A New Year Letter

Dear all,

My goodness.


This past year I turned sixty-five. I’m rather surprised at how that has hung in my consciousness. In some ways just a convenience. On the other hand by all our social conventions I am now officially old.



Of course we’re all dying. From the moment we draw that first precious breath, there will be a last one.

So, the question hangs out there.

“What will you do with your one wild & precious life?”

As the sands fall away, what?

I find myself recalling the two professors at the large midwestern university. The one is bitter and resentful, knowing he should have ended up at one of the Ivy League schools. The other unspeakably grateful that she managed to achieve her dream and become a tenured professor.

I look back and feel pretty good about my life. I’ve made some astonishingly stupid mistakes. I’ve even done things that really probably calling “mistakes” is a bit of face saving. And on the other column in the register I’ve done some good. There are a couple of things I feel really proud of. A bunch more I feel really, really lucky about.

Bottom line.

Lucky. In the cosmic lottery, I drew one of the winning tickets.


Of those two professors, most of the time I’m with the grateful one.

And with all that now on to the next year.

And those sands falling away…

I have small hopes these days. Mostly.

I really would like to lose weight. Well, I claim I would, but there is some unfortunate evidence suggesting otherwise. There are a couple of things I hope to do at the church. And a few more things I hope to do with the sangha. I’ve got a couple more books in me I think. Including wanting to try my hand a a novel. As a goal for that for the year, just starting is sufficient, I think…

I’m also signed up for a fencing class. I’m telling myself its exercise. But, I’m also learning new insults in case I think I can take someone in a duel…


Mostly I want to be a better husband. And as auntie (the third in our little family) pushes well into her ninth decade to cherish her.

The cats? Well, the less said about them, the better.

Small stuff, but where I want to be.

So, I look back, I look forward…

And, here. In the only real place?

This moment.

I wish more attention to this moment. I want to let the past be and the future to do what it must. And I want for it all to settle into my heart here.


I do and I feel one more or less abiding emotion. I’m grateful.

Knowing in my bones how it is all passing, and passing away. And knowing out of the silence I must on occasion speak.

From this place I want to speak to you of the new year.

And so…

Ready or not here it comes.

And with that.

Best wishes to all!

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