Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

Out With the Old…….

The Alamo, San Antonio, TX

My father always used to say the same thing every New Year’s – “Out with the old and in with the new”.  I never quite understood why, since he never threw anything away (we didn’t have a whole lot to discard), nor did he go out and buy anything new.  I don’t think he meant it in a philosophical sense, either.  As far as our home life was concerned, little changed from one year to the next except, of course, that we all got a little older.  Nothing happened New Year’s day, or in the days that followed, that made the new year any different than the old one.  The major consequence of the calendar changing, it seemed to me, was that you had to start remembering that the last digit of the year had changed.  You know, instead of putting January 1, 1962 on a document or check that you wrote, you had to remember to write January 1, 1963.  Aside from that, no big deal when it came to New Year’s Day.  A few football games on TV, a day off, and you moved on.

So I’ve never understood why people spend time thinking about what they’re going to do differently in the new year.  Or why TV news shows spend hours talking about the previous year’s highlights (or in most cases, the “lowlights”), and then go on to predict what they think might happen in the next 12 months.  Or why anybody bothers to make resolutions or lists of things to do in the “new” year.  Or why anyone in their right mind would think for a minute that by doing so things will get better (or even be different) than they are now.  Just because the date changes.

Yeah, I know.  It’s the old idea of renewal.  Starting over.  Getting a fresh start.  Rededicating yourself to doing all those things that are “good” for you.  Like losing weight or getting more exercise or being a better parent or – gasp – going out and taking more photographs.  Well chances are it ain’t gonna happen.  Not this year and not next year, either. 

This year, of course, New Year’s is even worse.  We’re on the verge of a whole friggin’ new decade, for heaven’s sake.  It won’t be as traumatic as the beginning of the last one, certainly, when we all had to worry about Y2K and computers crashing everywhere.  Still, people are coming up with plenty of stuff to fret about.  Global warming.  Genocide.  War.  Jobs.  Not to mention the possible end of the world in 2012 because the Mayan calendar ends then, or Sarah Palin being elected president (I didn’t say that everything people are going to worry about was serious).  Actually, I take that back.  Sarah Palin being elected president would be serious.  But enough of this doom and gloom.

The good news is that change comes whether we want it to or not.  The really good news is that most of the time the changes that really mean something are completely unpredictable.  We never see them coming.  Maybe we should, but we don’t.  We’re usually preoccupied with trying to control what we think should happen next.  Which inevitably blinds us to what’s really going to happen.  We all have this ridiculous notion that we control our own destiny.  That we have “free will”.  Horse Pucky.  It’s an illusion.  If you really believe in free will, I have a bridge that crosses nearby Irondequoit Bay that I’d like to sell you. 

Albert Einstein once said,

“Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control.  It is determined for the insect as well as the star.  Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper”.

I don’t know about you, but if Einstein said it, it’s good enough for me.  I have no idea who (or what) that “invisible piper” is, but after 6 decades of life I have no doubt that there is, in fact, a “mysterious tune”.  Mine is different than yours, but it’s real.  And it won’t take “no” for an answer.

So forget the lists and the resolutions.  All you really have to do is listen.


9 Responses to “Out With the Old…….”

  1. Andreas Manessinger

    Ahh, so I got it wrong. It’s only the old website that isn’t any more. Well, that’s good news. Free will? No Paul, Albert and you got it all wrong. Will is absolutely free, the problem is only, it’s not very effective 🙂

    Or maybe it’s not such a problem after all. Happy New Year again!

  2. Andreas Manessinger

    Just to clarify my last comment: I had at first tried from my sidebar, and when that did not work and I landed on a generic page, I tried to wish you a happy New Year via mail to your address at Well, it just turned out that address has expired as well, and this left my comment with a goofy beginning 🙂

    Happy New Year, and this time really AGAIN 😀

  3. Don

    I agree, today is just another day, Friday, and life goes on. We are going to hell in a handbasket so I might as well enjoy the ride. Happy New Year

  4. Paul Maxim

    Thanks to all for the comments and thanks for taking the time to visit my extremely tiny corner of the photographic world. I also hope you all understand that when I go on a “rant” like this it’s a little tongue in cheek. I always go a bit over the top just to see if I can rattle someone’s cage and get a response. I really don’t take myself all that seriously, so I hope you don’t either. I do believe most of what I say, but it’s also in the spirit of having some fun and promoting honest dialogue. Like everyone else, I’m more than capable of getting things wrong. I’ve been making mistakes for a lot of years and I doubt that anything will change at this point in my life.

    Just don’t tell my grandchildren. They still think that Papa’s always right!

  5. Cedric

    Not sure how I missed this post but I’m glad I finally got here. I’m with you with the whole NY resolution thing. I never got it either but then again I never got goal setting or celebrating birthdays either so I may just be a little weird. Free-will, fate, these are concepts I understand but like so many things in life they are based on beliefs which are in turn based on thoughts which in turn come from the mind and I have never been able to see the mind as something I have control over. Did I say I was a little weird? Okay make that a lot. In any case, one thing I’m sure of is that I’ve enjoyed your blog and your cage rattling style as well as your images and I look forward to hanging around this “tiny corner” for as long as you continue to post.


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