On Friday I attended my partner's father's funeral and wake in Suffolk, and as the minister earnestly reminded us, it was a time to think not only on the life of the departed but also on our own mortality. Since my parents' early deaths, I've been overwhelmed by the realization that all this knowledge, all this richness of experience, simply ends (as I am agnostic). I feel more pressure not only to lead an ethical life but also to be the person I aspire to be, as a partner, friend, writer, and teacher. I suppose that's why I came up with so many New Year's resolutions (perhaps aspirations is a better word)--I am painfully conscious of ways in which I want to improve. Perhaps this degree of self-criticism will ease as I become more accustomed to my parents' deaths, but I'm not sure I want it to. Perhaps having a keen sense of mortality, a sense that we lead only one life, offers the best way to achieve real happiness. I don't know.