As 2014 Comes To A Close, Two Things

Beau and Me. We pause at one of our favorite streets in our neighborhood, December 31, 2014. Photo Credit Likeitiz

Beau and Me. We pause at one of our favorite streets in our neighborhood, December 31, 2014. Photo Credit Likeitiz

My, my, how time has flown! Once again, I’m faced with the last day of the year. Beau and I take advantage of the bright sunny afternoon. I buckle him up, put on my hat, scarf and warm jacket. Off we walked, somewhere in our neighborhood.

Who was it that said, walking, for all its repetitive predictable movement, affords us the appreciation of our surroundings for all their natural beauty? Eventually, we are able to blank our minds and then go to little quiet corners beyond our mind’s eyes, where we can bare ourselves to what we have gathered and put away for precious and private rumination.

The media abounds in hours and hours of “the year that was” or the “year in review,” touting unprecedented disasters, landmark events, and famous people who will no longer share the world stage. Yes, we grieve for the untimely passing of Robin Williams and Philip Seymour Hoffman. We re-read Gabriel Garcia Marquez and P.D. James, and watch again Mike Nichols’ works. We bid farewell Bob Hoskins, Joan Rivers, Maya Angelou. We listen to Joe Cocker’s signature voice, and revel the wonderful creations of Oscar de la Renta. I reminisce Casey Kasem’s familiar voice counting his top 40’s because I had grown up listening to him in Manila. Yes, he reached us there even back then.

Robin Williams in Patch Adams (1998), Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures/Getty Images

Robin Williams in Patch Adams (1998), Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures/Getty Images

But, we will leave the news media to rehash Ebola, the auto recalls, Crimea and Putin with his hollow victories. We will skip the race related events and cries against police brutality, our never-ending intoxication for guns (Ever notice how quiet the NRA has been since these senseless deaths? I wonder if they’ll still be silent over the recent death of an Idaho woman who was accidentally shot with her own gun by her two-year old son at a Wal-Mart store or the boy who was being taught how to fire an Uzi and accidentally shot his instructor, who we later found out is a war hero. What a waste!), the NFL and domestic violence, the incremental triumphs by the LGBT, one state at a time, and the Affordable Care Act, vilified and condemned in spite of its much denied and downplayed growing contributions.

Argentinia court grants Sandra the orangutan freedom,  photo courtesy of nydailynews.com

Argentinian court grants Sandra the orangutan freedom, photo courtesy of nydailynews.com

We will let the NYT, BBC or Al Jazeerah recount the Umbrella Revolution, the missing planes, or the thwarted split of Scotland from the rest of Britain, the hacking of Target and Sony, the nearly 300 young girls abducted by Boko Haram and forced into lives they never imagined. And no, I will not dwell on the hated ISIS or ISIL, who, according to the Skimm, is so vile, even Al Qaeda won’t hang out with them. Nor will I belabor the invasion of the citizenry by the NSA, but only to say that I hope Edward Snowden is all right wherever he is. And, a pox on the leakers of unauthorized celebrity photos and every pundit and blogger who perpetuated such craven depravity. Shame on you!

Photo of the John Lennon Wall taken on our trip to Prague in 2008, photo courtesy Likeitiz

Photo of the John Lennon Wall taken on our trip to Prague in 2008, photo credit Likeitiz

I would rather spend more time talking about the Ice Bucket Challenge, or Tim Cook’s breakthrough announcement, even the successful landing of the Rosetta spacecraft’s Philae probe on a Comet (called 67P).

There is also the 25th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution in Prague, a cry for democracy when Czechoslovakia was still frightfully communist. In all the crusade for democracy, the John Lennon Wall stood as a steadfast symbol for anti-communist calls. The literal white-washing of the wall  by an anonymous group of miscreants only galvanized people to keep the wall going. The wall is NEVER over. (See the photos of the wall in different times here.)

 Jimmy Fallon, center, taking the “Ice Bucket Challenge” with guests to his late-night show. Credit Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

Jimmy Fallon, center, taking the “Ice Bucket Challenge” with guests to his late-night show. Credit Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

 And then there is Sandra, the shy orangutan resident of the Buenos Aires Zoo for the last 20 years, who through the intercession of animal rights groups, has won her right as a “non-human person,” to live her life in quiet seclusion somewhere in Brazil.

There are two things I have come to understand and embrace, finally, in all their meaning and implications.  One is that I have learned to let go of a lot of things over the recent years. And this is with the calm requited revelation of my own limitations. I am not god. There are things I cannot change, no matter what I do. I have had many occasions to witness this, most importantly in other people, some of whom are my own family. They agonize and stress over what cannot or will not be or what in their eyes, should be. And they continue to argue and force the issue, which only drives the possibility of what they want further away from becoming a reality. Also, in so doing, they alienate the very people they care most about. What purpose could these convictions possibly serve then?

New Year's Day Brunch at Home, photo credit Likeitiz

New Year’s Day Brunch at Home, photo credit Likeitiz

I am reminded of a saying that I have heard from the wise. It begins something like, “Grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change,….”  If more people lived this, maybe there would not be so many miserable people around?

Fort Funston Walk on New Year's Day. Clear skies, low tide, lots of dogs with their humans. Photo credit Likeitiz

Fort Funston Walk on New Year’s Day. Clear skies, low tide, lots of dogs with their humans. Photo credit Likeitiz

The other is that all of us, with not much exception, can choose joy.  We can choose to be happy. Joy and happiness, they are a choice. We need to choose it if we want it. We need to purposefully seek it out and live it.  It’s sad that I see many people around me, again, some in my own family, who go about their day with a scowl, with their negativity hanging over them like Pigpen with his dust cloud around him. With some people I know, it has become their default countenance, their go-to mood and it has become comfortable to be prickly. And, they wonder why they are so unhappy, or why people avoid them.

We needed to walk off the heavy brunch. So we decided to walk on Fort Funston. Beau had such a great time. He had his "zoomies" of course! Photo credit Likeitiz

We needed to walk off the heavy brunch. So we decided to walk on Fort Funston. Beau had such a great time. He had his “zoomies” of course! Photo credit Likeitiz

I look forward to 2015 with eyes wide open, arms outstretched. Here is to more adventures, to appreciating more beauty in the world, and to seeing the human spirit shine in even the smallest of acts.

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16 Responses to As 2014 Comes To A Close, Two Things

  1. Pingback: Friday Food (photos and reminder) – priorhouse blog

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  3. yprior1 says:

    I absolutely loved this post and I am so glad to have read it. First, I am pleased that I knew many of the current events you touched upon – in some years past I have missed a lot (maybe living under a rock – ha!) but seriously, I never read such a cool highlight post – I felt your style and essence more too – so it is fun to get to know a blogger more/

    and the two things you learned = tru dat! = cos letting go is freeing – and then choosing to find the joy – well it is not always easy – but the habit develops (and it stops a critical spirit dead in its tracks) and there is something powerful about choosing contentment and finding comic relief that just makes life come alive….
    cheers and happy new year – here’s to checking in on our crossing blog paths in 2015.
    💞✌

    Liked by 1 person

    • likeitiz says:

      Thank you! Choosing to be happy is not so easy, especially for those “pricklies” who have grown accustomed to being overly critical. I tend not to be in their presence as little as possible. Laughing at ourselves makes even the most bitter pills easier to swallow.

      I can’t agree with you more that “…letting go is freeing…”

      Liked by 1 person

      • yprior1 says:

        yeah and we were just talking about how we can all have a critical spirit at times (kinda human thing, eh?) – – but it is when it grows too large – or stays unchecked – well then it becomes toxic and I don’t want to be around it either. 🙂
        and again, happy anniversary – whew – congrats! ❤ ❤ ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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  5. Beautiful, inspiring and funny. Peace and joy to you, Ms. Mary-Ann, and skritches behind the ears to Beau.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is such a good post, all truth. Glad to hear less of the NRA babbling. Wishing you and Beau many great walks and adventures this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. auntyuta says:

    Happy 2015 ,Mary-Ann, and may you have many more beautiful walks with Beau! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lucid Gypsy says:

    A great post my dear, Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful post, Mary-Ann. Glad you are forward looking with eyes wide open and arms outstretched. How else will you see and catch all that will come your way? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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