Years are complicated things, with funny shapes and odd bits that stick out here and there. The only thing you can be sure of about a year is that it won’t turn out the way you thought.

I’ve come to realize that I do not measure my years by accomplishments or grand events, but rather by the state of my friendships — my connections with the people I care about. I have been reminded this past year that such matters are wildly out of my control. Wonderful friendships have entered my life seemingly out of nowhere, whilst others have sunk beneath the waves, never to be seen again.

This whole business of letting ourselves become close to others while bracing for the consequences of our inherent separateness — for the possibility of loss — is something I may never fully get used to. How do you love people properly, knowing they may be gone from your life a year hence?

If I have only one resolution for the new year, it is this: To accept this odd coming and going of human souls, both into and out of my life, as simply the way of the universe.

You can love others — even with all of your heart — but the hard truth of it is, you cannot be responsible for any soul but your own.

6 thoughts on “Resolution”

  1. Of course! You can’t change others, but you can always change yourself! And you can choose to be happy, moment to moment

  2. Accepting this makes the still-strong decades-long friendships seem even more amazing.

    Wishing you lots of wonderful continuing and new friendships in 2013!

  3. Yes, letting go is one of the hardest things to do. And yet contemplating the end of things might be one of the most powerful tools to make our time alive – and our friendships – more valuable. Wouldn’t I live this day with much greater care if I anticipated it being my last? Wouldn’t I cherish time with loved ones much more – and focus on similarities rather than differences – if I wasn’t going to meet them ever again? Fighting loss is a futile endeavor; we might as well use it in our favor instead.

    I guess that’s one reason why I’m interested in (atheist) Buddhism: it gives us tools to make the best of what we get. And I thank Stephen Batchelor for summarizing it in an understandable and contemporary manner 🙂

    Happy new year, Ken. May 2013 be filled with many cherished moments.

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