I do not know why January is named for the ancient Roman god of gates, Janus. He certainly seems an appropriate icon for this time: one face looking forward to a new year, one face look backward at the year past. Over the past two weeks of January, Whirl has remarked that I seemed to be focusing considerable attention on my health. Books I decided to read, discussions I would begin with my friends, comments I made during the course of the day– combined they seemed to suggest a shift in focus. She may be right. I am approaching the two year anniversary of my traumatic brain injury: for the morbidly curious, the 29th is the date.
Whirl, my friends and I plan to repeat our annual trip to Las Vegas to commemorate the event. We want to turn something horrible into something fun. Last year we succeeded in doing so. We hope to repeat that experience. This is important to me. That date has become a dividing line in my life: before the injury and after the injury. And as time pushes the part of my life before the injury further and further into the past, sentimentality colors that pre-morbid state. Another factor that I have been facing is the very real fact that life does not necessarily go easy on any of us. The appeal of dreams, the beauty of wishes– these can be transitory and ephemeral. Pessimism is easy. Clichés become comfortable. I work to avoid walking through my life speculating what else will go wrong. I do not like that I do that– that I have to work at such avoidance. The past appears brighter, warmer, happier.
This perception is not true in any objective sense. I know that. I remind myself of that. The reminders dull the unfair poignancy of the memories like aspirin for headaches.
Unconsciously imitating Janus while looking through some old files, I ran across this snippet. I found it in a .plan file from years ago. It predates the world wide web by at least a couple years. I would not call it a panacea, but it did make me smile– on both my forward-looking and backward-looking faces.
EARTH— For the 50 billionth consecutive week since its inception, life was revealed to be unfair Monday. Death and suffering continued to be dispersed randomly among the planet’s life forms, with such potentially mitigating factors as solid community standing, genetic superiority, and previous good works in no way taken into account. Despite the efforts of the Code of Hammurabi, the U.S. Bill of Rights, and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, life is expected to remain unfair far into the foreseeable future.