Archive for December 31st, 2017

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.
–  attributed to Lucius Annaeus Seneca

And so we come to the end of another difficult year.  I think it’s safe to say that most Americans considered it a pretty bad one, partly because of the behavior of our mad emperor but mostly because of the continuation of trends that were in place long before anyone even knew who he was…trends like the increasing violence of the police, the increasing prevalence of surveillance, and the increasing number of laws designed to criminalize every aspect of ordinary life.  The year was also not especially good for me personally; oh, I’m not under as much stress as I was last year or the year before at this time, and there were some wonderful high points like my weekly dates (and trip to Ireland) with Lorelei Rivers.  But I’m afraid the damage of decades is catching up with me; none of the old wounds are healing any longer and I just can’t get the howling things to go back in their boxes any more, so now my coping strategy is “spend as much time as possible in the less-haunted parts of the house; eliminate, ignore or refuse activities that might take me downstairs alone; turn the music up so loud they’re drowned out; and spend as little of the rest of the time conscious and sober as is practical.”  Case in point, this very essay; for most of my life this time of year was a happy one, but in the past few years it has become for me a time for melancholy and emotional exhaustion.  It seems the most certain way to ensure that a situation worsens is to declare that it’s already as bad as it can get, so I won’t do that.  But I will say that even in the midst of this blue period, I still dare to hope that maybe the coming year won’t be quite as difficult as the last three years have been, even if only because I’m so used to it now.

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