Both the Christmas tree and the gingerbread house have gone dry and stale. While it does not bother me in the least to pitch a pile of aged cookies and pink frosting in to the compost, taking down the tree is a moment to pause. It might last a few more days. But as much as I don’t want to admit the holidays are over, I’m also glad to move forward. This year, it’s more than turning a page on the calendar.
Fat handfuls of pine needles will scent the house for the last time as I pack up the ornaments and the lights. The twinge I have every year over buying a fresh tree is always offset by the exclamations of my girls and my guests over how wonderful the aroma is. The guilt of cutting down a tree every year to celebrate the holidays is a close cousin to the guilt of eating bacon – and, like the tree, the scent of bacon is one that simply calls forth joy in human beings. Nevertheless, I had to kill something to get what I wanted. That is part of the cycle.
We do have a human habit of planning; our cycles; the next bit of business, the next meeting, the next meal. What makes turning the calendar to 2012 feel so fresh is that many of us feel a great deal less planned out than we have before. The plans are up in the air.
Our culture has so many changes going on, that the future is less clear than it ever has been. It feels as if everything – jobs, relationships, organizations – is in shift. What we may need to kill to get what we want is our previous set of perceptions.
In the last few decades, it’s become common for people to have more than one career. The days of signing on to a job in early adulthood and staying there until retirement are long behind us. Just at the point in time when we have adjusted to having three or four different careers, many of us have lost the option of retirement, and possibly even the option of employment. The very things that have defined our cycles are dissolved.
While the Occupy movement has put our attention on the street, the changes going on inside of houses and offices are every bit as culture shifting and possibly more profound.
The end of the Redevelopment Agency will change much of what we consider our local government in Culver City. Without local tax money to build or support the arts, we are going to discover what our important priorities are, and how we are going to create them.
The status quo is over. What comes next is up to us.
To me, there are few things more exciting than a fresh page. While it’s common to writers to confess intimidation or fear at all that white space, I just love it. Like contemplating cooking an unheard-of vegetable, or a mouth yet to be kissed, I think – hey- this could be a whole new flavor of great.
So, while we consider the transitions and revolutions in process, it’s a good moment to look up and look around. Open space is infinite possibility.
Welcome to 2012 – What do you want it to be ?