If you’re anything like me (and I suspect a solid 95% of people are, in some meaningful way), this year has been approximately one half fevered nightmare and one half giddy joy. Which is probably the human condition, or whatever. But with recent and less-recent events making me feel like life is an overwhelming horror, I thought it would be nice to dwell on the positives of the past cycle around the sun.
It’s the winter solstice today! Axial tilt: it’s the reason for the season. The days are going to start getting longer again, which is in itself something to be thankful for.
The first thing I am grateful for this year is the ability to find beauty anywhere. My un-love for LA in my last days there furnished me with a brand new motto: “You will find joy wherever you go, idiot.” And three weeks in South Bend provided additional proof, should any be required.
2012 was also a fantastic year in pop culture. By which I mean I Netflixed a bunch of tv shows from the 90s. By which I mean that if I had done nothing else this year but watch Babylon 5 for the first time, it would have been a good year. By which I mean I may have a slight Babylon 5 addiction.
Fortunately, I also happened to graduate college (what?), attend two kickass weddings, read a lot of cool stuff, and get a job (again, what?).
AND there was a Hobbit movie, The Avengers, Cabin in the Woods, Theatre is Evil, Transcendental Youth AND The Doubleclicks fixed “Baby It’s Cold Outside” with Star Wars? And, in space news, Dragon and Curiosity and yes, Mohawk Guy:
When you put it that way, it hasn’t been all bad.
So on this solstice I would like to say that the world is a terrifying place full of darkness and drought, but by pure chance I happen to have: a loving and absurdly generous family with a wicked sense of nerdy humor, amazing friends who have somehow put up with me for anywhere from 4 years to 2 decades, a job where I am appreciated and paid more than minimum wage, a warm bed, really genuinely amazing taste in culture, a college degree in two absurdly different fields, an adorable car with decent gas-mileage that I have yet to name, some pretty impressive Christmas cookies, potable water, mental health, clearly-articulated life goals, and literally dozens of public-domain books on my Kindle. And if you’re reading this blog, I wish you all the same, and more.
Because it is the best (read: only) gift I can really give via blogging, here are a few of my favorite reads from the past 12 months. They should, needless to say, be yours, too.
A Canticle for Leibowitz (I mean ohmygawd A Canticle for Leibowitz)
The Sparrow (2012 established my weird love of religious science fiction, apparently)
Besides the new books, 2012 and my summer-through-fall of unemployment furnished me with the opportunity to revisit some of the books that shaped who I am as a person, the books whose key passages have probably written themselves on the striated cells of my heart.
Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays everyone! If, like me, you’ve been looking for something concrete and good to do, besides “focus on the positives,” may I suggest the following links: