If I could recommend one course of action to you – by which I really mean, to me – for this upcoming year, it would be to try to keep in touch – or get back in touch – with your family, those you love, and people who have been important in your life. Nobody expects you to be the closest confidant of each of your third or fourth cousins; but a phone call here, a card there, could mean so much to people you will one day regret having not kept in touch with.
In 2010, I lost one of my old college friends to cancer. In 2011, while such an event didn’t occur to those closest to me, several of my friends and colleagues found themselves bereaved and, occasionally, bereft. Meanwhile, my mother spent much of the latter of the year emerging from the foreboding shadow of a breast cancer diagnosis, two swift, timely operations and a course of radiotherapy.
Life is distressingly, infuriatingly short. Worse, our supplies of patience and energy are even shorter. If nothing else, this yearly excuse for good will lets us pause and re-examine our relationships with others. We should accept that we’ll never be the perfect husband, wife, partner, sibling, parent, child; and yet hope that we might at least try to be more loving, and more mindful, than we’ve been in the past.
Happy new year, and good luck for 2012. And sorry to those I don’t ring, or email, or visit, as often as I should. Believe me when I say that I still hold you dear: somewhere, deep down, in my foolish, lazy, reluctant, hapless heart.