1111: we live in an era where dates have interesting numeric sequences

For the first time probably since childhood, I didn’t stay up to see the years turn over. There’s nothing spectacular about that decision — just a mix of jet lag, just getting back from Minnesota and that our main social event around the new year happens to be today instead of last night. Though I do tend to think that New Years Eve is a lesser holiday.

All the same, I awake and the calendar looks different, so it is time to contemplate the promise of 2011, which includes eight more months of sabbatical, missing the rest of what I call winter (I had enough from two weeks in Minnesota, thanks) and some travel along the west coast.

I’m not big on new years resolutions. But this is a year for introspection. I thought it was going to be all about thinking and working through stuff, but the reality is that it’s more like I’ve just got the space for epiphanies to hit me. In 2011 I’ll work on making more of that space. Two other not-drastic commitments:

1. Play music with other people more. I’ve been doing a lot of computer-based composition and studio work that’s more like sculpting or cooking, but I’ve had occasion to be reminded of the exquisite pleasure of being a bassist in an ensemble (not that there only has to be only one bassist, mind you). So in 2011 I’ll make some more occasions to simply play music with other people. For fun.

2. Rationalize our charitable giving. We give money away every year but it’s in a clumsy fashion, usually ending with a big chunk of cash in December (30th or 31st, naturally). A more rational schedule and a list of organizations, dates and amounts will help us give, well, more and in a more rational fashion. I am also contemplating moving to fully anonymous giving — but that’s another story and here I am talking about it anyway.

I mention it here at all because my understanding is that people on the left tend to give away less money (proportionate to their incomes) than people on the right. And those of us who lead secular lives are less likely to be given regular occasions to be thoughtful about it. Even though we are inundated with pitches for this or that organization, we certainly don’t talk about it much. But then, it’s not polite to talk about money or privilege or obligations to others. Even though I’ve been thinking about the issue for about a month as the usual December chunk approached, I was struck by how much it was on the minds of my friends in Minneapolis who do have some religious practice.

One reply on “1111: we live in an era where dates have interesting numeric sequences”

  1. I feel you, Jonathan. this was an epiphanic New Year’s for me too. I’ve been contemplating the importance of fun and how important it is to work hard to have it, and that it takes special effort. As for giving, I have always tended to give more and to specific causes like Women for Women and Planned Parenthood when I myself am not having a good year. You’re right that it’s not considered polite to talk about money or privilege or obligations to others and that is wrong.

    We miss you guys.


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