Peace on earth, goodwill to men to which much
of the world paid lip service is nowhere to be found, and the greeting, empty though
it is, joins the tree in the trash. The snow turns to slush, and the taxman is
preparing to swoop down on you, taking whatever money you have left after all those presents and that Christmas shopping.
Before senility sank in, the American radio and television writer and crotchety old homophobe Andy Rooney did make one wise suggestion:
begin the new year in autumn when the trees change color and the weather turns brisk. In January,
nothing seems new, so you have to use your imagination to view it as a beginning. The world looks
the way it did before Christmas, but there's no longer the pleasure of seeing the festive
lights reflected in the snow. The days are shorter, the nights are colder, and the tendency
is to seek comfort in the old habits we were hoping to break. Eat, drink, and be merry, and
light a cigarette while you're at it because the world outside the window is pretty darn bleak.
That's the wrong approach especially if you're looking for love in the new year. Misery
may love company, but companions in misery are still miserable. Love and romance aren't
likely to blossom in the darkness of despair.
So, how do you shake off those new year blues, and make yourself attractive to someone who'll
bring some much needed sunlight into your life in these dreary days of winter?
Sometimes wisdom can be found in the unlikeliest places. Somewhere in my brain there
resides the memory of an episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in which our heroine Mary
Richards is lamenting the monotonous state of her life.
"I wake up. I eat breakfast. I get dressed. I go to work. I come home. I eat dinner.
I go to bed."
It was Ted Baxter, the pompous anchorman more famous for having silver hair than a
silver tongue who saw what Mary's life was missing. He gave her the following advice:
"Wake up! Eat breakfast! Get dressed! Go to work! Come home! Eat dinner! Go to bed!"
Notice the exclamation points. What Mary lacked was enthusiasm, the secret ingredient to a life well-lived.
More often than not, our routine becomes monotonous because we fail to fully experience life
even as we live it. We don't eat dinner. We eat dinner while also reading the newspaper with
a sly eye on the television and with our ear glued to the phone. We hear music while cleaning
the house or while occupying a bar stool, but rarely stop all activities to truly listen to it.
It's not entirely our fault. We live in hectic, fast-paced times but those times are stealing our
lives. Instead of a living a life worthy of an epic novel, we're stuck with the equivalent of Reader's Digest .
The worst thing about living life at an accelerated pace is that we can become impatient in our
relationships. Instead of taking things slowly and getting to know our dates, we may be tempted to
keep watch out of the corner of our eye for a man with a sexier smile or a bigger basket. And
our dates may be doing the same thing to us.
It was probably a Buddhist who said that the meaning of life is life. Instead of taking
each day as it comes, and enjoying whatever pleasure comes our way in each moment, we're
looking off into the distance, waiting for some sort of climax, an orgasmic conclusion,
a pay off. "Where is our relationship going?" is a question we frequently ask of our
lovers when they're not asking it of us, but why does a relationship have to go
somewhere? Isn't the relationship enough? Isn't the relationship itself what it's all about?
So let the snow fall. Let it freeze you in your tracks. Fight the gloom by taking
the time to truly focus on, to experience, all of your activities, even if it's
something as simple as eating a bowl of soup. Put some exclamation points in your
life! Life will never be slower than it is in winter, so take advantage of the season.
© Brian W. Fairbanks, All Rights Reserved.