Morning After

by Ted Gargiulo — The madness began with Thanksgiving and Black Friday—although some maintain that it began as early as Halloween. It spiraled upwards, culminated with Christmas, then segued seamlessly into the hysteria of New Year’s Eve, where pickled revelers sang and shrieked and partied themselves into a frenzy, cheering ecstatically when the Ax of Midnight finally dropped. Corks popped, bands blared triumphantly, balloons and streamers descended from the rafters. And partygoers everywhere, with glasses raised, ushered in yet another brave new chapter of history, chugging and slurping their cares away with utter abandon, some kissing people they’d never met before, others barfing in bathrooms or passing out in backseats, because they were so deliriously happy to be alive.

Now the holiday hoopla is over. The festivities have run their course. The clubs and dance halls have closed. As we speak, bulldozers are clearing the rubbish left by celebrants in Times Square. The passion is spent, the show is over, and the world collapses in exhaustion. Off with the masks. On with the houselights. Time to greet the long awaited New Year in the harsh morning light: unenhanced, unadulterated, in mint condition, never been lived before—minus the glamour of anticipation. Lends new meaning to the song, “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?” Except that “tomorrow” is now today. Just think: you’re standing face to face with the next phase of your life’s  journey, and another chance to get things right!  Why doesn’t that excite you?

Because there’s no music playing now to sweeten he experience, no booze or fireworks to supercharge your mind, no makeup to hide the flaws and blemishes of a complexion with which you’re painfully familiar—one that bears an unsettling likeness to the person you thought you’d left behind, along with the old year. Namely, your old SELF. You’ll recall that 12 short months ago you were standing in this very place, pondering the same riddle: Life up close and personal, versus life viewed from afar. Life experienced, versus life imagined. Expectation in all its fickleness, and a decided loss of enchantment. You know the routine because you’ve been here before. 

The nagging question remains: What did you hope to find this year that you hadn’t found in previous years? Where is the passion you were counting on to carry you through the year—that frenetic delight with which you welcomed 2018 at midnight? Did you think sudden joy would greet you at the threshold the moment you knocked? Or that spiritual refreshment would simply fall out of the sky like last night’s confetti?

Instead, you awoke this morning to discover that the world outside your window is no different then it was last night, or last year, or the year before. Likewise, the image in your mirror, like your outer reality, is as dull and vapid now as it was when you last gazed into it. Moreover, how you feel today is no different then the way you normally feel, especially after a night of heavy partying. Seems that nothing ever really changes except the calendar. What could be missing?
Perhaps what you need—what your mortal flesh groans for—isn’t a new year, but a new beginning. A new birth. NEW LIFE! Instead of looking inward for answers, maybe it’s time to start looking UP.

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