As good a time as any for taking stock.
First, my gratitude for this abundant life. And central to that, for me, is the woman on the verge. I am absurdly blessed to have had any time at all with her, and she’s given me more than twenty years so far.
A strong mind in a strong body. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Hard work to do that I am good at.
Lots of problems to work out. Lots of shortcomings to chew on.
A family full of lunatics who all love each other.
Good food. Art. Dogs.
The universe which is trying to seduce me into loving it.
The fact of my impending death, without which none of this would really matter.
This year I learned a lot about letting go. And behold, it was good.
You know that one of my favorite images is that of the monkey riding on the back of a tiger, used as a metaphor for how the conscious mind interprets the input of the senses and the unconscious. The tiger is the unconscious and the raw input of the sensory apparatus, and the monkey is the conscious mind. The tiger is running this way and that, and the monkey is perched on his back, holding a toy steering wheel in his hands, pretending to steer.
Oh, and the monkey is facing backwards.
It seems an apt metaphor.
At any rate, this year I’ve learned to let go of the steering wheel and just kind of enjoy the ride. I’m a guy who has put a lot of energy into grabbing hard onto the wheel and turning it with all my might, certain that if I steered hard enough and with enough skill I could keep from driving off a cliff or smashing into a tree.
But that’s illusory.
It’s ill, and it’s for losers.
You’re going to hit the tree, dude.
Might as well sip a martini and just kind of hold the wheel in one hand, like Bond would do, looking all suave and unconcerned.
The other bit of philosophical wisdom I got via Jim Halpert.
Jim says that one of his hard and fast rules is that whenever Dwight asks him if he will join in on one of his crazy conspiracies, his response is always the same:
“Absolutely, I will.”
I just replace Dwight with “The Universe” and follow Jim’s lead.
So, letting go, and saying “yes.”
Those are the lessons for 2011, children.