When you sit down and do the thing where you try and summarize your year in the Internet Wilderness, it becomes painfully obvious that all of that ’embrace the inevitability of change’ stuff is as clichéd as it is correct. Life consists of a cavalcade of curveballs that you fight off desperately, trying to get ahead in the count, hoping for one easy pitch that you can put over the fence.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s that there are no easy pitches.
When I was a kid, I was scared a lot. I was sensitive and awkward around other kids and never felt like I belonged. I looked at my parents and was in awe of how in control they seemed – so confident, so sure of themselves, who they were, what was right and what they should do.
This year I turned the age my father was when I was born. When I look back now at the albums of photos from those days I don’t see a man holding a child who is the master of all he surveys, the unconquerable hero of my youth – I see a guy holding a kid, looking extremely happy and a little tired.
I’m only guessing, but I’ll bet that he was probably fighting those curveballs off just as hard as I was.
This year has had some great stuff happen along with some pretty crappy stuff, but lord knows it was a hell of a lot better than the last one. I just want to say thank you to my family and friends who (again) gave me so much love and support. You rock, rock.
This new year is going to be very, very different from the last one, which was exponentially different than the year before. I’m starting to notice a theme, here – that the inevitability of change is something I should probably learn to embrace rather than resist.
Speaking of changes, I have decided I should probably set some goals like I did a couple years ago. Since I am completely fuelled by fear and shame, a little public accountability goes a long way for me. I did, like, two of the three in 2012, which is an order of magnitude better than I usually do at goal setting. So, without further ado:
The weirdest part about starting my new job is having to explain to people that I am getting divorced. I get a lot of “Oh, but you’re so young!”, which I guess is a good thing, but kind of leaves me at a loss as to how to respond further. So far my “Why, yes, I did manage to already have one relationship explosion before I was 30, and yes it is pretty pathetic that people have had bowel movements that took longer than the amount of time it took my wife to leave me – thank you for your observation!” technique has had mixed results in terms of making people like me in the new environment. I think I’m just going to stick with using sarcastic deadpan that about 25% of people know is a joke.
This should be pretty obvious to anyone who has had to listen to me rant for the last year and a half. It’s been a tough time and it is getting better, but a little bit of closure will go a long way.
I have a wonderful, patient girlfriend who has listened to me talk – and talk – about this person who was so much a part of my life for so long and now haunts the corners of my days less and less as time goes on. My formally ending that chapter in my life, I’m hoping I can help move that much further away from that time and place and person I was and more the person I want to be now.
On New Year’s Eve this year, I did something I haven’t done in a very long time and picked up a guitar in front of another human being for an extended period of time for a little impromptu jam session. The other two guys who were playing were exponentially better than I was, and there was no question I had a sufficient degree of liquid courage on board, but I subsumed my worry about judgement and failure and just played. I was fairly crap, but no one shouted me down or made me feel like I should just leave the room. So I played a bit, I learned a lot and the first thing I did when I got home was blow the dust off my guitar and played a bit of what I had been taught to help me retain it for the next time I play with those guys.
I really want there to be a next time.
One of the reasons I have spent so little time writing on here in the last year had a lot to do with trying to be more conscious of the record I leave online. I’m technically supposed to be one of those web-savvy people that understands the reach and power of the web, so I thought it might be a great idea to just tap the brakes on the free-association nonsense on my blog and focus on my professional writing for a while. It was fine, but there’s no question that it exercises a different muscle than the kind of work I like to post here.
Ultimately, I look around at my friends and family and I see a lot of people who may or may not read the words I write, and they may not like the songs I play around them, but they will show up and they will support. Some of the best times last year was seeing my friends Adam and Tom play in their band The Special Edisons and seeing all of those folks come to see something cool that their boyfriend/son/buddy is doing is a cool feeling. I need to stop worrying about being terrible or judged and remind myself that pretty much everyone that is still here in my life is a pretty cool person.
This is probably the one that’s going to be the hardest, but I’ve decided – in no small part because of the things above – that it’s time for me to start building the kind of life I want, and not just live.
My divorce has put me in a tough position financially and emotionally, and while I have made a lot of progress over the last year in terms of getting into a better space, I still have a long way to go. This is going to involve a more considerable lifestyle change and a renewed focus on setting goals to help me get to a much more stable place – one where I end this year with no debt and the foundations for owning my own place, preferably in a part of the city that I both want to live in and can afford to do so.
I’m really excited about this year and what it’s going to bring.
At the bare minimum, at least I’ll have the chance to meet Strombo and hug Peter Mansbridge.