It’s been over ten years since last venturing out during New Year’s Eve, what I used to consider amateur night. That’s what a lifetime of hard drinking will do to you—soften criticism of those who managed to interject a modicum of moderation into their lifestyle.
Not one to shirk responsibility, it is clear to me that this personality fault caused some of my life’s most difficult times. Still, it took a lot more than humiliation to humble me into moderation, and it wasn’t until many years after Parkinson’s diagnosis that I finally reined in my intemperate imbibing.
Whether decades of heavy drinking partly triggered my Parkinson’s has been the subject of occasional internal debate, but not a lot. I’m reasonably sure that the underlying cause of my Parkinson’s is past trauma, both general in nature as well as one specific reason, but I will leave that for another writing.
Hope and regret pointlessly ruminate in symmetric reflection, while neither affects the present moment in a meaningful fashion. The past does not hold significant sway over me, leaving little room for regret along with an equal scarcity of attention to the role hope plays. Instead, longing and regret can offer only self-gratifying urgency or the futility of maudlin melancholy to an already confusing situation.
It can be trying to watch the sun go down on New Year’s Eve, knowing that most will find themselves at the start of the new year surrounded by people as they take in all this world of form has to offer. I must remind myself that this, too, abstaining from believing too fully in life’s master illusion, plays a significant role in what I am attempting to accomplish during my final Odyssey.
What I must eventually face during this adventure is unclear, although it will undoubtedly present more moments of extreme discomfort and pain. But for me, now, it is the only exploration worth engaging. There is no other way to experience the point of life, which is, in the end, to understand—albeit on a rudimentary and incomplete level, probably—the meaning of life. Alcohol used to maintain a deadening hold on my soul; my present quest entices that most integral part of my being forward into the light.
As Socrates said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” Thank you all for joining me on my final escapade. If considered seriously and soberly, I trust that it will light the spark of a personal journey of your own.
In the best sense of the word, I hope this is so. Happy New Year.