2018: Not Solving Any Problems Here: Just Hanging On

Published 4:54 pm Thursday, December 28, 2017

Whether you like it or not, “Happy New Year” because 2018 is here.

January is always that transitional month on everyone’s calendar, a time to look back with fondness and regret at the good times and the bad; a time to look forward with hope and trepidation at what lies before us. We made it through another maddening rush of the Holiday Season, when Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years all blur together, only to be faced with $75-per-dozen roses for Valentine’s Day. I, for one, am especially sensitive to January 2018 because it marks the last year of the decade that I can by some liberal definition call myself middle-age.

I resolve to not let the Thanksgiving turkey carcass and Christmas hambone stay in the freezer until Easter, which is when I normally give them to the dogs.

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I resolve to give real-florist roses no matter how much they cost. Bi Lo roses just don’t say, “I Love You,” but you do get extra Plenti points.

I resolve to believe the adage, “Age is only a number,” instead of “You are only as old as you feel.”

Right now, people all over the world are taking stock of their lives. By the time you read this, we may very well be at war or have a presidentially endorsed accused pedophile in our congress.

Probably, we will still be wringing our hands over budget cuts, taxes, healthcare, national debt, and morning tweets. And, just when we thought the war between the sexes was over, lost, or won, the women have brought out the big guns and the men are in full retreat.

I resolve to stop drinking my morning coffee while reading up-to-moment international news in “zoomed-in view” nine-point type on my cell phone. I can wait for the 7 a.m. CBS morning news (I sure do miss Charlie Rose) and the daily newspaper, both of which are easier to drink when half asleep and drinking hot caffeine.

Closer to home, most of us are really proud of how downtown Tryon has spruced up and grown during the past few months. Landrum continues to be the cutest small town around. Saluda is both figuratively and physically above it all. And, Columbus is holding steady. And, yet, we are bewildered why the Chamber of Commerce is in the red. Who misses the Blue Ridge BBQ and Music Festival besides me?

We are primping and prepping for the World Equestrian Games, and in whispered voices asking, “Will it be sustainable after the anticipated 500,000 equestrians come and go?” “Will it boom our local economy?” “Will it further secure Polk County’s place on the map of happening places?” Only time will tell.

The problems of the world at large or just the tiny corner called the Carolina Foothills are certainly beyond my ability to solve. I am that guy who sits quietly off to the side taking it all in to be processed by the imperfect machine of body, mind, and soul. Greater men than I have been elected by their peers to tackle such questions. I ponder in hopes of a better tomorrow, and cherish the time that and the people who have been allotted to my life.

I resolve to write more fiction because “Sometimes fiction is more easily understood than true events,” so said South Korean writer Young-Ha Kim.

I resolved “to accept the things that cannot be changed, the courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

Sound familiar?

Here’s to 2018! It is here, and so are we. Good luck!•

Steve Wong is a writer living in the peach orchards in Gramling, S.C. He can be reached online at Just4Wong@Gmail.com.