First post in the new year and unlike every year I can remember, this one actually feels like it means something. I know that this year will only hold better things than the past year has, and if somehow it sucks even more, I’ll be better prepared to cope with it.
Dec 31st – New Year’s Eve. I still hadn’t landed on plans for the night. Everyone I had spoken to either had a wedding, was doing something small with family or friends I didn’t know, or watching football and calling it an early night. I was wondering if I would end up going to Village Tavern on my own for NYE which would have been ok, but a little lonely.
Luckily, Doreen was having a family dinner and Rach invited me to come out with her, Matt and Brit afterwards. Dinner was good, but my family was gossiping and I was pretty annoyed by it so I was happy when it was time to leave. The boys still keep calling me Hotdog Mark, which I’m actually kind of fond of, and on my way out Eve have me a good hug and kiss and asked if she would see me again soon, like tomorrow soon.
After some communication issues, I found Rach and Matt at a cocktail bar and had a nice highball with some spicy liquor called Ancho Reyes I think. I’m going to have to pick some of that up. Brit and Tommy joined up and we went to a couple other places until Brit was in a grumpy mood and they left before midnight.
Midnight struck at Mr. Pitiful’s. I’m pretty sure Rachel hated the place but I was happy to meet up with some old random friends from highschool after bumping into Jimmy Huff at an earlier bar. I had 4-5 drinks there alone since Carrie knew the bartender AND Matt and Rach bought me drinks simultaneously. That was why the very end of the night is gone.
I do remember on the drive home talking to Matt (with Rachel there) about how good of a position I’m in, even though I’m in a weird place right now, having paid off all debt quickly, saving up, and getting a grad-school education that would give me relative security and hire-ability so to speak for life. He also shared that a big part of the fear that he has about marrying my sister and starting a family is that he feels without a formal college education that his entire fate rests with AK. I tried to talk to him about what I learned about a successful family from watching Andrew’s family, and about the talents I see in him and he’s proven that could get him respectable work at other places. He has an excessive relationship with never feeling like he’s made sufficient gains and positioned himself financially to move on. Like me, he perpetually feels like he can’t afford to do what he wants because he feels that he can’t afford it yet. I wish I could help him, but I don’t know exactly how to.
Jan 1st – New Year’s Day. A slow morning with a tolerable hangover. After some lovin’ on the pups I spent a solid 45 minutes instead of the max recommended 30 in the infrared sauna. That little thing is amazing and I’d like to have one someday. After being in there so long I might have made my hangover even worse because I thought I might throw up shortly after getting out. After taking a breath and drinking some water I spent a little time in the tanning bed too. Once I showered and ate some mac and cheese, we went to go pick up my car from OTR.
That day/evening might have been going through all my old stuff that was still in the house and deciding what I wanted to keep with me, leave to stay here, or could just be donated or trashed. A couple items were cameras which I thought to pull the SD card out of and import the photos I wanted to keep onto my computer. This got me thinking about getting my personal photo library in order and consolidating the photos on my phone and computer. Eventually I caved to paying a measly $.99 a month to jump from 2 to 50 gb on icloud. I still haven’t completed the process of consolidating.
Jan 2nd – In the morning, Mom had noticed that our neighbor’s ~70y/o parents were moving their furniture out all alone. By the time I got out there, I only helped them with the very last thing and didn’t realize that they’d also need help at the dumpster. Later when I took some garbage out, I noticed that they actually left a nice huge mirror and some solid end tables out so I grabbed them.
In order to make room for them in the basement, Mom asked me to help clear out some room in the basement. Once I got started and realized how much stuff that needed throwing out I just didn’t stop. We went through all the drawers of furniture, saved different memories and threw out really old junk. Every once in a while we’d find a little treasure or cache of photos and I’d put them aside to go through all of them later. From Grandma and Grandpa I found and will be taking Grandpa’s awesome flask, some very retro pieces of china, a cocktail dish, and a big ceramic virgin Mary. When she’d complain about how another area or box needed to be cleaned up “sometime,” I just went through each item and asked her if she ever used it anymore or thought she would. eventually we went through the entire basement except for her home improvement supply shelf, and her laundry area.
Once we finished with her stuff in the basement, I gathered up all the disparate boxes of photographs and went through every. single. photo. One box was literally completely full of photos with about maybe 70 sleeves containing a roll of film worth of photos. I spent a couple hours pulling out any photo that I was in from birth through highscool. It wasn’t that I didn’t like or care about the ones that didn’t include me, I just thought that if I was going to try to digitize these somehow, that was one way to try to make the volume more manageable, I wasn’t sure how much data they all represented for storage, and additionally thought it would be a nice personal project to see a larger perspective on my life, how much I’ve done, and where there is evidence that I have been. I now have 6 bags of anywhere from 50-100 photos in them to figure out what to do with next.
It was a bit much to see so much of my life in such a short period of time, to see how I was acting in photos at different ages, how I changed. I think I could really see the insecurity hit me in the photos from Chicago after how happy I was as a kid in Indianapolis and before. I think the reason there were also not a lot of photos from the first couple years in Fairfield was partially that I wasn’t very happy or getting out very much with the few friends I was slow to make. I need to own my past that I struggled to make friends and was self-conscious of it, and be secure that’s not who I am or will be now.
Something else made me feel anxious in a way that I wasn’t really sure what it was for a while. I now think it might have been two things happening at once. Maybe seeing some of the times in life when I knew I was struggling, unhappy, and insecure made me entertain the idea that’s who I really am and always will be. The other thing was that I think seeing my father in photos at my age and recognizing some things that I’ve inherited from him made me afraid that I am everything that I dislike about him, and that everyone else sees me the way I see him.
That night, I tried to unwind from the surprisingly taxing day by working on my Spotify playlists.
Jan 3rd – Finally caught up to today. Woo. Got another slow start today, but I started thinking about how to set myself up to really use the tools at my disposal to get the ball rolling on practical tasks and feel good about it instead of feeling disorganized and tricking myself into feeling good but in truth completely misspending my time.
After some more fiddling and fussing with Trello and some other apps, I think I made some progress on starting to form a system that will work for me. In the past I think I’ve been so caught up in working a certain way, the right way, the standard way, the way ‘everyone else’ does. That made everything harder than working to understand, appreciate, and use the way that I uniquely work best to my own advantage. Something I should have learned from Lepsch long ago but only minimally recognized in him instead of me.
Today alone, the changes I made to my method helped me to identify and coordinate completing 6 errands this evening I would have forgot about on my own in one trip. It’s even helped me to capture and find a useful place to note things I’ve been thinking about but keep forgetting, and completely new ideas right away I was conscious enough to immediately put into a system that I feel is promising enough to put some trust in.
I downloaded a few apps again that I hadn’t yet to keep me in touch with people better which did restart several good conversations.
I’ve also tried to challenge myself to trust and honor my calendar more by taking a new philosophy that if I miss something, I don’t put everything else off to complete it unless it’s critical and urgent. If I miss something, I will still do what my calendar has planned now and use my next availability to complete what I missed. These intentions are also part of why I committed to getting caught back up on journaling tonight, although it’s taking longer than scheduled.