We look into the rear-view mirror at 2013 and see the warning: “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear.” The trouble is, they grow farther away all too quickly.
2013 wasn’t 2012, when the world was supposed to end; nor was it Y2K, when computers were supposed to have met the same fate. It wasn’t 2001, which was supposed to be the time for a space odyssey and ended with an Earth disaster instead.
It wasn’t 1984, with its Big Brother, Newspeak and government surveillance. Wait, let me think about that again; maybe 2013 gave 1984 a run for its money.
Overall, though, 2013 was not a year most of us will remember in detail as a standout 12 months.
It wasn’t a big election year, but there were other disasters, both natural and manmade.
Some people cared that a new royal was born. Others welcomed their own additions to the family. Some of us lost loved ones as the spinning wheel spun. To quote the songwriter: “One child born in this world to carry on.”
I just read an e-mail from a woman I went to elementary school with; her sister and I were good friends. I hadn’t heard from any of them in years, and it reminded me how many 2013s have passed since the grade-school playground.
I don’t keep in touch with people the way I should. Life itself keeps me busy – as busy as this old body can be – so I fell off the social media train long ago.
Every time I come up for air, I see how things, and people, have changed over those years.
A co-worker told me the rural area he grew up in has been replaced by governmental buildings.
In my own case, the winding, hilly dirt road I grew up on has been flattened, straightened out and paved. My childhood home has burned, and what was our yard is now weeds. The country store I walked to for a “Co-Cola” is still there, but Mrs. Stephenson’s warmth no longer fills it.
When I was young, the Georgia songwriter and singer Joe South had a hit song about the way we all wish we could return to our past, but if we try, it isn’t there anymore. Don’t It Make You Want to Go Home included these lines:
“But there’s a six-lane highway down by the creek where I went skinny-dippin’ as a child. And a drive-in show where the meadow used to grow and the strawberries used to grow wild. There’s a drag strip down by the riverside where my grandma’s cow used to graze. Now the grass don’t grow and the river don’t flow, like it did in my childhood days.”
That was some time ago, and even the drive-in shows have been replaced by time’s paintbrush. As yet another songwriter said: “Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future.”
I suppose that as we look back on 2013, all we can do is give thanks that our wins and losses are in the mirror and to pledge to do a little better in the new year.