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Having a birthday on New Year's Eve gives me a nice set-up for all kinds of silly metaphysical-esque ruminations on birthdays, rebirth, starting over, and the new year.
The first post of a new year. I feel all giddy, like when I crack open a new writing notebook and poise my pen over it.
Twenty-six years ago I was experiencing my first few hours as Andrea Roceal James on this planet Earth. I checked the current time for the US Pacific time zone and I would be (could we transport ourselves back 26 years) approximately twelve hours old right now. Half a day old, with a head full of black hair and (according to my parents) even some hair growing on the tops of my ears. A mild case of jaundice and my squished up newborn face made me look vaguely Asian (I remember looking at my newborn picture and giggling). I popped out pretty quickly, unexpectedly, even, since my Official Due Date wasn't for another three weeks. I just wanted to be born in 1977, I guess, because it all happened so fast that the doctor almost didn't have time to show up for my birth.
So it's a little funny with all this early on go-getter attitude that I ended up developing into a very cautious and shy child. I waited a long time to start walking, refused those typical stumbling practice steps. If I didn't have a handhold I'd carefully lower myself to the ground and crawl. I practiced and practiced until I decided I had it nailed, and then walked across the entire room unassisted. Same with talking, as well. Once I realized people didn't undertand baby babble, I craftily kept my mouth shut, and then waited until I figured out whole phrases and sentence fragments. My first was: "Plane up in the sky" (I hadn't mastered verbs just yet, but that came along quickly enough).
It took me until I was nearly an adult to reclaim a little of that recklessness again, and now here I am, sitting in a kitchen on the other side of the world from where I was born, forging a new life and a new direction for myself. I'm gradually nurturing that little passionate spark in me, letting go of some old crap that was stifling it. I'm learning its name again, how to talk to it, figuring out where it wants to take me. And that's good.
One of the other books I got for my birthday was Charles de Lint's Yarrow. It was another ass-kicker, not in the same way that Bradbury was, exactly, but in a harmonic note. It pointed me back to tapping into my creative energy. It reminded me to stop being a wuss and just go back to the things that give me joy. So my thanks to both Bradbury and de Lint for reminding me of that lesson I had forgotten and rousing me up enough to get in the spirit of things in time for a new year.
Moreso than last year, this one is really about starting over. I've had my first year in Sydney; gotten over culture shock and joblessness. I've established my roots here and now it's time for me to unfurl new leaves and grow.
Here's hoping you have a rousing and growthful new year as well.