As 2011 turned into 2012, I posted an entry on this blog entitled "On the Turning of the Year." Well, today is December 21, 2012 and many foolish people are saying that the world is coming to an end. Just in case they may be right, I thought it would be a good idea to get a bit of a jump on the new year and start my "Turning of the Year" blog entry early.
I have to start with the painfully obvious: that calendars are human inventions and that the end of a period of time invented by humans for the convenient organization of human affairs has no meaning to the Universe at large. Having said that, the end of a calendar does make a suitable point of reflection. This was what inspired last year's "On the Turning of the Year" and it is also what inspires the current edition. I guess I have now also started a new personal tradition, namely to reflect on the turning of each year as it happens. Unless, of course the Mayan Calendar nuts are correct and this will be my last day on earth ...
It is only four days until my favourite day of the year -- Christmas Day -- and I am in one of my favourite places in the world -- Kaua'i, the "Garden Island" of the Hawai'ian Archipelago. I am here with the full immediate family: wife, son, stepdaughter and two granddaughters. What better place or time could there be for some annual reflection?
Well, it has been another one of those years. On the professional front, some of my longest lasting files have come either to an end or to a logical place to pause and reassess my participation. I have taken some decisive steps to simplify my professional life, reducing the size of my organization substantially. I will enter the new year with a feeling of freedom I have not experienced for many years, If ever.
There are some major outstanding loose ends, but nothing that will not be resolved in the months ahead. The major loose end involves money, and how that is resolved will determine to some extent how much we will have to live on for the next number of years, but the way it comes to a resolution will not really affect anything important.
I say this because the personal part of my life is deeply satisfying. For the past 20 years, I have been part of a family unit that is strong, affectionate and deeply mutually supportive. We have made the most important decisions already -- to stay together and grow old together, to stay where we live, perhaps in a new or renovated house, and to plan the rest of our lives on the pattern of how we live now, only better. Better in the sense of being more healthy and having less stress.
In this plan, it will be nice if we have more money than less, but our future won't really be enriched or impoverished much if we have more or less money. Not in any important way, at least. Money would enable us to spend more time in Hawai'i. Less money, less Hawai'i. Money will enable us to give the younger members of the family more opportunity, but they already have lots and it is going to be up to them what they do with it.
I consider my own immediate future as being one where in which I have more control than I have ever had. For 30 years my legal career has dominated all my plans. Now, it is in the way of my plans.