Typepad, by the way, was down all day Friday, which is too bad because I was inspired and would have written tons of excellent stuff. Today, alas, Typepad is back and so is my regular, lethargic self.
As my regular reader knows, the end of the year is my period of agonizing re-appraisal. Despite my best efforts, I'm drawn to consideration of my life and how it is progressing. I throw tons of stuff away, both literally and figuratively.
I spend the holidays (are we still allowed to say "the holidays" without going to hell?) on the knife-edge of both joy and despair. Christmas is joy. I love the music, the food, the good feelings...and we've managed to declutter the season enough that my familiy doesn't self-destruct if some aspect or another isn't perfect.
The despair part has to do with how my life compares, at the end of the year, with how I want my life to be. My standard is an event I witnessed about ten years ago while driving along a country road near where I live. At one 90-degree turn, there is a driveway leading to a house set maybe 100 yeards of f the road. I saw a convertible sports car pulling off into the driveway, and a lovely woman in a billowy summer dress greeting the driver with a glass of white wine. Behind her was another couple, also with wine, walking as if they had been touring the grounds.
I got about a two-second view of this before I had to return my attention to the road, but that has become the image of the life I want to lead.
Last year my life didn't stack up very well against that image. I'd been in a two-year career holding pattern while a couple of start-ups I was working with gained traction. Bankruptcy, literally, loomed. And then poof! Both start-ups got their money and I had a decision to make. The holidays were a time of hoping, as opposed to hope. This year, deals are done and decisions are made and my career is no longer an embarrassing mess. I have never been a particularly materialistic person, but I can say this now without hesitation: I've had money, and I've not had money, and money is better. Much, much better. And this: Work is something they pay you for, so you might as well get paid a lot.
Still, I will agonizingly reappraise. If I were my wife and kids right now, I'd dress well and behave. Don't want to leave me with a lot to appologize for after the holidays, do we? Of course not. And as for my friends, well...I'm not sure I'd turn my back, if you get my drift.
What all of this means to you, my regular reader, is that posting for the next few weeks are likely to be a bit schitzy: Up and down and all around as I hold a kind of year-end inventory purge of emotions, ideas and experiences. Some will be accomplished online; some will happen in front of the fireplace after most of a bottle of wine; and others will be entirely internal, accompanied only by the sound of deep breathing and a nervously tapping toe. There will be no order to it, and it's most noticable symptom will be every now and then I'll explode into a Raph Steadman drawing -- just for a little while -- and then morph back into my regular, boring old self.
Don't complain too much. It's not like this costs you anything.