Looking forward by looking back


Slap-Happy New Year!

There’s a God by the name of Janus,

who looks both forward and aft,

Looking back, things appear rather heinous,

look ahead and it’s almost as daft.

Old Swivelneck looked at the past year,

Saw a mind-boggling bog,

Looked ahead — better than last year?

Couldn’t see through the smog.

Interesting fellow, Janus. He gave us “January,” of course, and kept his temple doors open in times of war, closed tight in times of peace. When you think of all the festive New Year’s open houses, umm, did that mean “Beware arguments `round the eggnog?” Or “Sorry, it’s so peaceful we don’t want to let you punch-bowl rabble come in and ruin it?”

Whether Janus made resolutions or welcomed revolutions doesn’t seem to be discussed in our voluminous studies, but everyone’s heard of this futile exercise. Probably exercise is one of the most often not followed through, along with lose weight, help the needy, be more positive, kind and true, wise and thoughtful, say your prayers and floss your teeth. Meet your deadlines!

Well, now we’re getting more personal—you can look both ways at your own past and future. Only you can look so far back in your past and conjecture about your future — maybe based on your past. You’ll see the highlights growing up, and lowlights. Don’t spend much time on “wish I’d done that!” because you did or you didn’t, so take it from there. Some have quite a lot more past than future, ahem, but there IS a future after all.

Let me tell ya, recently I’ve had this topic to explore. Somehow my neighborhood decided I’m a treasure and wants to do an article for the local newsletter about it. That was flattering and it seemed to me if it’s about “why me?” I could write of my great smart/funny parents who, after all, “brung me up good” — only child, great schools, music, helpful. And our two great kids! It wouldn’t just be a list of she-did-this in the neighborhood and city.

But as of our last draft, there is the list and little about family or our music, which has to do with so much in life. It’ll all come out somehow and look like I did a lot of helpful things with the help of my husband John, our kids, and many 1,000 wonderful neighbors who deserve huge credit.

And for all who are tired of this whole New Year’s bubbly, there’s “Gnu Ears,” the alternative group celebrating the flip-flop ears of the swift gnu, an African antelope. Start growing your chin-whiskers now, to be ready for the next Gnu Ears Flipflopathon.

Diana Helper and her husband have lived in Denver for 63 years. She works on projects with the city, University of Denver, Inter-Neighborhood Cooperation and Open Space and Parks and Recreation.


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