The Promises, December 24, 2013

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My goals and promises are like missing persons. They wander away for ten years, only to return, despondent, forgotten, and somewhat irrelevant. I don’t make many of them because I know that this will happen. That it will take time. In 2012 I leaned in the window of a Paris bound RER train and told myself that life was too short to keep compromising. By the time I stepped off the train and crossed the river to the Ile Saint Louis, that was a promise I’d made to myself for the following year. But now it is 2013, and all I’ve done this year is compromise. I cancelled trips, I bended too much when I should have been firm. Quite a few good things were lost.

Every year I look back at the year gone by, not as one of those pseudo-gratitude things, involving phrases like “start anew” or “a new leaf” etc. Only because I abhor them (a new year is pretty arbitrary date on a Christian calendar—if I want a “fresh start” I can just command it at anytime).

But this year I had to look back, and I had to be disgusted by what I saw. Two family deaths, those three weeks of illness, losing every apartment I applied for over the past month (and still, as I write this, quite homeless) and general unhappiness. It’s all been a big failure.

Last night I stayed up late and continued to pack up my things for storage (the tail end of a story that I’m still in the middle of). Tucked in one of my junk boxes I found receipt from my day at Versailles, when I had ordered a pecan financier and a coffee for breakfast at Café Angelina and mused out of a French window leading to a garden. That was the same day I’d had my revelation on the train. Normally it’s the kind of thing I soften at, but it just wasn’t the time for it. I took a photo of the receipt. Then I think I threw it away.