Meric calls me from New York, from the house I still own, though that is passing into history, and says, Happy New Year, even though for him it is a little over 6 hours away. And we talk, we laugh, we discuss the future, and he says it must be a strange time for you, living there now with all that is going on, the youth protesting, the scandals, the polarization of the population, the Turkish mentality. And I say it reminds me of America in the sixties, the same divisions, the same egotistical, paranoid leader dividing the country over a war we could not win. The only difference, I say, about the scandal that brought him down was it was about the abuse of power, where here it’s about that and money, too. And we talk of the hope we both have for Turkey, of his desire to return so his children will be raised here, near their grandparents, their families. And it warms my heart to hear his voice, to have this conversation, to be connected over the thousands of miles with a dear friend.
And I think about this new year and how it is a pivotal year in the lives of so many people I care about, I love. Jobs hang in the balance, or at least the prospect of jobs, the uncertainy of life, pathways once thought secure are no longer so, health issues raise their ugly heads, death has come and gone and dwindled the number of people I know, and new souls are stirring within wombs which will soon see the light of day in this new year. And a spirit of renewal, of hope, permeates the air.
And as I sit with my last glass of champagne from the bottle I have consumed in my private celebration of what has passed and what is before me, I hear drums in the air, sirens, voices chanting, and I think it is a new day, a new year, a new time to be alive, and feel what millions have felt before me on days such as this as one year melted into another. Life isn’t always what we want but it isn’t always something to fear, either. It is just life, rare and beautiful, something to cherish, to hold in our hands, taste with our mouths, embrace with our minds and our hearts.
Bring it on, I say, let it come. For the changes that will surely happen, for the people who will enter my life and the people I will leave behind. C’mon, life. Give me your best shot. I’m ready.