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This is a very personal post about very personal things. If you can find a lesson in my example to benefit you, then so much the better.

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.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 11th, 2010 12:07 am (UTC)
A belated Happy Birthday!
Oct. 11th, 2010 12:12 am (UTC)
Thank you!
Oct. 11th, 2010 01:13 am (UTC)
Happy birthday!
Oct. 11th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
Thank you!
(Deleted comment)
Oct. 11th, 2010 03:39 am (UTC)
Hm. Not an easy task. I will offer you several options; some of them are oldies but goodies, some not so old. I am appalled, by the way, that there's nothing by Bruce Catton or Samuel Eliot Morison in the Kindle Store. :(

Having said that, some options for you:
American Caesar

Hell In A Very Small Place

This Kind of War

To Lose a Battle

I'd like to recommend Horne's The Price of Glory as well, but unfortunately there's no Kindle edition yet.

Finally, This Time We Win.
Happy reading!

Oct. 11th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday, Happy Decade, and Happy Future!

a few comments if I may be permitted:

AD - this was not a mistake - if I read your text right, it seems to have lifted some of the depression and in fact given you another reason to live - to say "yeah but I should have been working on the degree" ignores that you were likely unable to work on the degree - depressed and broken and fucked up, is not way to go through life (ok, animal house sort of) and it is not a way to get a degree..... AD gave you what you needed to survive. Your brain was not working but the basic survival instincts were.

Your Enemy - you come from a tradition of direct and straightforward enemies - this is not one of those. I can tell you with certainty that I would not encourage hatred, confrontation, or engagement at all with this one - YOU Sir, have moved on. Let that one have the old you, broken and sick, confused and slow. Aren't you dead yet? Why yes, you are dead. That one of you is dead. Dead, gone, done. Let the enemy have that one, the flesh and bones, and the spirit and the soul. Gone and empty and done. Not even redeemable for a nickel. An empty triumph for Your Enemy.

Your Future - solid and honorable, fun and enjoyable, a father and a brother, free to make of yourself what you can and what you will, surrounded by friends, and people who care about you and your soul. Yep, a big change there brother, and while a lot of people played supporting roles, if YOU don't get up and DO IT then it does not get done. So well done, and here is wishing for a great decade for the Wombat - not dead yet? Oh no baby, so so SO not dead! Hammer!


Oct. 11th, 2010 07:19 pm (UTC)
AD: You may be right that my gut was pointing me in the right direction while my head was too full of mud to choose correctly, and looking back at my abortive teaching degree work, it does seem that there was some self-sabotage going on there. On balance, it was a good thing, and no permanent damage was done.

The enemy: I don't brood over it as much as this post might suggest, and certainly have no interest in dealing with that person again. For that matter, our worlds have separated widely enough that I don't expect to see it again, even on occasional trips to the "Brainpower State" that I might make in the future.

The future: One billion-volt limitless future, coming up! :)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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