A moment in Lady Chapel at Glastonbury Abby, completed in 1186 or 1187
Video and voice by Gillian Cornwall, c. 2015
I don't feel any damn different than yesterday, you know, 2016 - that random number of years made up since blah,blah, blah and the random number of hours in a day, blah, blah, blah.
You see, the thing is, it's just one more way that we have built time and opportunity to judge and compare one external thing against another. I think I would just as soon not know how old I was, not have years to hold up next to the previous or the one coming - all these things that keep me out of the now and remind me that in 3 months I don't have a job anymore or that I am still held hostage by PTSD or that it is likely that more of my path lies behind me in this life than ahead. You see, it's all going to unfold no matter how we mark it. Every day, even the hardest ones, I remember that I am on the right side of the grass. There is opportunity for positive energy to occur - whether it is something that brings me benefit or benefit to another. On my worst day, just maybe there is a small act of service I can perform for another that will shift the universal energy to the positive - something to cause a ripple or a refraction of light and love that will bounce its way around the globe. Maybe that is always enough.
I do not enjoy New Year's Eve. I don't enjoy all the drunk amateur revellers who use it as an excuse to get pissed up and have a good cry, a good punch up or a good yell outside my home at 3 a.m.. I would like to be more compassionate about this sort of thing since I've been that person in my younger days but it just irritates me because it seems like such a waste and they are all going to feel like hell today.
Frankly, today it all just seems absurd to me. Imagine life without a calendar, a life without running ourselves up against everything and everyone else everyday. Whenever I have had the privilege and luxury to step out of my workaday life and go away knowing I had a job to come back to, like my trips to the UK and Hawaii that lasted a full month (yet another measure of time), I managed to leave time behind and be present in each moment. It is astounding how long time seems when I do this. Days and nights stretch on because they are not being held responsible. I am able to be where I am, doing what I am doing, without the stricture of routine and measurement.
All I find I want as we head into this "new year" is more of this whole "time" thingy. I want to stop without worrying that I will end up homeless in 3 months. I want to write more so I can be really good at it, as best as I can get. I want to draw way more pictures. there are so many more stories and pictures inside me. It's kind of tragic being an artist because you don't get paid much to be that - society does not value it as a necessity and will not pay for it. So, I work at a job so I can pay the bills and use the time I do have available to me to draw and write and try to maintain any friendships that I haven't already lost through being kind of broken. If I can get my novel published and I win the novel lottery in JK Rowlings fashion, I may be able to retire from the regular workforce and draw and write to my heart's content. I can't bank on that though so I will finish the novel because I want to, because it is worth it to me and it is something I can create regardless of how good or crap it may be.
Let it be said though, that I am making the most of it all regardless of my fortunes. I write to you every week, dear readers, I draw (a great deal more that most) and I still have work, a home, food and friends and no-one is dropping bombs on me. I have it way better than 90 percent of the global population.
I have been radically changed by this onset of PTSD, post lay-off. I function just fine out in the world but it's taken a great deal away from me - sleep, relationship, physical strength, the list goes on, BUT, I am still here and grateful for the "time" and opportunity to create beauty.
I wish the same opportunity for you - the chance to be, with all the basics covered: food, personal safety, shelter, people to care about and who care about you and, finally, chances to discover and learn and grow.
It's a new breath. Celebrate that and enjoy it. The next one will likely come no matter what you do so let's all try to stop worrying about it and just be, together.
However you choose to mark the passage of life, I wish you a journey with love and light.
-Gillian Cornwall, c. January 1, 2017 (so they tell me..)
Overlooking London from Hampstead Heath
Gillian Cornwall, c. October 2015