New Year, New Beginnings

Well I just finished watching the 2012 Ball Drop in Times Square, like I have every year.  A few things struck me as I watched.  This is the fifth year I’ve watched it at home, alone, streaming it on the internet, listening to my neighbors banging pots, yelling at the top of their lungs, shooting guns into the air, and fireworks; and I’ve concluded . . . this sucks.

I’m adding a bonus resolution that next year I’ll be somewhere festive. 

Okay, now that I have that pity party out of the way, a few thoughts on 2011.  First, thank God that’s over.  2011 will go down as one of the worst years for me personally, but also I suspect for a lot of people. 

So, an inventory of what happened to serve as a baseline for the next year. 

In the first half of 2011, I lost four childhood friends.  Two of them committed suicide within months of each other leaving behind wives and children as victims.  One died in an auto accident, also survived by a husband and child.  The last suffered a heart attack.  I also discovered early on last year, while researching my ancestry on, that my Grandfather and Great-Uncle had passed.  Now I am estranged from my family, for reasons surrounding my mother’s suicide, but I cannot comprehend why they would choose not to at the very least inform me of the passing of these two. 

So, 2011 became the “year of death” for me pretty early on.  It didn’t improve matters much when I suffered two cardiac episodes myself the latter half of the year, one of which was the roughest I had encountered to date.  I can still feel the phantom pain from that one from time to time.

All this death left me feeling pretty barren emotionally and my battle with depression took a stark turn last month.  I found myself grasping at anything that would give me cause to persevere.  Ultimately it came down to a last minute gesture of good will from friends and co-workers, a trip back home to share my experience as a victim of suicide and hopefully provide some comforting words, and just sheer will.

My freelance career all but vanished when several opportunities and contracts fell victim to the economy.  My day job had become increasingly more difficult as my role continued to be marginalized almost to the point of irrelevancy it seemed, and my twenty-five years worth of skill and knowledge seemed to be unrelatable and unnecessary in this new culture populated by a younger workforce with very different work ethic.

Throw all that into a pot with the same financial difficulties everyone else was experiencing, and having to eliminate luxuries such as television, internet and phone for a time, casual clothing, etc., and you can paint a picture of how bleak 2011 was for someone who suffers from depression, and is also a diagnosed workaholic.

Now, the year wasn’t all doom and gloom.  There were some positives like winning the freelance contract jobs in the first place.  Making new friends through social networking.  Participating in young indie artist Kim DiVine’s Kickstarter program for her new EP and Music Video.  That was pretty fun.  Getting a surprise Christmas Gift from my co-workers, and it being something I really wanted.  And being able to have a three day weekend over Christmas and return home to Pittsburgh, somewhere I haven’t been back to visit in a long time.

So, 2012 is here, and it didn’t get here fast enough.  I’ve taken the last several weeks to reflect, remember, and root-cause analyze where I am, how I got here, and where I’m going.   I can say that I feel positive about the new year, which I feel is due in part to renewed sense of spirituality, as well as in part to a feeling of “enough is enough”.  I feel that’s it’s going to be transformational, and that there will be some core changes.  I’ve had to give up on some dreams, scale back on some goals, and sacrifice some pleasures.  The pacing will be slower, and more measured.  I’ll be eliminating most distractions in the next couple of weeks, and focusing primarily on achieving a life change.

It all begins with this post.  The first blog post of the new year.  My first writing sample of the new year.  A cathartic expunging of the venomous events and emotions that strangled my self-esteem and self-worth last year.  Barring any tragic life events this coming year, I don’t expect there to be anymore posts of a Debbie-downer theme going forward.  I will track my progress moving forward, updating my keeping of the 2012 resolutions, sharing any successes I have, and hopefully fine-tuning my craft, wit, wisdom, and humor. 

I hope you come along for the ride, and comment often, and keep me honest.


One thought on “New Year, New Beginnings

  1. Chuck Swindoll’s take on attitude:

    The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

    Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company… a church… a home.

    The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past… we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude… I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

    And so it is with you… we are in charge of our attitudes.

    *Chuck Swindoll is a Christian and he gets this type of thought process from the Bible. The Bible is full of positive thinking. The verse that Paul stated, “I have learned that whatever state I am in, therewith to be content.” It’s a choice. LIfe is a ride and the choices that you make that drag you down are the only ones for which you can be responsible. The others are our opportunities to help the people it affected.

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