Two and Still Counting

Well, I sort of don’t believe that I made it to two, having hit one so many times before. But, here it is. When I started drafting this yesterday, I was of a far different mood than I am presently. But, I want to be true to what was real yesterday (absolute gratitude) because it still is true today, if rather masked by depression. Which sucks, but no one ever said that life got easy in sobriety, either. I’m weaving the two days together–I hope somewhat seamlessly.

So, if I may quote Volbeat in passing:

Counting all the assholes in the room
Well I´m definitely not alone, well I´m not alone

And that is perhaps the best thing about 2–the realization and recognition that I am not alone. Kind of beautiful.

The year has not been an easy one, certainly. It was filled with a great many troubles that I NEVER imagined, and more than a few that I suspected, but was a little dismayed and surprised to have them show up now. These revelations included major depression (not mine, but someone I dearly love), a radical and still-coming transition at work (including a campus move for me–ah, change. I handle that so well), more therapy and therapists than you can shake a stick at, and twin diagnoses (mine) of chronic fatigue (no surprise) and bipolar II (not a surprise, either, exactly, but I’m still working on that whole acceptance thing). And, on the upside, I am grateful beyond measure to all the people who reached out to me or who were there when I reached out through all of the above.

I am not alone, even when I feel like I am.

I was, for the most part, a solitary drinker. Social drinking ended for me at approximately my first drink, which, if my mother is to be believed, happened when I was about 6 months old. Thereafter I demanded–by her telling–demanded wine every time she had any. Mine! I was solitary in most adventures, and that remains true in many cases now, but not as much as before. Even when I venture off alone.

I am not alone anymore, even when I set off that way.

I traveled this year, rather more than I imagined I would (and all the more surprisingly, given the events of the year). Flew to such far flung places as a casino in Connecticut, an old airfield in New Jersey, to home in Virginia Beach, to a teen dream-come-true in Cleveland, and to a beach in Ireland. Several of these adventures saw me flying by myself. But, in Atlantic City, I met an elderly Irish man who was convinced I used to come to that restaurant all the time, a young woman who gave me an A7X bracelet because she saw my Matt-bat tattoo, and scores of folks who asked about the shiner I’d acquired at that casino during an Avenged show. In Cleveland, I celebrated Guns N’ Roses with some of my favorite people, and managed to thwart the (other) GNR fans lined up outside the hotel by leaving the van running and piling in the signed posters with as much dignity as Janean and I are capable of possessing (which is a fair amount, it turns out). In Virginia Beach, I ran what may turn out to be the worst and last half-marathon of my life, but I enjoyed every second of it. In Ireland, I got to visit a site I’d long intended to see–and, what’s more–unknowingly selected a hotel that was in sight of it.

Not the day I put my feet in the North Atlantic.

Not the day I put my feet in the North Atlantic.

I also got to put my bare feet in the North Atlantic, which amuses me more that I probably should admit.

Not alone, even in the struggles.

Work constituted a major part of my year–as we prepared for the consolidation of the institution with another. It came as a shock to most of us that we even had to do it, and I think the work-level in preparation for it came as a shock continually throughout the year. But, we were together in it, and we will forge the new togethers. One day at a time. The impending changes did force me to kickstart productive research again (that’s a positive), and I find myself composing a paper on punk, nostalgia, and anxiety. Sort of oddly fun. Academics are weird.

So, that’s it. A year in brief. Here’s to another day and another series of days that may bring us to another year. My thanks to you all for traveling these roads with me.

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