Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Year of The Suck

I think good years and bad years alternate. For me, they do so not by calendar year, but by school year (probably because all the jobs I start are around this time, all the apartments I move into and out of are then as well, and no matter how old I get I still mark the end of the year by the end of summer). Great snowstorms seem to jump years, the best vacations, fashion that you understand, the good CDs by your favorite band always seem to skip…

Though this isn’t exactly absolute. Fourth grade and fifth grade were overlapping in their radical excellence. Junior year and senior year of high school too. The middle two years after graduation in the city were the ones where I had just enough money and energy to expend it casually and without restraint. But otherwise, it seems cosmically aligned to divvy out one good and one not-so-good. In years, in relationships, in cycles. Maybe it’s to keep us motivated, to keep us thankful, to keep us looking ahead for something better or behind to learn what once worked.

I’m not sure, but over the past ten months or so, I have been experiencing a not-so-great period. It started with a boy and ends with an apartment, and in between there was a job situation, a friend conflict, a family in crisis. It is true what is said about the rule of three, not just that bad things happen in this number, but the really big three: work, boyfriend, home, are never in sync at the same time; can never co-exist. If one is good, count yourself lucky, because the others may very well be bad beyond recognition. If you’re truly hapless, all three will clash violently at once, never to be outdone by the heartbreak of one another.

The solution of course is this: lose that attachment. It’s the expectation of the outcome that keeps us dissatisfied. It keeps us controlled—our own wants and desires mistaken for needs keep us away from our Zen goals. It is our need to grab on tight that kills the chance; that crushes our spirit animals. If we could relax, if we could breathe, we would see that so much of our life has been and always will be in flux, in transition, is uncertain. And yet, we still squirm at the thought, we’re still uncomfortable and we still push against the natural wave of change.

If there were no change we would never have seasons and by that logic, pumpkins. Never experience anything beyond our invisible bubble, never meet new people, grow, find love, get pets, taste edible flowers, upgrade our bed sheets and shower nozzles, get and blow our own paychecks on the adult equivalent of comic books (New York mag, Vogue) and bubble gum (wine). We would not learn a way to prevent past hurt or have memories of why a moment was special between two people, flashes of riding in the backseat of cars at night, knowing all the words to a song currently playing on the radio, and having nowhere to be. We wouldn’t realize this once it was gone without change. It would not be momentary and extraordinary. It would be usual without such an impetus. We know with our most right mind that change is good and always has been. It shakes things up, it drives us and moves us, propels us forward, lets us know that we have meaning even in the smallest of things.

But knowing the solution and being able to apply it, even when the light at the end of The Year of The Suck is within reach, are two completely different things…


Anonymous said...

Here's to next year being the year of the anti-suck!

Year of the cool?

Year of the awesome?

Anonymous said...

"If there were no change we would never have seasons and by that logic, pumpkins."

I'm ridiculously averse to change, but viewed this way, I suppose it seems okay. Where would we be without pumpkins or autumn?