Motto: Only today is not tomorrow and only tomorrow is not the day after tomorrow! (deep Romanian wisdom… from the category “winter is not the same as summer…”)
Today I have tried four types of champagne - one glass out of each bottle, which is quite reasonable. All were exquisite.
Today is December the 30th. Tomorrow will be the 31st – last day of this year. 2011 is therefore gone, already behind us. The day after tomorrow will actually be the first day of the last year of humankind's short (and petty...) history. At least this is what we read in the newspapers and what the Maya calendar seems to show. We could very well say that the day after tomorrow will be the beginning of the end.
This may also be considered a necessary evil, as endings mark new beginnings all the time.
Let’s take as example my four glasses of champagne. The first one was raised with my current boss, on the occasion of his ‘good-bye’ lunch. He was an excellent boss. He will continue to be an excellent boss, only … for other people. What will he do from now on? He will go ahead in his career, with a new beginning. A new phase in his professional and personal life (well, no matter how much we try to fool ourselves, it is true that the two sides of our lives are very much depending on each other and feeding themselves with the other’s time).
The second and the third glasses of champagne (quite close in time from each other) were raised for more ordinary endings – the year and the training period for some of our colleagues. We raised the glasses to mark the transition towards the next phase. Which is? Next years, next trainee round, next, next… The king is dead, long live the king! This spiral of …-end-beginning-end-beginning-end-… is as old as some famous dilemmas about what came first – the egg or the hen; the lawyer, the politician or the prostitute?... So hard to say and at the same time and so little relevant for the mess we are facing today!...
What about the fourth glass? Well, this one I believe just came natural after the other three. It was champagne day, a day for celebration and smiles. I am not sure if there was anything to celebrate, but what seemed really important was the spirit. And today’s spirit was one for celebration, smiles and hugs, fun and optimism. The spirit of the famous “tomorrow is another day!”.
Then why do we torment ourselves so much when something is coming to an end? It is really difficult to part with familiar things, to step out of our comfort circle. Whenever the decision to change something is within our power, when we have the freedom and responsibility to choose the way to follow, we are prone to stress ourselves, to have doubts about our choices and to wonder endlessly “what if?...” We are afraid of choosing the wrong path, of always regretting we did not take the other one, we did not know better to go the other way.
What seems hard to understand is that … we will always regret the alternative. Sooner or later, the path we take gets harder and harder. Life is never easy and no matter where we are heading, we face hurdles and pain, challenges and set-backs. Life not fair, not smooth, all charming roses that touch our senses with their scent also tear our flesh with the attached thorns. What we always forget to remember is that if we turn back the time to the moment of the initial choice, it really did look better than the alternative path. And so we can never really know whether the alternative wouldn’t have been worse. We always compare the reality with imagination, what we have with what we dream we could have had. And we have to admit that reality looses almost every time in this comparison – which is pretty unfair.
It is completely another story when the change is actually external and unavoidable. Usually that kind of change we embrace with a mix of fear, hope and anticipation. We almost never regret such change, most probably because we do not blame ourselves for the consequences. When there is a scapegoat for whatever bad things happen to us, we make peace with the reality, it does not look so serious or complicated. Is this strange? Maybe … but it is also very human. It explains the successful dictatorships in countries with large numbers in the population. It is quite easy to control a huge mass of people if you give them a direction and a sense of togetherness (be it in front of hardship or religion or common interest). Such regimes did not leave much space for thinking and spiritual growth, but kept the people at the same time busy and rather comfortable. I am not saying it is right, just that it is… not so difficult. People tend to accept their ‘faith’ whenever there is a third party to blame for whatever goes wrong and they can leave at peace with their own conscience and freedom of choice (or lack of it…).
So, I am coming closer to the end of today’s posting and I cannot say that I had a real subject. What I had was a wish to take a glimpse into the year ahead – 2012. What will it bring? Like I already said – the end of the world (as we know it?...), most probably resulting from a multitude of crisis (financial, industrial, commercial, social, political, sovereign, cultural, religious, moral and so on).
Where would then be the beginning? Well… in the same crisis, as we should not think of any final and irrevocable ending. Something has to come out of any kind of end. Do you wonder what?... Well, you have to have a little patience. We will know that exactly at the same time next year, December 31, when we will say good bye to 2012, and look forward to a 2013 full of hope and optimism.
In the meanwhile let’s clean up our houses, get some decent food and drinks on the table, hug and kiss our family and friends, light some nice fireworks, then raise another glass of champagne and rejoice. Let’s welcome the young 2012, as pale and pessimistic (but full of hope!) as it may be!
Happy New Year!