…and just celebrate the fact you arrived.”
I couldn’t say where the quote originated, but I’m sitting in the gallery parlor car of the Coast Starlight. By rights I should be about three hours from Los Angeles. Instead we passed the horseshoe curve in the dark and are just setting out from San Luis Obispo.
That might be as neat a metaphor for the year – and my larger life – as you could ask for. It was rapidly apparent I needed to punch out of my job, but it took an awfully long time to give up and just put the resume online, followed by explicit threats to HR that I was looking to get out. And two and a half months later, I had a new role that I didn’t fully take up until after Thanksgiving, with a new (albeit cumbersome) title and more money to actually do less work – only the bits I was actually enjoying in my previous role.
It also took too long for me to finish punching out of football as I’d planned – and to add irony, the Skins fell ass backward into their second NFC Least title in four years. But my life is better without it. And the entire holiday season, I found myself wearing my high school ring, that blue stone winking at me just as it did in 1988.
I’ve gotten everything I wanted that was once on the other side of that stone. Not all at once, and I have since lost some of it, and some of it I stopped wanting, but on paper, I’ve closed out the list for that sixteen year old kid. It’s important to be reminded of that from time to time.
Because if there’s another lesson this year, it’s that not only do you not every time get what you want, sometimes you don’t get to hang onto it. There were multiple divorces close to the family this year, and my most favorite job was transformed by a big-media deal that did wrong by many of my closest friends and teammates. Silicon Valley isn’t what it once was when I loved it here, the bar of my past Sunday frequency no longer opens on Sundays, and my loyal Rabbit has gone temperamental and will almost certainly not get through 2016.
Nothing lasts forever, for better or worse. That’s the lesson of 2015, and it’s a good one to have learned before the really rough stuff starts next year. The good things that happened did happen, and those memories bear me along to the next episode.
Next stop: Rose Parade. Then Hawaii. Then, at long last, London. And onward to bigger and better things at work, and hopefully better health and better feelings. As always, the plan: less soda, fewer carbs, not so much vending machine crap. Fill all three rings on the Apple Watch every single day, keep pursuing lower blood pressure and a better night’s sleep. Do the things that make me happy and stop doing things that don’t, and have some sense of perspective.
And speaking of better late than never, see Star Wars: The Force Awakens at least a dozen more times.