Friday, December 30, 2005

The expiry date on the carton of milk read:

“January 19, 2006”

I realized upon lifting the carton that there was just enough milk left for one more bowl of cereal.

I stared at the date; it was as though I was peering into the future. 2005 would be gone, but the bold promise of fresh fine-filtered milk would live on well into 2006.

As if by instinctual reflex, I closed the carton and placed the milk back in the fridge for use in the new year. Something about the idea of the existence of a constant in my fridge door, bridging the space from calendar year to calendar year, gave me great comfort.

Some years go by much like the Young and the Restless. One can tune into an episode in January, and then another in December, and not have missed anything of substance. The characters are still suspended in the same inane conversation, the maid may have come in and out of the scene a few times in all her pointlessness, but the only material change is perhaps the total collective number of face lifts undergone by the cast members.

In these years, I gaze backwards up the time line linking the December me, to the January me, and I see myself walking backwards, in my parka, then in a sweater, then with an ice cream (mint chocolate chunk), then with an umbrella, and then in my parka once again. There have been minor prop and character changes. But from my December vantage, I peer backward into my January eyes and I realize that, most importantly, I am unchanged.

Other years, like this one, when I sit in my parka and gaze back, I don’t recognize the January me. I want to slap the January me and warn her not to float so haphazardly into February. I want to warn her to soak in every minute of every day going forward, because when she emerges at the end of the year, she will have been fundamentally changed by every minute of every day she experienced.

This isn’t the space to rehash all that has come to pass in 2005. This will not be my “year in review.” But maybe this year, rather than trying to reconnect backwards with my former self who no longer exists, I can send a shout forward to the future me. I’m leaving her some milk so that when she goes to fix herself a bowl of bran flakes in 2006, she can draw on some of the goodness left in the past, to gain strength to walk consciously, full of whole-grain fibre, into her future.

3 Comments:

Anonymous gayle said...

confused cuz you say when you looked into january's eyes you were unchanged but then you don't recognize the january you...have you changed?

1:49 AM  
Anonymous gayle said...

i think i've read about 10 of your blogs now and they are awesome! i feel like i'm going to get caught or something cuz i'm getting this private insight into your mind!

1:51 AM  
Blogger Nadine said...

Thanks Gayle! Nope, 2005 was less Y&R and more [insert some fast-paced drama show here]. As someone without cable who just got a television last month, I should probably stay away from TV analogies.

8:41 AM  

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