I've had a good year. I'm surrounded by incredibly generous friends and relatives who help me whenever I need it, and I have a remarkable girlfriend whose love and support have transformed the way I live. I have a rewarding career, and I can honestly say that I've had a positive, if indirect, impact on thousands of lives.
So naturally I feel guilty in the wake of this weeks horrifying news from Asia. I'll give what I can to the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders when my next cheque comes in, and I'm sure it will do some good. But it won't change the fact that billions live in poverty while a small minority gorge themselves on the world's resources. Nor will it change the fact that I treasure my lifestyle; I enjoy creature comforts too much to give them up. I try not to be wasteful, and I give to charity at regular intervals, but I won't give up my car for the sake of the environment, and I won't sell off my books or movies and donate the proceeds to worthy causes. I'm not that selfless.
On the other hand, few are. You don't have to be a saint to make a difference; just indulge yourself a little less. That's going to be my New Year's resolution for our next spin around the sun, and I'm going to do my best to stick to it, to give back to the world more than I take. As far as I can tell, creating a better society isn't accomplished by one or two or even two thousand people each doing a lot; it's accomplished by billions, each doing a little. Let's each of us be one of those billions.
Lives can be washed away as easily as grains of sand on a beach. Enjoy yours while you can, and take advantage of every day in 2005, and all the years to come.
*Edit: Ah, screw it - no need to wait for my next cheque. Thanks to online donations, I can just put it on my credit card. What the hell, it's not like I was going to pay it off this month anyway.