Stop Judging Me, John Lennon

So this is Christmas
And what have you done?
Another year over
And a new one just begun.
Every time I hear this song,  I think, "OMG, John Lennon, stop judging me!"

(My husband says I have guilt issues and constantly think people are judging me. I think this is a natural side effect of working in the arts, where yes, people are judging you, all the time, in a wide variety of ways.)

But back to John Lennon. This song is even worse for me this year because it's about ending war, for the children, and now I actually have a child, and 2015 has just not been a super great year for peace on earth, and what, John Lennon asks, have I done about that?

Not enough, John Lennon, not enough. I'm doing well if I can maintain some semblance of peace in my own home. There's not much time for anything else. And yet somehow I feel like other people manage it, while I just tell stories. That's what I do. I catch stories and write them down. That's what I've done, for what it's worth.

There's something about this week between Christmas and New Year's that makes me think about time a lot. Maybe it's because there's a strange, surreal, outside-of-time feel about it. It's neither one thing nor the other. Nothing counts in this nethertime.

 Most places, it's a slow week. The kids are still out of school, but the big bang of Christmas is done. The old year is pretty much over, the holidays are winding down, but the busyness of the new year hasn't started yet. The weather's usually bad enough to keep me indoors most of the time. If you ever do make it to church the Sunday after Christmas, you'll notice the place is almost empty.

It's a reflective time, a time to think about what have we done and what are we going to do and personally, I think this is the reason people drink on New Year's Eve. Another year over, and what have you done?

I've never once in my whole life felt like I accomplished enough in the preceding year. I've always felt a little afraid that I wouldn't live up to my goals for the next year. I know I'm not the only one who feels like there's never enough time, and because the holidays arrive at the end of the year, all the emotions and memories and hopes and dreams and fears that go along with those get tied up with the dreadful sense of arriving at an end, and of course it's just the time of year when the usual sense of not-enough-time is compounded by all the extra things that, while often fun, do take time.

I always feel a little sad on New Year's Eve. It's a little death, a year that will never come again, and for a moment, it makes me really really really think about time and how quickly the years peel away, and that's not something I like to do. So I was sort of joking before, but I wonder if there's something more to the traditional drinking to excess on New Year's Eve than just the party? Is it because none of us likes to think about how fast time flies? Is it a way of numbing the way time collides at the holidays, when all our memories press harder on us than the rest of the year and the future is unknown and the present is rushed rushed rushed? I don't know.

Instead of making a list of New Year's resolutions, I think I'm going to make a list of everything I did in the past year, if only so I have something to tell John Lennon the next time I hear that song.


  1. Well said, Courtney. I feel the same way. I love the line about how our memories press down harder on us this time of year. I'm going to join you in making a list of accomplishments instead of resolutions. Happy New Year!

  2. For what it's worth, I think telling stories is a pretty decent way to spend the time we have on this earth :)

  3. I started writing a sort of combo letter to myself about 10 years ago, at the end of each year. My own review of both accomplishments and goals and even the stuff that I tried but didn't quite achieve. It keeps me both honest and hopeful as the year turns.

  4. I love this song so much, and I love your idea of making a list of accomplishments.


Post a Comment