I asked my wife earlier today what her favorite event or situation from 2010 was and after she told me she asked me the same question and I realized I didn't have one. or not simply one. this has been a good year, not as good perhaps as some years, but better than others. like with everything else, moderation, even in moderation.
but her question got me thinking about what my favorite new year experience was and that I have an answer to. I've been thinking of it ever since. new year's eve of 1989-90 I spent at a dance retreat at a commune outside amherst, ma, with my friend mia and a couple dozen other people. I was deeply into contact improvisation back then, although I didn't do it much after that retreat, and the retreat wasn't especially for c-iers but there were a lot of us there. we'd spent the week between xmas and the new year dancing and being with one another. it was important to me then to have sex as often as possible, and while I slept with a couple people there, and that was fun, I was determined that this new year's eve would be the 1st since I'd turned 18 that I wouldn't.
instead, after dancing and a sauna and singing around a group of candles stuck in the snow I headed back into the half-finished house on whose floors a number of us were sleeping. I sat up with a candle and some tea and wrote in my journal for hours. I don't need to look up what I wrote since it wasn't very important, at least it isn't now, but I remember what that new year meant to me. it was the end of one decade which had started with me married unhappily and struggling to come to terms with my life and ended with me living in my car. in the preceeding decade I'd divorced, dropped 50 pounds, started to dance, quit my plans to be a teacher, started drinking and taking as many drugs as I could, slept with as many women and men as I could, graduated undergraduate school, spent days and weeks in the mountains, lost my home and lived on the streets and then into a car and traveled the country. in 89 I'd decamped to the midwest and started graduate school, moved out of my car, and began looking at my life as if it would continue beyond my 30th birthday.
there weren't any great insights that came from this reflection. as with most of the best meditations I simply found myself thinking about the twists my life had taken, some for the better, some for the worse, and where I was then. it was a good new year's eve, the sort I think everyone ought to experience each new decade. I suppose I am looking forward to doing so tonight as well, except with peppermint schnapps rather than tea. and a wife.