that when I got older, and found myself, I would feel connected.
Well, I got older. Found myself. Discovered and settled into my foundation, my being, my soul–whatever you want to call it. And for a while there I felt more connected–and perhaps I was. But perhaps that’s just because I was looking for it less. Because whenever I stop and look at myself, I realize that the alienated child who didn’t know herself and was on the fringe grew up into a self-assured person who knows herself and is still on the fringe. In fact–going beyond my foundation, the more I discover about myself, the more different I feel (and the less need I have to feel the same).
I feel less alienated but no more connected. I’ve just stopped looking so often, so the gap between me and everyone else isn’t so big and obvious all the time. But when my hand reached for the radio the other night (and then retracted), my motivation was clear. And the gap showed itself. It wants me to fill it, to shorten it. Will listening to the turn of the new year vicariously being with others help? Maybe for those moments, but in the long run I think it merely undermines me–my foundation, my soul. The search for validation and connection is still there, and always will be–I just need to figure out how to answer its call in a less blind, less programmed way. I need to learn how to answer it from within myself.