When I was younger, much younger, I had been accused on more than one occasion of arrogance. Indeed, my 11th grade English teacher called me glib before I even knew what it meant. In most ways, I was a go-getter, shy in my own way, needing a strong sense of confidence before coming out, so to speak, yet a determined chap nonetheless. Never one to talk much about my own “greatness”–the idea that one’s own greatness speaks for itself has always been obvious to me. Rather, one to simply attempt to excel for excellence’s own reward, always intending to be better than before, though a certain Leo aspect in me can help but be driven by tacit competition with others. I had no purpose for New Year’s Resolution; I already had resolve.
My dear mentor, Jerry McCullough corrected me, or instructed me, one might say. “New Year’s Resolutions are not gimmicks of procrastinators or the irresolute,” he said, or so I remember, “but an opportunity to focus energy on specific goals.” At 41 years old now, I’m way beyond any youthful arrogance, sometimes feeling as if I’m grasping at the ledge of some precipice at the bottom of which surely lies misery far beyond the sharp pains of the precipice ledge on my fingers.
A few years ago I learned that balance, at least for me, represented an ideal to the extent that I would have it tattooed somewhere on my body, except for the fact that the image of a balance itself has been usurped by an astrological sign and the Chinese symbol for the word is less aesthetic than I care to display. I mean balance in everything about me–physical, spiritual, financial, hysterical, you name it. I even intend to be imbalanced at times, to even out the constant strive for balance–I mean to let myself go to extremes in a sort of controlled way, or a way controlled enough that keeps me from being a control freak. Balance.
And so I trudge on in another year of life after battling through what I arguably consider to be the two worst years I’ve ever lived. True, I’ve had wonderful times in their midst–Normal Miguel was published and won the Lammy! I took awesome trips. I had a fabulous celebration for my 40th birthday, filled with dear friends and sentiment. I fell more in love with my partner. All with litigation in the background. I won a drawn-out hearing as I fought for my job. I lost the appeal. It’s over. I’m fired.
Fear had kept me up many nights. The fear of falling into that precipice. Poverty, joblessness, homelessness, social rejection, utter loss. So far, I have averted those undesirables and found within me enough of that determination from my youth to move on. Many people have been there for me, and have appeared, while some have disappeared. True what they say–you find out who your real friends are. But overwhelmingly, I am reassured that those who ever knew me and believed in me were genuine, as is their continued belief in my integrity. Far from arrogant, I am humbled and grateful. Many have said that there is a reason that all of this happened, that all will be good in the end. Though I don’t always see the light, I must trust it is there, and that I will prevail. I’ve no other option.
In the meantime, and as I continue down the road, I declare my resolutions for 2012. (I’d love to hear what yours are.)
1. To maintain the status quo of those things in my life that are functional and satisfactory–namely my health, my lifestyle, and my relationship. No balking at such maintenance for often, especially with the eroding force of time, positivity diminishes as silver tarnishes. Maintenance takes effort.
2. To publish both Taxi Rojo–A Tijuana Tale and Day of the Dead–A Romance.
3. To choose a [new] career path and take the plunge and/or continue to seek more satisfying employment in line with my skills, beliefs, and long-term goals.
4. To write another novel.
There. I said them. I published them. No more talking, just doing. Happy New Year and the best to you [and the rest of the world] in 2012.