Last year at this time I wasn’t even blogging to speak of. The year before, when I was reflecting on the year gone by, I noted that things were on a slow steady slide, each year seemingly less hopeful than the last, and I guess that was the case because in 2015 there wasn’t a post at all. So the fact that I’m even typing this out is a good sign.
The wider world hasn’t gotten any better. In fact, it’s probably gotten worse. This year was rife with shitty developments – politics (seriously? Donald Trump? SERIOUSLY??), divorce (both the best man and matron of honor from our wedding in this past year), mechanical (we’re looking at the prospect of having two car payments in 2017 unless we’re willing to roll the dice on only having one car), health (after allergy shots and three kinds of nasal steroids and a CPAP machine, I still can’t sleep through the night)…but one thing did change. I ran out of patience, I put my resume out, and then I told the management that I was on the market. Lo and behold, they found a new job for me internally, doing exactly what I’d been doing minus the parts I hated doing…and for a 10% raise.
That helped. I’ve noted before, long ago, that work as an adult takes up a good half of your waking life: not just at the office, but shaping when and where you can go for lunch and how you commute there and back and how you have to plan other bits of your life, and anything that’s going to eat up 50% of your conscious life has to be something that at the very least doesn’t make your life actively worse. I think maybe I crested that with this change. It doesn’t make my life substantially better, as I’m still surrounded by everything I hate about Silly Con Valley on a daily basis, but it’s not a constant source of existential despair anymore, so I got that going for me, I guess.
When you go by Stagger Lee, you rather expect 44 and 45 to be good years. It’s right there in the songs, after all. 44 is that hard eight on the craps table that made money at my bachelor party. 44 is Riggo plowing through a 50 Gut pulling-guard block in the days when football was fun, rather than a boundless misery. 44 sounds and feels like somebody set with adulthood and nothing much left to prove, which is what I’ve been trying to prove for over twenty years now without success. And yet, I’ve always skewed older than I really was. Maybe I’m finally hitting equilibrium. It would be nice.
So we set forth on the goals: don’t give up on fixing the health issues. If it means having to liposuction the inside of my nose to breathe at night, do it. If it means the monthlong moratorium on hard liquor has to be extended, I’ll live with it. If it means that cutting out carbs and soda and eating salad for lunch every day and going to see all manner of exotic specialists will actually produce results, then I’ll have the results. And I’ll plug in the headphones of a Sunday evening, with a reading lamp and a Kindle with the wireless turned off, and listen to music and sip something out of a fresh jug of oatmeal stout and do the pub thing at home where it’s inexpensive and easy to get up the stairs.
Do the things that make you happy. Stop doing things that don’t. And if you have a chance to book eight days in London, do it.