New years are supposed to be about fresh starts. About new beginnings and start-overs and impossible possibility. But every year, instead of diving forward into the pool of chance, I find myself sinking helplessly into what once was. Memories flood my throat like quicksand, warm and fierce and treacherous. Because the past isn’t dangerous at first. Like quicksand, in small amounts, the past is captivating. It’s majestic. But it is also deceivingly potent. Like quicksand, the past snares its oblivious prey. Like quicksand, it fills in the empty space, pulling its quarry deeper and deeper until, it discovers much too late that it has lingered for much too long; it discovers only after it has asphyxiated.
This year, I don’t want memories. I don’t want wishes or goals or resolutions. I don’t want the fantasy, the promise of tomorrow. I don’t want plans or agenda or deadlines. I don’t want excuses. I don’t want distractions. I don’t want more time. I don’t want yesterday. I don’t want tomorrow.
We all have our demons. The things we wish we had accomplished, the ones that got away. The goals we claim we will achieve someday. We have numerous excuses for how they slipped through clenched fists, shields of alibis to protect ourselves from our shortcomings. To admit that the only enemies we have are ourselves.
A wise older woman once told me that humans are victims of time. Not just in death, but in desire. We miss what has passed while we neglect what is now. And then the present becomes the past, and then we long some more. We fall prey to the illusion that there is always tomorrow while missing today. And in that way, we only have yesterday. I’d like to be the exception, but I’m rather certain I am the rule.
And so this year, I only have one resolution.
To not stand in the quicksand. To not let wistful turn to longing and longing to regret and regret to disappointment. To turn longing to this moment. To be wistful for today. To not wish. To just do.
To live for today.