2014 – A Blank Page


Happy New Year to everyone out there in the blogosphere!

Last night we were invited to a party with old friends, good food, freely flowing inebriants and a fireworks display, solely for the purpose of celebrating the advent of the New Year. No doubt a great many of you did the same. And a great many of you (I won’t include myself since I was the designated driver) woke up at midday a bit worse for wear. Never mind. Who’s counting anyway?

Backtracking to 12:30 a.m, when the hubbub of cracking explosives, kissing and hugging, and the slurping of bubbly had subsided to a virtual quietude amongst the guests, I asked the fatal question:

Has everybody made their New Year’s resolutions?

And what exactly was on their lists?

The response was a deafening cacophony of denial. No one had bothered to make – or even think about – what they could do with 2014.

It could be that I’ve been reading far too much motivational material to help psyche me for the work at hand, but I was surprised, and a bit disappointed at their reaction. Each of us goes to such lengthens to extend our lives, but to what purpose? Not that I’m suggesting we all have to take on unrealistic, unachievable goals, but maybe we should become more aware of the passing of time and how profligately we throw it out the window. For suddenly, we may find that the commodity we most cherish has run out on us.

A few days ago I took stock of 2013, how it let me down and how I let it down. Then I began thinking about my priorities for 2014. These kinds of assessments are very private and personal. They don’t have to be shared with anyone. So I don’t have to confess at the end of the year whether I succeeded or whether I fell short. Unless I want to. And as a typical member of the human race, I am more inclined to share the successes rather than the failures. But if I think about it, failures aren’t written in stone. I can keep working at those issues and maybe I can move them to the positive side of the balance sheet.

If I keep my eyes on my priorities, I can transform the blank page that is 2014 into a worthy story.






Filed under Beginnings, Endings, Fiction and Other Truths, Seasonal Reflections

17 responses to “2014 – A Blank Page

  1. Alison Ward

    Oh Debbie, I’m sorry that our deafening silence/denial let you down so much! I have become very fatalistic since Tim’s death and have decided that there is absolutely no point in making promises to myself or anyone else, as Fate always wins; which is another way of saying that I’m totally lazy. Maybe 2014 will be a year of new opportunities, new friends (why? – I like all the “old” ones!), new fitness – unlikely! Che sera, sera.
    (And I thought we were all realtively abstemious last night – there were no hangovers at the breakfast table! Maybe from your prespective of designated driver it looked a little different.)
    Time does run out on us, sometimes when least expected or, almost more awfully, dragging out the inevitable (Schumi?) I never used to think about it at all (forever young?), but circumstances over the past 3 years have forced me to and I still don’t think that a “resolution” will make a lot of difference. Cynical old me…..with maybe a few other cynics as fellow party guests?
    Just accept what life throws at you – the good, the bad and the bloody awful. And the wonderful too of course – Hazel getting married in August, for instance!
    If this were a novel I would be going totally bananas at all the parentheses, exclamation marks and generally superfluous asides. This is why I am not you.

    Love Alison

    • Dear Alison, We can’t do much about what Fate (with a capital??) throws at us, but there is so much we can influence in our lives. And I believe, as a case in point, that you have grabbed it by the horns and grappled bravely with what your life has forced upon you. So no need at all to hide your accomplishments under a barrel. They are wondrous. May 2014 see you continue along this very positive path! Love, d

  2. LD

    All the best for 2014 Deb. Hope it is everything you hope it to be

  3. Raymond Gann

    As someone who in the past has been too indolent to make New Year’s resolutions I find that this blog has inspired me to reconsider my ways. New Year’s Resolutions do not on the whole have to be earth-shattering and especially as one enters one’s dotage it is no bad thing to realise the one or two modest goals which I am willing to share, to be measured by and perhaps to be mocked for. So here goes:
    1. By May 31 st I wish to weigh 71.5 Kgs (currently 75,5)
    2. I would like to remove the 30 Thuja Stumps in our front garden by December 31st 2014
    3. I would like to write at least 10 Blogs in 2014 (www.ray-finance.com – plug plug)
    4. I would also like to have finally read the following books which I have been “stabbing” at for the past few years:
    a) A History of Christianity by Diarmaid MacCulloch
    b) Thinkinfg the Twentieth Century – Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder
    c) Pure Harry – The Wit and Wisdom of Harry Redknapp
    d) The Autobiography of Margaret Thatcher – Charles Moore
    e) Decline of medieval Hellenism – Speros Vryonis Jr.
    f) 1688 The First Modern Revolution – Steve Pincus
    g) The Ministry of Special Cases – Nathan Englander
    h) Iron Curtain – The Crushing of Central Europe – Anne Applebaum
    i) On the Eve – The Jews of Europe before the Second World War – Bernard Wasserstein
    5. Getting my golf handicap below 30 (currently 34,6) and more importantly overtaking taking (currently 33,0 😦 )
    6. Organising (with Nicholena of course) a Sommerfest in Würges
    7. Writing 2 CIMA Germany Newsletters
    8. Getting Spurs into the Champions League
    9. Topping the Einbeck Bridge League on at least one Wednesday
    10. Err. Fitting my job somewhere between.
    Well that’s it, I am willing to be judged by my peers on my performance, as I fail gloriously

  4. Wow, Raymond, that’s quite a catalogue you’ve presented us with. And since it is so public – well, at least for the five other people who visit this blog (I’m only joking, it’s three) – we can all check up on you! 😉 I trust you will supply us with quarterly reports – if you can fit in writing them between accomplishing all of the above (am keen to see what you do for the Spurs!) and holding down a job.
    Of course, I am very pleased that my post has inspired you to not waste your time in the new year. For example, you can save a lot by not reading blogs of questionable value. 😉

  5. Raymond Gann

    Well I thought I would throw my hat in the ring and frankly pretty harmless. I am not goint to writhe in embarrassment should my resolutions Pop up in the Internet somewhere. I can already Report that I have read “Pure Harry” and have only 20 pages left on “Thinking the 20th century” Weight is however going North or is it South ? (Which is the bad one ?) However I will resrict myself to quarterly reports. I hope that others feel similarly. I think yours was a good idea as one would expect of a blog of unquestionable value 🙂 Its something to talk about and I would be interested to know what my friends feel resolved to do this year. I am sure few want to just drift along. Have to go it’s the Job Thing.
    Below an amusing link

  6. Raymond Gann

    Correction: and my resolutions are frankly pretty harmless

    • nic

      Sorry chaps; no resolutions, ( bit like the Euro crisis really c.f baron Munchausen in the FT today) just life as usual and a determination to do more of the same: 7.00 – 8.am Bach’s chaconne in d minor on my dilapidated and for the purpose re tuned to lower D , but much loved classical guitar – the longest piece ever for guitar at some 15 mins. – an architectural set of variations originally written for the violin; then, as rosy fingered dawn ( lucky old Dawn) creeps over the horizon, the eternal DIY which for the time being is restricted to the construction of a gothic pair of doors in the perpendicular style the better to obtain ingress to the dog food and cellar, begins. At crepuscular light’s onset the evening’s entertainment takes place at the computer keyboard –such activity to be regarded as a sandwich course around the preparation of supper; t’is the translation of a semi-deranged neighbour’s book from yer akshull Frog , she’s a Belgian ( what’s that country for? by the way) whose life’s work purports the presence of Charlemagne hereabouts; a Herculean task on my part, the comparison with which puts old Sisyphus’ ‘A’ level rock throwing on what Bloomberg would term a downgrade, and that necessitates frequent visits to monumenta germaniae historica on line, the better to check her references to her only reliable witness , one, Anglibertus, , official poet eulogist and daughter co-habitator to Charles himself, who writes in Latin.

      If your antennae for parody are by now twitching to a droop you may have surmised that when the above labours pall and bog reading is required or a soporific is called for, I fill in the time by reading Proust. This fellow apart from being quite a quiet wit , not an attribute you’d easily gather from Moncrieff’s rather prosaic if not a mite leaden translation- en passant temps perdu means both lost time and wasted time- distributes a mean subjunctive in every tense, much in the same rather profligate manner that Boadicea ,our feistiest of Icenian queens before Thatcher, distributed across the battlefield , by way of a motion that was as circular as it was effective being attached to the finest examples of the wheelwrights’ trade, the limbs of those Romans who had thought to subjugate her.

      • What an amazing way to spend your days, Nic. I am envious. Especially about that book translation you’re working on. And I trust the doors will be finished by spring to allow scrutiny.
        You are, indeed, one of those rarest of creatures known as a Renaissance man, both talented in the arts and literature as well as in manual creativity. One such as you has no need of New Year’s resolutions, because you are far too busy getting on with your projects and have no time (or need) for mulling them over and writing them down. Keep up the great work in 2014.

    • Sounds like you are already diving into your 2014 challenges. Good work. The weight thing is really a very special issue, isn’t it? (sigh!)
      You say your resolutions are harmless but they are one thing you can really call your own (as your can, according to Billy Joel, your mistakes). So no need to fret. Do our lives not consist completely of things “that are pretty harmless” but to us they are important. That, in the end, is all that counts.

  7. Reblogged this on dchubbardwrites and commented:

    Another year of my life – and yours has just slipped away. A year in which I did much, but not nearly enough of what was on my maybe-unrealistic annual to-do list. But being of the self-flagellating persuasion, I just re-read my motivational post written exactly a year ago. No, the year did not fail me, nor I the year. But the overflow from last year’s projects and intentions will be more than sufficient to fill 2015. In this new year the emphasis will be a different one.
    It will most definitely be on the writing. In fact, I’ve just been invited to join a secret society of writers, the sole purpose of which is motivational. Nothing like encouragement from other like-minded people to get you onto your backside in front of that computer (but, no, NOT on social media!!) to work at those stories brewing inside your being, to get them flowing from brain to arms to fingers tapping on keyboard. Thank you, new friends, for including me in this venture!
    To other friends who find making plans and setting goals either futile or too daunting, I wish you a year that changes your mind. And maybe, in reality, those goals and plans do exist. You just aren’t opening your eyes.

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