01/16/2015
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This is what Donald Barthelme wrote about beginnings: “Endings are elusive, middles are nowhere to be found, but worst of all is to begin, to begin, to begin.”

2015, at least according to a random astrology blog I found online, is to be a year of new beginnings, a year of order emerging from chaos, of “exploring things undiscovered.” This is excellent news for those who, like me, got their teeth kicked in by 2014, which I hereby nominate for the dubious honor of Worst Year Ever (not counting any of the Martial Law years, or the year my hamster died).

Of course, we always love convincing ourselves at the beginning of a year that this time, things will be different: if the year just past sucked, then this time it will be good; if it was a good year, then it will be even better; if we had a great year, then this new one will explode our skulls with shockwaves of mega-awesomeness.

“There’s no telling, really, how well these ventures will turn out. There’s something to be said for sticking with the familiar, for doing the things that one knows for sure that one can do.”

In truth, one year is pretty much the same as another, and then we die. Hahaha, just kidding! Not about the dying part though. We’re totally going to die. That’s going to happen, and sooner than you think. I blame carbs.

The truth is, every year is different, but they are almost always different in ways you neither expected nor planned. This is why I am not currently a multimillionaire comic book writer slash crimefighting vigilante ninja: the general failure of plans to shape circumstances to the extent that we desire. This despite regular consultation of random astrology blogs online, which as anyone knows are the most reliable sources of information about one’s near future.

There are a number of people on my Facebook feed who are undergoing great changes this 2015: starting businesses, moving to new homes, shifting careers, getting married, embracing imminent unemployment. (Digression: I have reached the point where everything on my feed irritates me, whether it’s good news, bad news, babies, food, or opinions on Doctor Who that diverge even slightly from my own. I’ve considered deactivating my account, but how else am I going to squander all of my precious time?)

There’s no telling, really, how well these ventures will turn out. There’s something to be said for sticking with the familiar, for doing the things that one knows for sure that one can do. Throwing all of your resources into, say, opening a shop for Frisbee enthusiasts might pay off, or you might be left with massive debts, crushing regrets, and several dozen crates of unwanted Wham-O’s, and missing the security of your day job.

But again: it might pay off.

And then the thought crosses my mind: Well, that could be me. Maybe not me starting a business or getting married (yet), but making a change. We have less control than we like over whether conditions or outcomes are favorable, but the initial (hopefully informed) decision, to do something different that will lead to those often unexpected outcomes, is always ours to make.

The only thing to do is to begin, to begin.

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