You remember 2016. This was the year we were to do, we were to talk, we were to live large and to be. And what happened? We allowed so many others, maybe too many others (who've already given up on their dreams) to creep in as poor players and poison what wells of hope we'd held for ourselves.
We can blame the economy for the politics of anger, though we know the reverse is just as easily as true. For my part, I'm exhausted, physically and emotionally. It's like I'm running through soup and sand, my feet never quite lifting from and clearing the ground, each stride a broken parody of what it once was with my arms pushing through air I can taste rather than feel.
And the harder I try the farther behind I fall. I started out beside you but have spent the year watching you disappear before me, long strides taking you over the horizon and when I get to where you were, you're gone with no trace, no track, and no regret. Sic transit humanitas.
This is the year I've been forced to concede the face in the mirror has aged and that the man behind the face hasn't nearly as many springs left as he thought he had and more on point, has squandered, rather than saved, those moments of meaning he thought would come along again as easily as they did the first time. I've actually felt the dullness of the ache in the pit of my stomach and the shocked realization of regret and realization the next time can be the last time always brings with it as a constant companion.
Like many these past months, I blinked at critical moments and lost sight of the important in the rush of the real as the latter became surreal and unreal before disappearing by the dawn's early light. The year in which I had vowed to sort myself out has nearly run its course and the next one will be over even faster than this one, with less to show for it as the distance already traveled never equals the distance yet to go.
The sense of adventure is replaced by dread as the days draw down and the year ends. The toast we'll make for much success in the new year assumes both will exist but accepts the implication that neither is promised. "The dog days are over. The dog days are done." But it remains the what's next that will keep me awake.