Big new year’s energy

I really do. I get a big kick out of the new year vibe. While the holiday-as-media-spectacle can be a big pain in the ass and I tend to avoid those $150-ticket galas downtown, I might have to say that New Year’s Eve is a top-five or even top-three holiday. Aside from going to New York City to see Phish (which is adjacent to the holiday’s most outlandish nonsense), I like a chilled out evening at home with my family. I like feeling the year slip away, with the new one coming on like a faint buzz.

And yeah, sure, I’ve got plans for 2023. Looking back on this year, though, I feel like I accomplished most of my major “five-year plan”-type goals. Our first child is here. The MFA is secured. My first book is out in the world. The work that went into my feature on Kevin Keith has surfaced as a blockbuster podcast series produced by none other than Kim Kardashian. I’m down 22 lbs. on the year. For the first time as an adult, I’m debt-free (setting aside the car note and the house). Credit card debt-free, which feels like I can now float through the air if I want to.

My friend asked: “What is the end of the next five years?”

And I don’t know. Another child? A new house? Another 22 lbs. off my frame? Some sort of teaching gig at a university? A published novel? These are all fine goals–and true enough. But it’s hard to say. Time flies, but it also slows down. Five years is shorter than it seems, and it’s also longer than it sounds.

Five years will put me at 39, and no doubt I’ll be doing all sorts of reflective writing on the idea of turning 40. The past five years seem like foundation-building, and I don’t mean to say that in a way that diminishes anything. But back in 2017, I knew I wanted to get my life in order, as they say. I wanted to improve the posture of my life. I was all out of sorts. In August 2017, I met Bridget, and it’s been onward/upward ever since. I feel tethered, somehow, to the spinning universe. And so, with my wife, I’ve set about the work of building a life with joy and meaning and humor and love. That sort of work, which isn’t really “work,” will continue. That’s the whole point. Each day is a new opportunity to develop the plot. There’s no real need to have a plan, only the self-assurance that each day will follow from the last.

Still, a plan is nice. Five years from now? I’ve got thoughts.

For now, though, the next year is enough. I have one big goal that’s not necessary to put into writing just yet, one big goal that I don’t want to speak. Writing this is enough: I want to be here now.

If I can do that again and again and again and again and again in 2023, it’ll be my best year yet.

For now, though, the next day is enough. The next moment.

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