On the Ends of Years

It’s December 1: the final stretch of the year has begun.

Maybe it’s because this year has been particularly harrowing (the most fraught of my life) that I feel more compelled than usual to give the last eleven months a good, hard look.

(Years of reading Buddhist and existentialist philosophy books have taught me that reflection is one of my favored means of regaining a sense of balance—a semblance of control. Reflection allows me a greater degree of intentionality in fashioning the narrative of my life. Through reflection, I can achieve a sense of certainty and coherence that would otherwise be denied by the sheer haphazardness of existence. The Buddhist and existentialist manuals tell me that instead of devoting my energies to the illusory pursuit of certainty and coherence, I should learn to live with sheer haphazardness instead. I haven’t evolved enough to even begin accomplishing that task yet.)

But anyway, here we are, at the last stretch of the year. It’s ironic that the season most appropriate for reflection is also the season that tends to preclude reflection entirely through the sheer busyness it engenders.

(Or perhaps not so ironic. Apart from the morbid, introspective, self-indulgent ones who pass their time writing blogs—like yours truly—who really wants to reflect these days? Easier to turn our attention outwards: to decorating houses, to enduring traffic, to cramming shopping, to attending parties, to organizing reunions, to singing carols, to spending money. Christmas in the Philippines is a blitzkrieg on the senses; an assault on the psyche. It’s a good thing the New Year comes so soon after; we all end up needing the cool relief of an utterly blank slate.)

Anyway, as I was saying, I’m going to be doing a lot of thinking this month.

Let the autopsy of 2012 begin.


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