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Year-end ritual of customary thoughts

Tumbas Manipis
by John A. Bello

It has become a habit, a customary practice for us creatures of, what else, habit, to look back on the year that is ending, to review and reflect on the whole year that has gone by, on our personal level and on the bigger, greater level of our community and national life. What have we learned? Or are we learning anything at all? Are we still on the right track to what we have put our mind and heart to pursue at the beginning of the year and have we sustained it?

The world, our global existence, our life which has become saturated with the digital revolution has become a dizzying pace of breathless, nonstop changes at every aspect of our economic, political, cultural, moral, spiritual, intellectual and even sexual life as never before. Where are we headed? Are we keeping up with the changes in our midst, are we coping up, are we still in control of the things that are seemingly sweeping us to where, perdition and annihilation, according to the pessimists and nihilists, what with the never-ending conflicts, political strifes and tensions and wars everywhere; or to ever improvement and progress in our midst in our economic, political, cultural and technological life according to the optimists, positivists and do-gooders?

When the year is ending, it has become customary, a ritual of some sort for all of us, to look back, to evaluate, to size up what we have become in our personal, national and global life, to always ask what we have become, where we are headed and whether we are still on the right track of our personal, national and political life. There is no avoiding really, in every closing and ending of the year, to ask the perennial questions, to think things through, to be contemplative if ever we are still on the right track, if we are not headed to the brink of anything saddening and disastrous in our personal, national and global life, such as we are, creatures of habit, of thought, of errors and, yes, sins, if we are minded to be religious, spiritual and philosophical about the things, confused and confusing, that are happening in our midst.

When you are way headed for ripeness of age and maturity, you cannot but feel contemplative when the year is ending, to size things up and look back and think things through and sometimes write if you are minded and stirred enough in the serenity and stillness of the hour that inevitably you will have found yourself one grim and....Turn to p/5

determined day or night where you have been standing in the chaos and confusion of your personal, psychological, spiritual and political life, and you ask, where, if anything, is this all headed, and what has to become of you and the world around you tomorrow, or the next week or next year and in the years still ahead.

It has become a grim and determined act for me, year in and year out and more so today that the world has never before been like in years past, this grim and determined thinking and looking inward and up ahead like it has become a sad, sadistic and agonistic ritual of some sort on my part that I have kept on inflicting sado-masochistically as it were on my goddam self.

But of course, one part of me, the better part I like to think, never give up on life as it is, and world-weary and jaded as I have become through the years, I still look up ahead with eager anticipation, the wonder stuff that I know there is in store of the wondrous life.

Anyway, as always I take refuge in some worldy-wise spirits or even take heart or ruminate on some poetic lines as a way of consolation about life’s sordidness and uncertainties and as my way of hanging on, of enduring it all and enjoying or even having at last to understand, if at all, what there is about life, about me. Here from Italian poet and philosopher Giacomo Leopardi:

What’s life for? To be


Blessed then when by danger

Beset, it forgets itself, doesn’t measure

The damage or heed the flow

Of slow and putrid hours;

Blessed when the foot

Pushed to the ultimate limit

Comes back the happier.

Here’s hoping that the coming New Year 2019 will be better and kinder and way happier for us all to live and prosper.