Late last year, amidst all the media attention on the concluding decade coupled with the annual exercise in breaking the best-and-worst of life and culture into 365-day chapters, I wrote about the camel-back-breaking-straw to my 2009 and Aughts. Over the ensuing three weeks, I patiently waited for the new year and decade to arrive.
In the process, I became fully determined to approach 2010 and the Te(e)ns with a realistic optimism I had practiced too little in the past. A paradigm shift in general attitude, shall we say? I would not simply "do" more; I would methodologically develop new habits that would serve me better in the long run. I knew it would be difficult: I was jobless (still am); broke (still am); angry at The World and maybe even The Universe (no more anger, but occasional frustration persists); pissed at both my professional and personal lives (the latter rocks now; the former continues to be less-than-cooperative); disorganized and suffering from a major case of general Life-ADHD (Uhm … I'll get back to you on that one); and determined to reach a place of general contentment and satisfaction by the time I begin my own fourth decade and I turn 40. (Not the same things, of course.)
As always, I put too much pressure on myself. I won't utilize this space to simply list all the new year/decade goals I scribbled into the first pages of 2010 journal(s), but as usual, a degree of ambition trumped the realities of time and energy. One of these goals involved (yet again) developing my writing into a habit rather than just an activity or endeavor. While I actually have achieved that objective to some degree, this blog has not played the role I originally intended.
Well, maybe I was thinking about the wrong new year.
Last Wednesday evening, Jews the world-over celebrated the beginning of 5771. I always imagined that the older I became, the more I would want to reconnect with the traditions of Judaism. That may yet occur come the day I have my own family and pass down the tremendous financial opportunity that is a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. However, within this present moment, I have discovered my reality has become the opposite of my younger imagination. I grew-up in an extremely reform and secular family, at times longing for a more spiritual and traditional connection to Judaism, but especially upon entering my 30s, I have become less religious (and less tolerant towards much organized religion), while still maintaining a distinct and strong Jewish identity.
That identity provided what I call an "Uh-huh" moment (as opposed to an "A-Ha!" one) this Labor Day and Rosh Hashanah as I prepared to face many complicated challenges during my immediate and short-term future. I decided that after eight-and-a-half months of 2010, filled with multiple highs and lows as well as personal successes and failures, maybe I had the whole new year/decade thing wrong. This September would present me with an interesting (maybe only to me) convergence of events.
A substantial group of people argue that 2010 is actually the final year of the first decade of the 21st century. A numerological examination proves this idea true; but organizationally, our society likes things neat, even and in simple packaging, so we place more emphasis on the one's digit rather than the 10-spot. The Jewish calendar, though, has moved beyond this 10-based-year, giving us 5771 and the numerological beginning of a decade. So maybe my approach to and anticipation for the "new decade" was premature, by, say, a little over eight months.
Additionally, a week from tomorrow, I will turn 39, which also means I will commence my 40th year. The contrast of numerological and organizational ideals presented among the standard Western Christian-based secular calendar, the Jewish calendar and my own birth timeline fits nicely with the yin-yang battle too often present within my thoughts; the end of one decade, the beginning of another; maybe, they're both correct.
So the time has come for my return to my little lightly-visited corner of the internet simply because every day I see, read or hear something that prompts one of the voices in my head to yell above the cacophony of others, "Oooh, I want to write about that."
My M.O. needs markers, though, and I often require an approach that demands the cliché of a "fresh start." For that reason, and for the first time since I started this blog six-and-a-half years ago, I've actually spent more than 30 seconds giving a shit about how this page looks. The changes are simple and few, but to me at least, they have a profound effect: adding some visual elements, changing the color scheme and hopefully creating a cleaner, warmer, more friendly feel.
Do you like it? I haven't decided if I do. Like everything, it remains a work-in-progress, but it's a start. I often spend so much time exercising my expertise in procrastination through planning or drafting without doing or finishing that I decided today would be different.
The series of images in the banner at the top of the page deliberately come from several of my favorite films. Upon further reflection, I realized after finishing the composite that they also—unintentionally and rather fascinatingly, at least to me—express multiple aspects of my personality, general but prevailing mental state and other psychoanalytical elements. In fact, I imagine I could write the equivalent of a psychology dissertation focusing on my own self-analysis including a complete (and accurate) character study simply through interpreting those six images. And still, I had a hard time editing because I also wanted to represent theater and television and all the other subjects upon which I plan to focus in this space.
For me, this blog continues as an exercise in habit and discipline. Will it remain primarily personal as during its infrequent sparks of life over the past couple years? I hope not, and I don't think so. Will it focus mostly on film? Probably, along with a fair amount of television and hopefully theater. What it won't be (at least, not most of the time) is my rushing to react to the news or events of the specific moment. Hell, that's what Twitter is for, right? And more importantly, I promise myself to write with more care and more craft; to not draft and post as I have too often done.
I have a lot planned. I have a lot less written. My ambitions may again prove too big, but I intend to appear in this space at least three times-a-week without fail, and potentially more. I'm throwing this out there, into the digital ether, and I suppose we'll see how I do. At first, with the new TV seasons and the New York Film Festival a-coming, it may appear a bit like a disorganized smorgasbord, but that, in too many respects, would simply represent the dominant environment within my brain on most days.
And with that as prologue, introduction and opening credits ...