I have the most Christmas spirit that I've had in a while. I don't know why. I'm close to bankrupt ... in a world that is turning more "Mad Max" by the second.
On the other hand, I feel good that a few things Obama promised are starting to happen--pretty much exactly as he said they would two years ago--DADT has been repealed, and now, let's hope, the first responders on September 11th, 2001, may be getting the help and health care they need.
On a personal note, I feel at ease with where I am in life. Life is good. Not life in the abstract or general, but my particular life ... right here and now ... is good. This morning I got a new battery for my 2000 Chevy Malibu, which, instead of starting when I turned the ignition, popped open the trunk, so now that it's fixed, all is right with the world. There's really nothing to say about it. What can I say? Being 57, gay, single, and in the lower half of the 25% tax bracket works for me. Works for me very well.
It helps that I've been reading some Virgil and Horace lately. They are incredibly calming influences. Not only have they been dead for a couple of thousand years, but they also led settled, wise, and pleasant lives--in the midst of scandals, a civil war, political intrigue, religious extremism in high places (Augustus Caesar passed a law making it illegal for males to remain unmarried--it was later dropped as unenforceable), not to mention extremely poor WiFi--and that accomplishment heartens me today.
I have often called myself a "happy pessimist." Sometimes I think of myself as a "true" Christian. Not that I believe in God. No way. Or a life after death. No thank you. But certainly I do
consider the lilies of the field ... they toil not, neither do they spin ... Therefore, take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or Wherewithal shall we be clothed? ... Take, therefore, no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day the evil thereof.
I am a life coach's worst nightmare. And, like Jesus, I have the very opposite of a "purpose-driven life." (I know, I know ... I grew up hearing all about Jesus's "purpose," but, frankly, if Christians loved Jesus's teachings half as much as they love his blood, they'd have a halfway decent religion.)
My philosophy of life is Voltaire's, at the end of Candide; or Optimism (1759): "We must cultivate our garden." This is what Horace did on his Sabine farm, and this is the gentle, narrowly scoped equilibrium Virgil seeks in his Georgics and Eclogues. And for all the tons of theology under which Jesus has been buried since his supposed resurrection, his words reveal him to be a man little concerned with the "big picture."
The secret to happiness--and the true "reason for the season," I think--is "Fuck the 'big picture.'"