Ten years ago, in 2000, I was having what arguably was the worst year of my life. Physically, I was in poor shape; I was losing the battle with my body and failing to control my diabetes or my weight. Mentally, I felt slow and stupid and inept; emotionally, I had gone from the high of my second honeymoon in the Dominican to the purgatorial depths of my separation. The death of my father in December was merely the cherry on top of the shit sundae that was the year 2000.
The next decade was a struggle, and one which I didn't think I was doing very well in. The weight continued to increase, the diabetes got worse, and I began having problems with my legs; towards the end of my stay in Minnesota, I was having increasingly frequent systemic infections, and my friends were uncertain about my chances of escaping to Washington alive. Work was a struggle. Life was a struggle. I felt like a failure at work and at home, and that depression didn't really let up until 2003, when I began working on Anime Detour. In retrospect, AD was a mistake for me personally; while I made thousands of people happy (and really pissed off about a dozen others) it took time away from the graduate degree I should have been working on and aggravated my health problems. I regret nothing; the AD experience united me with some awesome people who I am still proud (and yet humbled) to call my friends, and gave me experiences I would never have had otherwise. It confirmed my belief that I still had the chops to organize and lead people, and get things done. It may have given me the emotional and spiritual push I needed to start moving on my own Drang Nach Osten, the move back to Washington for a new start in an old town.
The move didn't solve all my problems, of course. I was still depressed, still not managing my health well, and the unstable job situation wasn't helping. However, I was now a lot closer to friends and family who could help me, and this year they gave me the best gift I could have ever asked for: they helped me realign my headspace and get my head right. It's a process, not an event, but overall, I weigh less than I have in decades, I am thinking with more clarity and focus than I have had in decades, and my emotional state is mostly positive. I am getting things done and moving forward in life toward a number of goals, and I will not be stopped.
Cobb's Rule #8 is that an enemy is someone who doesn't mind if you fail; being Catholic, I prefer to see intent and not just apathy before pasting that label on somebody, but having said that, I am aware that I have an enemy. Someone who rejoiced in my misery, took pleasure when I stumbled and fell, smiled when I was in pain, and wondered aloud how it was that I wasn't dead yet. I have been encouraged to stoke my hate against my enemy and use that as a motivator, and while the idea has its attractions, I find it less effort and less likely to damage me if I say to this person (since I know it reads my LJ): I won. I will continue to win, and the knowledge that this frustrates and annoys you is the whipped cream on top of the low-carb ice cream sundae. :D
One of yesterday's many high points was a call from jtrainor. We talked about a lot of stuff, and I am glad to hear that he's moving forward with his plans to attend MCTC this coming spring and turn his random knowledge of the hard and the soft into solid credentials and eventually a job in the IT field. He says I am proof that it's never too late to go back to college, and he's right, but while he sees the tree clearly he loses sight of the forest: the larger truth that it's never too late to start over. This is America, the land of the do-over, the fresh start, the phoenix that dies only to rise again. It's important not to forget that. As for me, I will continue to move forward, react, adapt, overcome, and do the things I do well for fun and profit. I expect to look back on 2010 as the start of a great decade, and look forward to enjoying the hell out of the ride.