The Discarded Party Hat

The Discarded Party Hat.

Yesterday was New Year’s Eve; I had no intention of staying up until midnight. My alarm is set to 3:40 AM and I’m too old to function on a couple hours of sleep.

Last night Julie asked me if I wanted to watch a movie and I said, “Sure.” We clicked on a movie called, “Detroit,” and I paid the $3.95 rental. The movie is a fictional account of people impacted by the Detroit riots of 1966. It was violent and disturbing. At 10 PM I told her that I didn’t want to start 2018 with this memory. The TV was turned off.

Three-forty AM, my clock radio clicks on to BBC news and I immediately hit the snooze bar. I force myself to sit up in bed to escape my warm blanket. Eventually, I dressed and stumbled down the stairs. Into my pockets goes my wallet, glasses, and iPhone. On my wrist, I strapped my Apple Watch. I checked the temperature, -8F degrees.

It is my custom to send a morning text greeting to my friend Tom. I had surmised that he would probably be sleeping in on New Year’s Day, but I like wishing him a good morning. I tap out a “Good morning, Tommy,” and hit send. As expected, there is no return text. I make sure that I have a cup of coffee at home because I know that Starbucks was opening late today. My walk would be a circle route without any stops.

Flannel shirt, sweater, ski mask, scarf, gloves; time to hit the streets.

My walk is completely to myself. New Year’s Day, 5 AM, -8F below zero… no surprise that even the early morning joggers are in bed. I love the privacy.

Instead of praying or meditating I just think about random things. I circle my Starbucks, which is closed and completely dark. I find a lone party hat in the street. Made of cheap cardboard, it looks ridiculous in its synthetic pretentiousness. Last night it was proudly worn by an excited bar patron. Now it has become trash.

If you have been reading my posts you probably have noticed something about me. I tend to pool information and compare things. I see connections between things. That cardboard hat went into a pool. It was the pool of things that we think are important that are not. That pool not only contains objects, it also has a place for goals, relationships, and desires.

I thought to myself, “How many times have I worked on a goal that made no difference in my life? How many times have I argued over some point with a relationship that turned out to be completely unimportant? How many times have a wanted something that in the end provided no real benefit to me?” I’m sure the answer to all of the above questions is many.

I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions, but on this quiet and cold morning, one was given to me. I want to spend my time and energy in ways that have meaning to me, and with healthy people who love and support me. I have a right to my opinions, but it is OK for others to have different ones. I want to move towards people and things that make me grow positively, and away from those who make me feel bad for who I am. I don’t want my life to be like that party hat; something that looks good from a distance, but cheap and phony close up. When I review 2018, I want to see myself in a more positive place, not a more negative one.

Happy New Year dear readers. Wishing you a meaningful life in 2018.

The discarded party hat.

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