After a couple of blog articles in Portuguese, I felt that I shouldn’t neglect my English-speaking readers, and dedicate an article to them as well 🙂
My Buddhist teacher tends to greet the new year with ‘one year less’. That seems terribly morbid, but the actual reason is to remember us that time passes, no matter what we do, and that we should be ready to face whatever comes along, since there is ‘no turning back’.
Why do people celebrate the new year, and why do they start suddenly making wish lists and commitments of change for the next year? After all, from a rational perspective, there is no difference between one day and the next, dates are just conventions, and that is very easily shown by the way different cultures celebrate the new year on a different day. So clearly there is nothing ‘magical’ about January 1st.
What the new year means, and its celebration, is that we ought to be aware that everything changes all the time, and time, by itself, is not standing still and waits for nobody. At least once per year (actually, twice — the same applies to the celebration of our anniversary) we should at least stop for a few seconds and take notice of the fact that time is passing, and that change is constant, no matter what we wish. Nothing stays the same — not even the year.
The reason for making wish lists and commitments is to remind us that, although things change all the time, we can also become agents of change, and not merely spectators. There is a profound meaning in this. Fatalists would just shrug and accept whatever happens without questioning. But if you wish to escape fatalism and exercise your free will, then that means understanding that we are able to create our own changes. That is, indeed, an awesome gift, and at least once per year, we are reminded of our ‘power’ to become an agent of change, and not merely a spectator.
I subscribe to the Calvin & Hobbes school of thought:
The lesson taught us by Hobbes is that it’s pointless to wish for impossible things that we cannot ever achieve. Instead, as Hobbes demonstrates, we should become our own agents of change. While Calvin is day-dreaming about impossible wishes, Hobbes just wants a tuna sandwich, and proceeds to actually make one — thus fulfilling his own wish. (Who’d think that you’d get such profound philosophy from an amusing cartoon? 🙂 )
So, taking that into account, it would be pointless to say something like, ‘I wish that I fully become a woman in 2015’ or ‘I wish that transphobia gets banned from society in 2015’ or even ‘I wish to get rid of all my extra body fat and become thin and attractive’, because none of that is going to happen.
Instead, I will just restrict myself to very simple wishes:
- I wish to get rid of my depression. Because that only depends on me and my work with my (future) therapist, I’m sure it can be accomplished. I only want it to happen fast. I really, really need to be able to focus back on my work and get my PhD done!
- I wish to get a professional therapist to diagnose my condition. This is correlated with the first wish. I already have an appointment for late February. Dealing with the depression is far more important at this stage, but I wish also to go deeper than that and see what I can do about my transgenderism — assuming I’m transgendered at all. At this stage, I question everything, even that. Thus my wish to get an answer!
- I wish to look more presentable as a woman. In some past conversations with a few close friends, they showed themselves a bit shocked at how crossdressers present themselves in public — they often look as if they’re ready to prowl the street corners in search of a sexual partner for the night. That’s not exactly ‘sexy’, not really ‘slutty’, but also not ‘drag queen’, but more something that says ‘fuck me, I’m available’. Well, it’s hard to avoid slipping into that kind of look, so I wish to learn how to avoid it, and just look like a regular, normal woman instead.
- I wish to do a makeup course. That will naturally mean getting exposed to a lot of genetic women who might find it very strange! However, I already have located a makeup teacher who will not mind if I’m around.
- I wish to get more realistic boobs. Who doesn’t? I will pursue two courses, one is a method of breast enlargement, without surgery or hormones, which sometimes gives amazing results (and most of the time doesn’t work at all). And the fallback plan is to get something from My Real Breast — very expensive, but incredibly realistic. I might afford it if we get a new customer at our company, which is likely (but nothing is ever 100% guaranteed!)
- I wish to go out with my friends. That will take several months of patiently persuading my wife. It’s possible that a first step is to go out with her — I would most certainly love that, and have been waiting for a decade for her to go out with me, which she had promised me in early 2005…
- I wish to reveal myself to more people, in my circle of friends and family. I hope to at least do that with my mother-in-law and see what her reaction is.
There. This is not much for 2015, is it? And I think that everything is realistic enough! Of course, my real focus will be just on the first wish. Everything else is really very secondary and might get postponed to 2016, or 2020…
Happy New Year everyone!