Just before New Year’s Day, I was walking along A1A in Flagler Beach, with a clear view of the ocean to one side and of various homes and businesses on the other. I was in a reflective mood: pondering what has been and what might be, clarifying what matters most to me at this point in my journey, and imagining how I might respond faithfully to my limits and possibilities.
For the most part, I looked out over the water toward the horizon. There was a gentle breeze. The sky was clear, the air warm, the ocean calm, and the sun bright. Light danced across the waves. I was being both lost and found in a kind of reverie. I barely noticed any of the residences and stores to my left, but, for whatever reason—mostly, I think, because ice cream is an Achilles Heel for me— Sally’s Ice Cream caught my eye. I crossed the road to get a better look (and, had the shop been open, to have an “It’s-the-holidays-why-not?” splurge).
Turns out, though, I got something more lasting (and healthier) than an ice cream cone. One of the doors was decorated with a sign and a colorful wreath. The sign said: “Life is now in session.” This simple aphorism is similar in intent, of course, to “There’s no time like the present,” “Life isn’t a dress rehearsal,” and “Carpe Diem,” all of which echo from time to time in my mind and heart, especially at the turning of the years.
Most of my New Year’s resolutions, when I have made them, were versions of “I’m going to carpe the heck out of diem.” Especially since I was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma almost eight years ago, I’ve been viscerally aware of things which are always true for all of us: the present is all I have. Rehearsals ended a long time ago; the curtain could come down on the drama and comedy of my life at any time.
I don’t make resolutions these days, though I do spend time confessing, claiming the gifts of repentance (turning in a new direction), and revising my “rule of life” to support my response to my sense of calling. For 2022, I’ve written two phrases at the top of my rule, one popularized by Ram Dass—“Be here now”— and the other from Sally’s Ice Cream: “Life is now in session.”
I’ve got a long list of things that I’ve said for years are primary commitments but have received secondary time and energy, because I defer them to later: valuing relationships more than productivity; writing; practicing the wisdom of Sabbath; letting myself play, laugh, and cry, and being alert to opportunities to bless and affirm others.
Doing these things is as difficult and as easy as acknowledging and enacting that now really is now—the only time I have.