I was born on the last day of the year, which made my birthday something of an occasion and made December the defining month of the year. It acted as a culmination of the previous eleven months. It was an annual apogee that my immature mind would associate mostly with the presents. There were Christmas presents, birthday presents, Christmas and birthday presents — it was wondrous. This wasn’t greed so much as a total exaltation of a simple thing.
As I grew older something changed. Not in any unique way, as I believe this change occurs in everyone. A change whose arrival can’t be placed; it could have been that first time I didn’t erupt with excitement at the unveiling of a present or at the sighting of a palm tree as my plane touched down. I say that because I write this under a canopy of green fronds with the ocean lingering just out of view. It seemed as the Decembers passed by, so did my once constant state of childhood fascination.
Last December I was cold. I was chained and obliged to an application process whose prompts of reflection seemed more of a formality every day. This December I am warm and engaged in a truer form of observation.
Seven months ago I graduated high school. I was accepted to the school of my choice. I had time to relax. It appeared that my life was at its zenith.
Five months ago I sat in a doctor’s office, scared and broken, and as my friends moved on to the most monumental experiences I had to learn the daily, painful, and mockingly mundane regimens necessary to keep myself alive.
Three months ago I escaped, flew south, made a final gambit for the childlike and unfeigned beauty that I knew had abandoned me. I stopped somewhere atop the Tropic of Cancer. Now I look at the palm trees, which hold static in a windless morning but lie arched from the yesterday’s gusts, and I find it easy to self-project my life onto this enigmatic world.
There’s an intensity that the older brain lacks, an inability to fixate on the aesthetic and to cede itself to imagination. We may lose it somewhere in the often worthless deluge of responsibility and expectation. We may simply lose it as we familiarize ourselves with more immediate adult pleasures. The method of this loss doesn't matter so much.
This December I intend to search for, to rediscover, and to reimplement something related to that childish enthrallment, that feeling hiding itself in nostalgia. I will write stories and poems and read from Bellow, Salinger, Whitman, and Thoreau. I will troll for tuna between the continental shelf and the abyssal descent. I will plunge toward shipwrecks one hundred feet below blue waves that crumble with a venerable boldness. I will indulge a singular rage to live more fully.
As each December passes I will renew this passion, because last December I was apathetic. And I will never be apathetic again.