Given as I am to worrying over the past and over what I haven't done, or have lost, this of course would typically bring up fairly irrational worries – but I'm older and calmer, and can merely observe such ideas and not get overwhelmed by them. So, without any particularly Protestant guilt or progress-oriented foolishness, I think I can come up with some resolutions:
(a) to continue finishing all those old projects that people have wanted from me, so that my writing/research can be less attached to other people, to the guilt of not keeping up, and to have almost nothing that is 'for' someone else on my list of projects by the end of the year. I believe I can keep the South African project in line with this, by just making sure that anything I agree to do is about my own work, not contributing to someone else's.
(b) to stay calm and not let work, of any kind, get the better of me.
(c) to move again towards habitual behavior of the kind that I need: some regular exercise, even trivial exercise like walking; some regular writing; perhaps, even, meditation (something I have been running around but avoiding for more than twenty years now).
(d) to, as frequently as possible, gently and casually move my attention away from the garbage floating around – bad television, exasperating or foolish people, impossible situations – back to what seems worthwhile: books that go somewhere, battles I can win. To, in fact, choose my battles.
That all makes sense, I think. It's a strange night, dark, stormy, windy, rainy – I have made a possibly foolish plan to walk over to V. & D.'s with A. in all this weather; hopefully it won't be too much of a mess. Or if it is, perhaps we can easily and mutually cancel. But then I wouldn't get to have a piece of that outrageous Xmas cake, the one that apparently has 52% icing, by weight.
Happy New Year....
***Later, after coming home. A. and I did indeed brave the elements (okay, one element really, since it wasn't raining by the time I left – and there was no falling fire or dirt blowing around, so merely a lot of cold air is the truth of it) to go eat and drink some of the vast amounts of holiday food left at V. & D.'s (never got to the Christmas cake though, ate too much to form that kind of commitment to a cake knife). On the way home we were discussing – why are New Year's entertainments, live or on television, so – desperate, so fake? Among the cheesy shows D. kept flipping past we caught some really talented and funny bits from the 2006 version of Secret Policeman's Ball; but then we'd flip back to some dreadful live show where celebrities of various talents would be engaged in cheapening their skills, performing a variety of songs and acts that were aimed at anyone who would watch or listen, and yet somehow not entertaining at all, but only embarrassing. An awful mystery, an unattractive curse – A. thought it might be because these performances were masquerading as parties, which seems plausible. If I were still a performer, perhaps I would avoid appearing on New Year's Eve – like the plague!...