Well, 2013 is almost over. Tomorrow it will be a mere distant and nostalgic memory of another time, like sepia toned photographs of the Dust Bowl era or Lauren Baccall. For we, humanoids, the ending of a year brings out a lot of stuff in each of us. For one, a lot of us do this whole Christmas ordeal, which is taxing and delightful and more exhausting than it has any right to be.
Then we celebrate the start of a new year, and the end of this one. In reality, it doesn't matter at all. As you all know, time is a silly abstraction human folk formed to give themselves something else to be worried about and to, you know, make society run and all that bullshit.
As I look back at this past year, I have a lot of moments I'm really grateful for. I also have a lot of moments that I regret. Moments I wish didn't happen, moments that I know I will learn something from someday but as of this writing still haven't a clue why they happened. Moments that hurt me, really really deeply. Looking back is said to be a bad thing, as it takes us out of "now." I get that. But in reflection, we can sometimes see things a little different. The way certain photographs make everything clearer, or the way you don't notice, until you've uploaded your image to Instagram or Facebook or whatever social media craze you guys have, that the beautiful tree you were standing under had streaks of pink sunlight shining through it's leaves. Or that your fly was down.
Hindsight is 20-20 they say, and I reckon that's true. Is it true for you guys? Or do you just genuinely experience things to the fullest in the moment? And if so... [singing] "won't... you... show... me.... how?" (That was to the tune of "Nice Work If You Can Get It.")
Sometimes this year, things literally seemed like they'd crumbled into pieces too tiny and too rough to ever put back together. But in looking back, I am slowly beginning to see that pretty much anything can be put back together, within reason of course.
Just as, I remember, maybe five or six New Years Eve's ago I was in a particularly low place. I went to a play with two friends but as it ended I felt that punch in the gut I get every so often announcing my overbearing sadness and overtaking depression. It was a place I stayed in for a while that year and it started that night, a few hours before the clock struck new years.
I went home. I skipped any parties. I just needed to lay down, wallow, cry, be frustrated that my life was nowhere near where I thought it should be. That's what I did and I decided to just turn off all the lights in my room, put a blanket over my head, and hope I fell asleep as quickly as possible.
I don't know how long I was laying like that but suddenly in the ambient silence of my apartment, I heard it. "Five. Four. Three. Two. One!" The massive crowd of celebrators, two blocks away, in Times Square screamed and cheered so loud it was like they were inside with me. In the moment, it felt like the saddest night. My life was shitty, my future seemed a bit bleak, I had a bank account that was negative something or other and rent due yesterday. In the moment, it all just sucked.
But now, years later.... I see that as one of my coolest New Years I ever had. There was something so private about it, so selfish in the best possible way, a chance to purge the chaotic thoughts I had built up inside me from a not so great year just as it ended.
Hindsight is 20-20. Let's keep trying to remember that in 2014. And if you space folk haven't figured that out yet, and I bet you have because you're waaaaaaay smarter than us, you guys remember it too.
Because years can be rough, nights can be long, sadness can feel deep as an ocean. Someday, though, those moments of 2013 that got you down or maybe still have you down, will just be a memory of something that happened a while ago. And if you're able, sometimes you can appreciate the pain for what it was.
It's a New Year. New chances to be happy and to fuck up. I'm sure I speak for most humans when I say that I am sure I will do tons of both. Lets just try our hardest not to over think it all. Okay?
Aliens... y'all do what y'all do.
JEFFERY SELF is the author of 50 Shades of Gay and Straight People. He was the co-star of the sketch comedy series, Jeffery & Cole Casserole on Logo, and they will be reunited in New York in Jeffery & Cole: Older And Wiserat The Duplex Theater (January 9-18). You can view his blog at JefferySelf.tumblr.com and follow him on Twitter at @Jefferyself.