It is also the month I try to take stock of the past eleven months and see what earth shattering achievements I’ve accomplished and try not to get too depressed when faced with a pitifully short list.
Thus it is the same thing this December month. Except that when it comes to the stocking up time, the only thing I remember is making a list of resolutions in the beginning of the year without any trace of memory of having accomplished any of them. Somehow, between the month of January and this month of December, time was just one hazy blur, moving faster than the speed of light.
It might of course mean that life in the past months had been one big party filled with exciting events – and when you’re working in the media and living in Indonesia, I suppose life does become a series of one thing after another. One only needs to watch the television or read the paper everyday to witness that life really is one endless thing after another.
Except as you get older and you have accumulated a lot more months and years behind you, this one thing after another start to pile up and even repeat themselves so they become one indistinguishable mush called Life. Or is it?
What is life anyway? Is it the things that you watch happen around you, and may be have some opinions on, or is it a compilation of things that one does day in day out with the occasional drama every now and then, but mostly repeats of yesterday’s rituals?
Or perhaps life is the accumulation of all those shades of felt emotions ranging from excitement, disappointment, frustration, contentment, boredom and so on felt over and over again until one is so familiar with the entire gamut that there comes a point when they cease to have much effect and one learns not to attach any importance or meaning to them anymore?
And may be then you learn that the secret of life lies not in the past or in the future, in regrets or in anticipation, but in the present and as such there is no meaning to it other than what your imagination, wishful thinking and belief system imbue with.
This of course never stops one from trying to impose meaning and set milestones in the course of one’s life. Except that because the distance from one year seems to grow shorter and shorter while memorable achievements become less memorable as one’s definition of memorable evolves with the advancing years, what constitute milestones too change with one’s priorities.
Approaching this year’s birthday I realize that there are still birthday gifts from last year that are still in their wrappers. As a matter of fact if it weren’t for the sake of others who look forward to celebrating my birthday, I would quite happily hide my head under the covers for the day and allow the time to pass.
It’s not the passing of time and the addition of another year to my age that bothers me, but it’s seeing the people around me grow older and thicker round the waist and the young ones becoming full grown adults while I myself don’t feel any older or wiser than when I was still in high school, that is disturbing.
Soon I shall have to jot down my resolutions for the coming year. For this I would need to take a look at the precious little folded up paper I keep in my wallet with my list of new year’s resolutions I made for this year and see how well I’ve scored.
High on the list is to finish the book I am working on. This was a resolution carried over from the previous year that never got completed. I’m ashamed to say that this year I forgot I even had that resolution let alone put pen to paper and produce my masterpiece.
Next is learning how to cook. I wonder what Muse inspired me to come up with that resolution in the first place but suffice to say I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve ventured into the kitchen this year so we could forget about that one.
As to the other resolutions on the list I could not really strike them off either and earn myself a pat on the back. My time management is still substandard while a cinema once a week remains in the realm of fiction.
I try to conjure up the things of significance I did manage to achieve just so that I could make some kind of mark on the paper and couldn’t think of anything worthy of note.
But I take this as a good sign. It means that I still have plenty of room for improvement and hence deserve plenty of time on this planet to get myself sorted out and my list ticked off.
(Desi Anwar: First published in The Jakarta Globe)