Friday, December 21, 2018

Day Three Thousand Six Hundred and Forty Two . . . Thoughts.

This life is just too much.

I mean that in a good way.

It seems that every day for as long as I can recall when I open my eyes I experience a mix of terror and overwhelming joy. This--I believe--has nothing to do with this "world we are living in these days" or the "air of uncertainty" that I hear my fellow humans lamenting over as we attempt to connect with each other.

No, this has been going on forever. It's just that as I get older I'm learning to appreciate these distinct emotions and their depth of flavor and character.

Thankfully--as it does each day--the morning fog quickly lifts from my brain as I begin to raise the blinds from one room to the next. The bedroom first and then the bathroom (with a quick splash of warm water on my face) and onto the hallway. And I realize that the morning that has greeted me is like a gift from a secret admirer. There's no name attached so I never really know who to thank for it. I just know inside that it was left for me to do with as I wish. I wish I could repay whoever or whatever is responsible but part of me just enjoys the game.

So I just keep walking forward towards the espresso maker and start turning on the kitchen lights and my day begins to unwrap itself.

And this is my life right now, which is very different from my life a year ago and way different from my life ten years ago. As I write this I'm actively trying to divest myself of much of the stuff I've accumulated over the past decade since my mom and aunt died and since Jodi and I met. While I have to admit that I did end up with a hearty amount of my mom's penchant for collecting (shoulder bags, especially) I do have an off switch. And it seems as if I have managed to gain at least a bit of the perspective that my mom either couldn't or refused to utilize.

I feel like these things that I bought or absorbed from previous generations has a way of mirroring the layers of stress in my head and heart. And each time I see something move out of the house in a box or in somebody's truck or car it makes me feel good. I realize that I don't need much more than the basics even if my idea of "basics" may be a bit more involved than the average person.

This coming year I hope to reduce what I have by 50% or more. It's not impossible and I'm up for the challenge.

But I often think back to ten years ago.

My aunt had passed away in September of 2008 having lived long enough to see me sober for nine full months. This is something my mom (who died in January of 2007) had never experienced. She had asked me to try to do this as she was going through treatments for terminal cancer. She wanted to see me sober for more than a week. I had told her I couldn't do it for her and I meant it at the time. I wasn't ready to make this change for myself and I didn't want to "fake it" for her and then have no safety net when she left me.

What a selfish prick.

But then who knows how life would have turned out. I could have relapsed when she died and ended up in an accident or worse.

But ten years ago this December I was shopping for furniture for my first home. A bed, bureau, couches, kitchen stuff, curtains, blinds, rugs, bath mats, all of it. A new home, a new life, a new me, a chance to repair, renew and rebuild.

There was no Jodi yet even thought that was percolating right beneath the surface (we had connected online and in person but a first real in-person meeting was still a few weeks away).

That Christmas was one of the strangest I have ever had. But great loss usually brings about experiences that one cannot explain or expect. So I just chalk it up to that. One learns a great deal about the people who are left when a loved one passes. And we are all extremely complicated and imperfect creatures.

My life since that year has been filled with so much excitement and joy I cannot even begin to express. I think I've done a pretty good job outlining the big points on this blog, even if the number of entries has dwindled from over 200 the first year down to 50 down to one every two or three months. But I don't really feel the need to overshare anymore. That time in my life has come and gone.


Today, December 21, 2018 is the winter solstice. The darkness will have it's final long laugh at us. Tomorrow--and each day on until this time next June--the light will begin to win a daily battle. Two minutes a day, that's what we get. It's not a lot, but it's these little tokens of light and life that accumulate in our pockets.

Before we know we will have a wealth of light that we don't know what to do with.

And then the coins start to fall though the holes in our pockets and we're back at even . . . if we're lucky.


There are people in my life right now who are experiencing great pain. With this gift of life sadness is inevitable. Every one of us feels it at some point. But I'm thinking of these people as I write this and I'm wishing I could do something to help. "Let me know if there is anything I can do" is such a strange group of words to write to somebody who is fighting an unfair battle.

But these are the things we say to try to connect.

These are the things we do because we have seen it done before.

We wake up in the morning on the same planet and we wonder where we are.

We turn to the left or right and reach for someone or something to share our dream with.

We feel the breath come into our lungs and exit like accidentally opening the door to a room full of people in a party we weren't part of.

We have moments of calm yet severe insight and understanding that we can only hope will stay within us somehow for longer than we know.

We strive to connect.

We fight to survive.

We wonder who will hold our hand someday--and just how many hands will hold ours and think "this will be the last one."

We think this is a gift to keep.

We know it is only on loan.

We close our eyes and drift away.

We wake up.

We begin again.

Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays to you all,