The Passage of Time

December 20th, 2006

I’m not a fan of the passage of time. It weighs rather heavily on my shoulders, and it frequently presents itself as a topic, in one way or another, for my songs. It’s turned up in “The Millennium Song” and Abbie Hoffman’s Revenge”, and the meandering “Algiers Café”, itself 10 years old now, which contains one of my favorite lines: “Time is the lint in our pockets.” (To this day, I can’t tell you exactly why it means what it means, but it means it nonetheless.) Looking through my catalog, there are fewer of these songs than I’d tend to think, but that’s most likely because the subject looms so large in my mind that I automatically assume that I’ve written about it too often.

Yet, at the turn of the year, we humans tend to take stock, like it or not. The Jewish New Year formalizes it, with Yom Kippur fast on its heels; and at least here in the United States, the idea of a New Year’s resolution is buried deep inside our culture (although the idea of reviewing the previous year’s resolutions, not so much). So here I am, taking stock.

Astonishingly enough, I did pretty well with my New Year’s resolutions from last year. I resolved to be more proactive about my music, and my health, and to limit my procrastinating. I’ve been walking more; I started this newsletter, which I’ve gotten an excellent response to; I did some excellent shows. I’m frankly hesitant to make any more resolutions; if I keep doing well at the ones I’ve already made, I’ll be more than satisfied.

But this was not an easy year. My wife and I traveled a great deal – not my favorite thing. We juggled various parental health crises, and my mom passed away in September. My job had a long period of intense work pressure. We’re both exhausted, worn out, frustrated. We’re at that point where our carefree days of youth are gone, and life isn’t about to get less complicated: my mother is dead, our fathers are elderly, we have family obligations, friends all over the world, political and social worries, and personal and professional goals for which time is growing shorter.

And yet. I have a wife I adore. I live in one of the safest, most beautiful, most democratic countries in the world (plenty of room for improvement, of course, but let’s be fair). I have talent, good health, dear friends, enough money. A beautiful home, a lovely nephew, a job I can stand. And I have you, my audience, who have graced me with your attention for lo, these many years.

I may very well be one of the most fortunate people in the world.

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