07 January 2010

so this is the new year...

This year is starting off slowly so far, but with promise. I know so many people who are down on O Nine that it has caused me to stop and think about the past year in a slightly new way. I am not sure I would ever wish it away so callously myself though.

First off, I found myself single again this last year. I am not new to being a bachelor, but I wasn't really expecting it or prepared to know how to rejoin the ranks of the thousands of lonely people in the city of destiny once more. So it took some adjusting, but at year end I think I can finally say that I am happy being single and maybe for the first time ever. Maybe I didn't fully appreciate my freedom when I didn't know anything else--maybe I always took for granted that I could do whatever I wanted and failed to ever want anything right and proper.

So I'm not really angry about being left behind. I suspect we would have grown apart eventually any way so I can't blame her if she was able to figure this out ahead of me. I've been there before myself, knowing I couldn't continue with someone long before they were able to reach that place themselves and it stifles you. You start to feel trapped between your desire to be free to go after whatever you please and not wanting to fail or disappoint, but eventually you must accept that you cannot avoid it.

I made a new friend in O Nine, and then he shot himself a few months later. The Deets as I call them are not completely known to me, but we were out drinking with friends and I couldn't get him to use me as a safety net that night. Then I got the shocking phone call from another friend late the next afternoon that he had died. I still think it was an accident where the alcohol was a factor. I just don't see him as having been suicidal, even that particular night. Still, I hope it is a reminder to us all that life is a gift and we must cherish all of it, even the times that challenge us to hold onto ourselves. I suppose a tragedy like this might make me wonder if it was worth it to get close to someone just before they died, but what I take away from this is that if becoming his friend was always meant to be a risky thing, I should take more such risks! I don't think friends are ever in surplus and really getting to know people is always worth it, even when it costs you something.

Since Ian's passing several of his long time friends have been gracious enough to keep in touch with me. I am really grateful that they continue to think of me. I never think of myself as the easiest person to get along with, so the fact that they genuinely care about me is another gift of O Nine I wouldn't want to easily dismiss. I will admit it is hard to be around them because it just reinforces the notion that he should be there too. It feels that way to me at least, so I know it must feel that way to them. Still, without them I would be driving myself up the wall so I think I can deal with the occasional awkwardness that comes with it all just fine.

The revelation of being with them is learning more about the person I barely knew, the person I thought was so different from myself and through them, finding out that maybe we had a lot more in common than I ever thought before, whether it be the dark, dry sense of humor or an appreciation for good blues music. Maybe the thing we had most in common was that we just liked lots of different kinds of people, whether they be obviously amiable or more subtly so. There are just so many different kinds of people out there with something to offer that might take you by surprise. Take a minute out of your day to talk to someone new and wait to be knocked over by something you couldn't possibly expect.

One of the challenges of O Nine was being continuously asked by my employer to bend more and more all year long. I started the year finally being given the opportunity to leave night shift by taking a split shift, half day/half swing if you will. It didn't sound perfect, getting off work at nearly 8 pm isn't my notion of ideal long term, but as much as I don't have kids yet, it is at least a move toward normalcy. Then someone suddenly we were short somewhere else and I was shifted over to cover which meant I worked later than I was supposed to almost all year as well as getting fewer hours and gradually losing the vacation time I had just started building up.

Still, while taking half of my days (and by days I really mean evenings) more away from me than I would like, it did leave me entirely free the rest of them. So I started getting out more. I caught some ball games, some live music, and a few other things I find interesting or amusing. In this sense O Nine finally brought me a little free time and fun. I've had free time before--it was called unemployment though and it stunk because I was always broke! It's nice to have free time when you are still getting paid!

So I got out. I did it. At various times this year I have felt more myself than I have ever felt in my life. I suppose you could say I felt closer to my purpose, but I'm not one of those weirdo's that goes around speaking of a purpose for life aside from the one you make for yourself. Still, you know when you are living your life as you believe you should and when you are faking it. Looking back on the last ten years I can say that there were always moments when I've felt connected to my passions, but still in the larger sense still disconnected--sort of like seeing, feeling, but not fully immersed.

It gets really complicated to explain it more than that. I wouldn't say I'm fully immersed in self even now. I know I could do so much more, but I feel like I'm heading in the right direction. I'm making the kinds of connections I want to make with the right people. It's more organic than before. The most amusing part for me though is that these things seem to be coming together for me at a time where I felt so helpless and lost, almost as if I couldn't control anything about my life at all.

I think what it comes down to is that I've completely surrendered any notion of trying to do life by anyone else's expectations or standards of measure. I no longer feel that I need the structure of organized religion or even the randomness of disorganized religion in my life. Maybe I'm just talking gibberish here, so I'll move on...

I found myself miserably ill at year end, but I did force myself to attend a party, where in the middle of my cough-syrup-and-vodka induced haze I came to the realization that everyone I knew at this party I had met in O Nine. The point is I feel pretty good about O Nine and that makes me feel even better about One O. Sure a friend and I were discussing the finer aspects of being a LG in the C; my observation being that it might be hard to let myself get caught up in a new relationship given it sometimes feels like my instruments are all needing recalibration, but I'm foolishly optimistic nevertheless. Who needs to know how everything ends before they enjoy the beginning anyway?

So this one took a little longer to write than I thought. So much else to do before I visit the sandman!