"How do you measure, measure a year…
In daylight, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife…
Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes…
How do you measure a year in the life?
…How about love?["Seasons of Love" From "Rent"] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hj7LRuusFqo&sns=em
In St. Exupery's classic, The Little Prince, the wandering prince encounters an accountant who spends all of his time counting the stars. Because he counts them, he owns them. This is tedious but important work that must be done.
Turning sixty last year led me to an increased awareness of counting. I started counting the years that may be left, the amount of time I might have with grandchildren (who are not yet conceived), the years before retirement, the years before a move to a less harsh climate. My Golden Retriever will turn eleven this year, which, based on an actuarial table and his health, would be his likely life span.
There is also the issue of ratings, which Meryll described so well in her blog: http://www.morejewishluck.com/blog-jewish-luck-book/number-please-no-thanks#.WHkn_rxBXVs.email
Everyone is a critic. After seeing an autobiographical play that shook my world, "Trouble in Mind," written by an African American actress/writer, Alice Childress and directed by an African American woman at the Guthrie Theater, I heard my husband ask a friend what he thought of it expecting their insights and, instead, heard "it was ok". If we are busy assigning rankings, can we also have time to reflect on the work?
This year as my count of years past turn to 61, I watch myself measure my steps, my time exercising, my calories, my work hours, my income, my expenses. So many things to count. And yet I feel that while it gives me a sense of control, it isn't really what life is about. It is about love and that love for me is defined as connection.That connection is through my clients and the sacred space of therapy, it is through laughter with my husband and children. It is through the haunting two-sided paintings of Polish artist, Andrzej Wroblewski or the imperfect but perfect books of Jonathan Safran Foer. "Humans of New York" also connects me to all the people I don't know, who count.
Connection is through the gorgeous fall days in Minneapolis by Lake Harriet. It is also through carrying out a strong heartfelt impulse like marching in DC on January 21, 2017 because it's my march and I want to be there. It's the way I can reassure myself that I still live in a country where my voice can be heard. Connection is through my direct or indirect impact on what I touch, who I know.It is my "carbon footprint" extended to an "impact footprint."
So as we turn to a New Year, and a new presidential era, I will probably continue to count as I did before, not just the years until the Trump term is over. I'll understand that my counting is just housekeeping. And I will remember that my voice counts and try to hear the voices around me. What counts most for me is counting myself as a part of the human and natural world. I'll measure this year in love, and, for me, love means a positive and genuine connection.
What counts for you?