New Year’s Eve. A new decade, in fact the end of the first decade of a new millennium. Furthermore, it’s the first decade that I can distinctly remember in its entirety. I sure as hell don’t remember what I was doing New Year’s Eve 1989, what with being two years old and all. But I remember when the clock ticked down and the lights flashed 2000 on the television screens. I was in 7th grade back then. And look at me now. Probably the most important ten years of my life in terms of the development of my personality and character. All four years of high school and all four years of college were in this decade. My parents’ divorce, the death of my grandparents, learning to drive, learning to play guitar. All of my travels were in this decade; twelve countries in less than ten years. And now here I am: an adult, ready to start the rest of my life.
I rarely put much stock in New Year’s Eve and New Year’s resolutions I find entirely abhorrent. The attachment to an arbitrary date the kind of mystical importance necessary to make serious improvements to your life is both juvenile and unnecessary. Besides, for the last 17 years the academic year meant a lot more to me than the actual calendar year. The first of January presented less of a new beginning than the end of August. Until 2010.
I no longer have the academic year to define the stages of my life. For once, January 1st will represent for me an actual new beginning. I’m back in Columbus from a disastrous four months in Washington and shortly after the new year I’ll be starting many new beginnings: a new job, a new place to live, a new life. A new beginning for once. A real one. For once, New Years Eve might actually mean something.
And yet I can’t help but feel a pinch of emotion in the back of my mind. Is it trepidation? Looking back at what I’ve been through in the last ten years and the person that it has made me today I must wonder “Has it all been worth it?” True, life is life, one cannot attempt to imagine the differences a single change would make without going mad. My life has made me who I am, for better or worse, and while I’m not happy today I was happy once and perhaps I’ll even be happy again. Sometimes I think none of the work and pain and effort was worth what I’ve gotten out of it. But then again, I’m not done yet so, as always, there’s hope. It is, and has always been, my last hope. Hence I look forward to my future not with a sense of fear but of expectation. That pinch in my brain is not, in fact, trepidation but excitement. And thus I present the name of my new blog and today’s entry, not with a sense of anger but of quiet determination. Looking forward to 2010, to the next decade, and to the rest of my life I ask, “What fresh hell is this?”