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A few days ago, I wrote about how we humans were a behind looking kinda people. No better proof of that exists than in this mystical time between Christmas and the New Year.

We, in a word, are obsessed with what has gone before us. We revel in it, we concoct all kinds of cute categories and lists, all in an attempt to “remember” what we have just endured experienced in the last twelve months.

Some of it, no doubt, makes some sense. We are called to shop in “year end sales” devoted to better the bottom line of department stores and drug stores alike. Reduce that inventory so we can concentrate on spring clothes, spring perfumes, spring Tide. And on those big items, the allure is, “no interest until April 2011!” So come on down!

One would think that we would all be suitably tapped out after the Christmas crunch, but no, the commercial storehouses of product, seem to think we are all hoarding cash. And, given the use of “money” gifts (the joy of the lazy shopper!), perhaps they are right. I don’t know, I don’t engage in all that crap. (Although we are in the market for a new vacuum. They don’t last long here in the meadow with all the animal hair. Looking for one without a lot of twists and turns in the “hose” where all the gunk clogs up–the Contrarian is an expert at snaking out the hose–just in case you needed to know–but that’s a whole other topic.)

Anyway, the other thing we do a ton of is list stuff. The top ten of everything seems most popular, though a close second is the “best”, “worst”, “biggest”, “smallest” anything under the sun categories.

Trapsing around the blogosphere, one can find top ten lists for “political stories of the year,” and “craziest blowhearts,” “best songs,” “best books,” and the list, well is inexhaustible. Take your favorite subject, and sure enough, somebody wants to organize it into a list of sorts to judge it against the mass of material generated in 2009.

What we learn from all this, is that while we were living, a lot of stuff happened. Stuff we forgot, as we wasted precious minutes and hours paying bills, and hustling kids to soccer practice. People died. We remembered them when we first heard, but goodness, we have let it slip our minds in the intervening months. We need to remember this.

Some of all this we find hilarious. I mean who doesn’t enjoy compiling a list of the top ten nutsoids of the year? The choices are phenomenonaly long–Sarah, and Rush, and Michelle (two of them), Sean and Billy (two of them) and Steven, and, well, not enough paper in the world to list them all. To pick only ten seems cruel indeed.

Sometimes we flip it into an award. The athlete of the decade kinda thing. The best TV show, the best movie (no wait, that’s the Academy Awards), best book, best car. Award ’em the Best in show award and put that in your trophy case. Another on the way next year and you will be forgotten anyway.

Retrospectives are catchalls, not truly top ten lists, but the “year in review” kinda thing. Again, it’s important to remember all this stuff. Some of it, we would rather not, but of course, that can doom us to repeat it. Don’t forget. So we dutifully listen and ooh and ahh, and whisper, “gosh I forgot all about that!”

I think we are to gain some kind of prospective from our retrospecting ways. I’m not quite sure, but I suspect we are. We’re supposed to place our own troubles in the mix and find them “not so bad” by comparison. Heck I can do that by watching soaps for a week.  Is there some synthetis that can be accomplished by juxtaposing all this “old news?”  Perhaps.

We are not through yet though, for we now come to “resolutions” those funny/serious attempts we are called upon to engage in to “change our ways” and “improve” ourselves. We will be leaner, and not so meaner. We will be smarter and more well read. We will be attentive, and listen to more “high brow” crap so we sound smarter at the watercooler.

We will stretch our minds, our bodies and our psyches with new challenges. We will develop patience, fortitude, calmness. We will discriminate among choices for recreation. We will spend less time on TV and computers, and more with books and exercise. We will write more, and speak less. We will listen, absorb, cook from scratch, develop new hobbies, recycle, repair, redecorate, reorient, repackage, rethink, rework, and regroup.

We really really will. Until life catches up and we let it go this week, and then another, and then, whoa, it is December again, and we REmember what we have forgotten since January. Then we do it all over again, with more resolve, we are sure, than last year.

We are REsilient. In fact, I think I’ll make a list of RE words and all that I can RE next year. My first decision: To REsurrect my journeling so I can avoid everyone else’s REtrospective and REread my own.

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