2009: as good as it gets

My first dream of 2010 was an odd one: watching a frog hop around a psychedelic 70s-style lounge changing not just colour but texture. The frog grew a carpet on its belly, white with black spots, as it trundled across a rug, and reared up to show me. As it journeyed over floor and table and scattered books, it changed colour instantly, perfectly, duplicating patterns and shades without hue or cry. There was a photo album of the frog too, taken by the family whose lounge I was visiting, and in one of the pictures the frog was getting humped by my sister’s childhood soft toy. (Also a frog.)

Quite a metaphor. Because that’s the world: multicoloured, varying, and you either adapt to its terrain or you don’t. If you do, you might as well glory in your abilities, because you’re one of the chosen few: the infinitesmal fraction of all possible combinations of sperm and egg that survives to carry the species forward one more generation.

Years don’t get much better than 2009, except perhaps for 2010. In the broader world it was another year of New Labour ineptitude, worldwide recession and interfering politicians, but – I’m not part of any broader world. Since I learned to live life on my own terms I haven’t noticed booms and never noticed the bust. You just do what you’re good at and try to get better at it, broadening your base by constantly trying new things, and always be utterly honest with the people who pay you. That’s what life is.

And a new year is the perfect time to make the best of it.

I don’t do Christmas, London on New Year’s Eve is a zoo, and I hate the cold. But I genuinely love New Year’s Day. So full of possibilities. If you did something bad, now’s the time to put it right. If you did something great, now’s the time to build on it. One year older too, but I don’t think of it as one year closer to the grave; for me it means victory over death, another year I moved closer to the possibility of immortality.

Because death is just a cellular-level defence against cancer: as our understanding of molecular biology grows, so will our ability to defy it. Cell division, molecular repair, even the aging process itself will one day be reversible. The first generation for whom dying is an option may already have been born. All I have to do is outlive them.

In the spirit of those great philosophers Calvin & Hobbes in their last-ever cartoon:

“It’s a magical world, Hobbes ol’ buddy… let’s go exploring!”

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