New Year's Day

New Year's Day — Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual.
— Mark Twain

I am a sentimentalist when it comes to New Year’s. Every year I make the same list: more reading, more exercise, more time for friends, more adult eating i.e. no fudge, no bacon, no beer. And every year, I tend to stray from the path of goodness and light fairly soon out of the gate.

But this year will be different; I can just feel it. In the first place, I am thrilled and quite relieved to bid adieu to the last decade, one bookended by the deaths of loved ones and best friends; exchanging a well-travelled coast with one less familiar; passing through a turnstile of career choices; single-parenting my son from the ages of 13-23 (and we are still standing together); losing an organic hip and gaining a titanium one, ending and beginning and ending relationships, and bidding farewell to the best dog ever, “Wrinkles.”

There have been terribly keen and searing losses all jumbled together with the joys of summiting Mount Whitney, being published by Knopf, becoming president of UB, watching my son grow with character and kindness; and finding so much more about who I am. As Twain opined, this is a time for “cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever.”

I shall continue to try. Imagining this coming decade, one that will welcome me into my 60s. I am grateful for my good friends both old and new. I look forward to completing my next book—yes, it’s about Mark Twain; seeing my son graduate from Union College in the spring; finding my way into multiple communities of belonging; hiking every single last remaining step of the John Muir trail; “training” our new bulldog puppy “Twinkles,” and fully understanding what Walt Whitman realized so beautifully well over a century ago: “I exist as I am, that is enough.”

We are, all of us, enough and I wish you all the finest next decennium.

Happy 2020!

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