3 Jan 2014

Day 3 of 2014

How are you feeling today? How has 2014 been to you so far? Kind and promising? Still bright and shiny and fanciful like a brand new toy, the latest gadget, glued together by unbroken promises and dreamy glances? Is it feeling light and airy and fluffy, unsubstantially floating like some cotton-candy cloud above your head and filled with hope's helium? Does 2014 still fit you like a glove, or do I need to check that again with you in six months' time, find out where you're up to in life?

2014 Calendar by Becca Stadtlander

That's how the first few days of January tend to feel like, and day 3 is probably the peak of our own induced paranormal activity. Those days are doomed, they bask in their own fleeting glory, as the messengers to self of secret desires, silent wishes and unfulfilled passions. Those very desires, wishes and passions that came undone, unconsummated in the past year, for whatever reason, resurface like blasts from the past before they dissipate again like a puff of haze off a genie's bottle.

Talking of the past year... How was it for you? Was 13 your lucky number? Your nemesis? Are you still hungover from it? Do you need more time to recover from what might have been but never was? Is its timeline nothing but a flatline on your screen akin to a lesser heartbeat and life slipping away? Is your brain on autopilot, dogged by dogma's paradigms, drowned in that ambient supermarket humdrum that cosies you into the comfort zone only to get rudely interrupted by dead-end jobs and sky-high mortgages and rip-off loans and screaming kids and a partner you once loved, that keep popping in your head on a loop like those red lights in life's control room - and as if that wasn't bad enough - come shouting at you across the aisles on the tannoy. And off goes another year.

Close-up of a Japanese love lucky charm

Successes and the lesser successes... Or shall we poetically repackage those as the peaks and the valleys - beautiful Technicolor Cinemascope allegory wrapped in Dolby surround sound! The peaks - emphatic, majestic and mystical like Mount Kilimanjaro. Or abrupt, ominous and omnivorous like Torres del Paine. The valleys - comfort zones of sorts that look sweet and harmless enough, yet drill holes in the mind, valleys as expansive as the eye can see, a sweeping 360° view that tumbles down into the sea, still aiming for the sky and yet separated from it by a limit the human mind created, a line the human eye defined as horizon, a trickster of a limit without a limit. Man sets its own limits. And those limits are often nothing more than an illusion fed by fear. Fear is a controller. And you are welcome to keep being controlled by it. But I am sure you know that sometimes the way to a feat is via defeat.

And after hours, when it's just you alone with yourself, what is the thought that you hone and polish till it shines so bright it turns to a sun in your head and illuminates your face with a smile which only the divine may see, a sun that keeps you awake at night only to pale down to a trace as dawn rises? Do you ever admit to yourself that somehow you could have handled your year(s) differently? Do you ever hold your breath, harbour a doubt, as you surrender your truths, sign off from expectations others have off you, unplug your machines, clock out of work and step into the suburbia you once called home and get home to a partner you once loved, and shut down into a limbo state of stability and routine which now has got you wondering?

'Wash Series 5', contact paper on arches, 24 x 19 inches 2010, by Matt Shlian
There is no Judgement Day. I am not here to push buttons, point the finger, pull the proverbial trigger or get those mixed feelings even more muddled up. The head feels fuzzy enough on the aftermath of a celebration that shimmied the night away on the borderline between truth and fantasy. Celebration of what is now over and celebration of what is yet to be. And as we slip in and out of the New Year's Resolutions territory, said resolutions are nothing more than premises to promises that we validate to ourselves and others before letting them slowly swoosh off to a crunch come Twelfth Night, on the eve of The Epiphany. Resolutions are like those pretty yet cumbersome present wrappers we'd shed earlier on Christmas Day. You can either let them swoosh off to a crunch or pick them up, turn them into opportunity where others give them a vacant gaze. And now that's what I call an epiphany: to embrace the synergy a new year offers, seize the moment, take a chance, follow your heart, push off those limits you created in the first place and break out of your old patterns.

If anything, do yourself a favour. In the grand scheme of things that architect each moment lived into one less moment to be lived, do make sure that you make THIS year - yes, 2014 - count.