2011: Last Year of Chasing Cars

Moody as f*ck as I start the last day of the year, and I’m not sure why. Whatever: best to get it out on the page and shift the burden to the Interwebs and the twelve or so people on Facebook who read my blog (that means YOU, suckas!) rather than drag it into New Year’s Eve festivities.  That would be a bad way to end the year.

So, that being said, if you want to skip the venting that follows to the good stuff, simply scroll down to the header that’s highlighted in red.

It’s one of those fail-minded mornings.  You know what I’m talking about, the ones where you’re just grouchy and thinking of all the things you can’t do or just fail at.   While normally you can change your mood and learn to ignore the crapulence, on a fail-minded morning, you’re keenly aware that there’s a reason you’re feeling this way, and because you’re not a coward – unless you are – you’ll explore it before you turn away from it.  Bad moods are always trying to tell you something: if you’re self-aware enough, and I am, you can explore those messages before you cheer yourself up again.

And when that fail morning happens to be the last one of the year, you’ve got 365 days’ worth of things to pick at for answers.

Mind you, 2011, overall, was a damn good year compared to the last two, a year of many firsts. I can – and have – listed all of the firsts I’ve ever done that took place this year, and it fills a full 8.5 by 11 page.  It’s important to have “firsts”, otherwise life loses its zest, does it not?  To say I’ve been lucky is to underappreciate my own devotion to experiencing life as fully as possible.

But, as I said, this is a fail morning.  The good is not what I’m lookin’ at presently.

On my solo trip to California, for all of the awesomeness, I had a lot of unhappy moments, enough that I don’t think I’ll ever travel alone again.  In retrospect, before leaving for San Francisco and my drive down Highway 1,  I got the impression that one week away on my own away from the normalcy of my 9 to 5 office contract I was then working would somehow help me experience some kind of satori moment where all of my boundaries and fears and restrictions would magically vanish and I’d evolve into some kind of mythical superhero.  In other words, the solo traveller’s version of the fantasy that fighting couples have that a single vacation away will cure all of their problems.  Nuh-uh.  That stuff’s only good for second-rate novels and bad therapy.

Being alone in a strange place was supposed to enable me to be “anyone I wanted to be”, knowing that most of the people I’d meet, I would never see again. A few of my friends encouraged this, I think, with the mind that I could maybe pick up a girl or two.  And I think, had I been able to travel for longer than one week without worrying about getting reprimanded or fired for coming back late, it might have happened.

Travel does that, you see.  Takes you away from the people and places that made the version of you that originally got on that airplane. But one week isn’t enough to erase the Jody Aberdeen of old.  A month, maybe?  A year?  And I’m not nearly as desperate for validation as some guys I know to lie to a woman to win her favor. On the other hand, the truth isn’t nearly as attractive as it could be, so here we are.

I turned 31 this year.  When I was five years old – hell, when I was twenty-five – this was the time I was supposed to be, do, and have so much more than who I am, what I’m doing, and what I’ve got.  People have said I might be brain-damaged for not being content with just holding a boring job and just getting the stuff, but I’m confident that I’m just fine and that they’re the ones who’ve gone through the lobotomy for being so obsessed with material things, easy orgasms, bullshit work environments, and pharmaceutical interventions.  Maybe it’s time I made an appointment for my own brain surgery?  Not likely, I know: I’ve got too much self-respect for that.

One realization this year: I’ve made getting published such an overrarching goal that I can’t remember what I used to do for fun when I wasn’t writing.  That’s the risk of turning your hobby into your career: what do you do for fun when your fun becomes your work?

Prior to my single life, I used to cook almost every day.  I would paint – mostly landscapes, but with acrylics on canvas mounted on an actual easel, all fancy-like.  I would sing to music.  I would practice basic notes on my ex-wife’s guitar and learn the chords for songs I loved.  I would travel.  I would grow plants.

After my divorce, I’d play volleyball or floor hockey or baseball, but for the most part, those other hobbies fell by the wayside.   How little of that do I now do.  It’s all too easy to lose yourself in the process of achieving one singular goal.  Like Roland Deschain, the Tower becomes everything, and you can lose your humanity along the way, or worse, find yourself starting all over again.  It’s no surprise why my best inspiration for my work comes when I’m doing anything but sitting on the computer, when I’m out experiencing life.  Trouble is, that experience isn’t making any money.

I had my plans this past year, as in previous years, but most of them didn’t stick.  If there’s one movie quote that sums up the common factor of all the failings and flaws of Jody Aberdeen in 2011, it’s this one.

That’s the thing with fail mornings: they usually involve a lot of pointless venting. But I think I’m done for this particular fail morning.  Moving on.

2012: The End of All Things?  Or the Beginning?

As I’ve written before, I don’t really think anything’s going to happen to the world in 2012.  The human race will continue to chug along as it has, facing the usual onslaught of disasters it’s gotten used to over the past however many thousands of years it’s been around.

So, assuming we’re all going to be around, we can plan.  We can resolve.  We can hope.

If you think that last sentence sounds a little like Barack Obama, I don’t blame you.

Actually, let’s talk about Obama and this notion of hope.  I like him, don’t get me wrong, but politically, he may not be around for a second term.  Much of the optimism we all felt back in 2008 is gone, his inspiring words now equated with empty rhetoric as his decisions have not, overall, kept in lock-step with his speeches.  Reality set in not long after that historic win, as it does for most U.S presidents, only this man had so many of us believing…

That’s the trouble with resolutions.  Hope is good, but it all too often turns to false hope. Things will happen to derail your best-laid plans.  That’s been my life script of the past two years, anyway.  I’m tired of always “starting over”, like a computer with a boot virus that just keeps resetting itself, over and over again.  I want a re-start that will just stick, already.

As such, all I can do with any rational certainty is hope that this time in 2012, I’ll have made the following happen (in no order):

  • Gotten published.  I’m most confident of this one.  In fact, I can’t even tell you how frakking excited I am about it!
  • Found another career I enjoy outside of novel-writing, that pays my bills.
  • Moved back out on my own. I’m getting too comfortable here, but it makes financial sense to stay until I figure out the previous two.
  • Start giving back to the world, and helping those in need.
  • Traveled to Paris on a foodie tour.  I have no idea how yet, but it’s time I went.  I’ve never gone to a place specifically for the food: I’d love to see what it’s like (and hopefully come back ten pounds heavier).
  • Started a new relationship with my soulmate.

I’ll end it there, since these are the ones that matter, and it leaves more than enough room for pleasant surprises.  The first three months of the year, as I’ve said, I’m using to make a few changes, but I’ve gotten a head start.

My more complicated plans may tend to fail, but I can ensure one thing. Like 2011, 2012 will be a great year because I’ll decide it to be, in advance. As such, it won’t be the end of all things, but the next great beginning.  I’m aiming to make 2011 the last year that I spend just chasing cars for no reason.

Until then, here’s my new audio drug: DJ Mashup’s 2011 United State of Pop Mix, “World Go Boom”.  Happy New Year, however you’re spending it!

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