I wrote to your brother last year and I'm writing to you. I'm writing this on New Year's Eve - a day away, but so far away. It's strange sending these things into the future. A matter of hours later than the evening as I type, but already a different world. Context is everything, I find. The world will be in 2010, another year, another decade. Firmly into the 21st century, a century that began not that long ago. Writing to 2009 I tried to be funny - a few jokes that mere months later I struggle to understand even having written them. Context is everything and all that.
Now is not a time to be funny - at least it doesn't feel it. That's something you develop as you get older, isn't it? A sense of discernment, of place and rightness, knowing when things are as they should be. It's a funny thing in itself though, time. It's the fuel of our lives, a steady burn that propels us along. An eternal flame - at least until it goes out.
Time seems to speed as you get older - one of the many things I've learned over ten years. I'm in my 26th year and the third decade is going by faster than the second than the first. With the medical and palliative advances over even the most recent of times the average of my life is moving ever further away from me. I feel like I've yet to begin - so much to experience, to do, to learn. I guess that it's a blessing that I can live longer and start a little later.
Ten years ago I was with my extended family in Worcester, seeing in the new millennium, on the cusp of realising that there's actually not a great deal to a new year, it's just a mark, a change in numbers. It's an accountant's moment, not a poet's. The poet revels in life, marks time as it passes, not the milestones as they go by. I remember watching the Queen, a strange sullen sort of look on her face as a young-looking Blair pumped her arm away during Auld Lang Syne. Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind? I can never tell whether that's a question, a command or a simple recognition of the truth.
I remember watching a barge rammed full of fireworks on the Thames - a promised river of fire that never went off. Big Ben was so packed with explosives I thought it was going to take off, but that boat was a damp squib, a fizzle. What a portent for the coming decade. The Bug that never happened, the peace that we didn't know but soon felt when we were without. Our problems were a world away - the world's and mine. I was a few months past my GCSEs, halfway through my A-levels. I had big decisions to make about university, about the future, about what I wanted become and who I thought I could be.
What's funny is that all those decisions later I sort of don't know, and I sort of do.
Godspeed, 2010 - I wish you all the luck in the world.
28 minutes ago