Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Does it Almost Feel Like You've Been Here Before?

It's the New Year once again. It seems the experience is always the same, granted with different circumstances. We look back and dub the last 365 days the best or the worst ever (and occasionally somewhere in between). Bloggers blog, hack writers who occasionally write make sure to write on this day (See: This post), we all promise the next 365 days will be better than the last. Sometimes we're right. I like to try to eschew the norm, but inevitably end up doing the same as everyone else. Last year, I decided on January 1 that I would commit myself to the gym and change the way my body looked and felt, but refused to call it a resolution. It may be the first resolution I've ever kept. I remember writing the 12/13 version of this post last year. I thought I was reviewing the roughest year I had ever had. I was right. However, what I didn't know was that 2012 would be quickly and definitively supplanted as the most challenging year I've had.

I was left to my own devices
Many days fell away with nothing to show

And the walls came tumbling down
In the city that we loved
Grey clouds roll over the hills
Bringing darkness from above

January began with me emotionally distraught. For one of the first times in my life, I was taking sick days as "mental health days." When I stay moving, it facilitates distraction and growth for me typically. I was thankful that by the middle of the month I was headed down to Haiti to spend time with friends and colleagues. At some point during my trip, I got word from my dad that my mother had been rushed out to Ohio State by some friends in the middle of the night. She had been coping with extreme abdominal pains and they had finally grown unbearable. At this point in time, it was pretty standard affair for my mother to head to Ohio State for unexpected treatment. This time felt simultaneously the same and very, very different. I pulled a good friend and colleague aside and we prayed together. I remember him asking if there was any reason to be particularly concerned this time around. My response is seared in my memory. I told him there was no evidence that we should be more concerned than usual, but it was simply the law of averages that dictated in my mind that each time she went, there was an increasing likelihood that she would not come home. Within days of my return home from Haiti, I headed out to Ohio State. The stated reason I stayed in Columbus with my mom was because I would rent a car and bring her home when her treatment was over. There was also a big part of me that was worried something terrible would happen and I didn't want my mother to be left alone when it did. 12 days after I arrived in Columbus, my mother passed away. The following days and weeks felt like I was living someone else's life. It's not really possible to understand that a loved one is gone in a brief period of time. We were scrambling to put together a service and get a handle on how we felt. We were surrounded by friends and family. My three best west coast friends flew out to see and support me. Soon after, I was filling up my life with adventure and stuff. I bought new suits, shoes, a jacket and tent and numerous other toys and made trips to Peru, Africa, Germany and a few spots in the US. I took a new position at HOPE. I still felt like myself. I was just a really sad version of me. I felt deeply disappointed and like my family and I were getting kicked around, but my constitution and convictions remained. This time wasn't the worst this year would have to offer.

Time went on. I felt very much on my own. Living at home served as a constant reminder of my new reality. One I didn't really care for. I felt I had spent the preceding 2-3 years building myself into the man I wanted to be and building my life into the one I wanted. I had based that man and life on my faith and constitution and yet they seemed to be crumbling away. I found myself living a different life than the one I wanted. One that I had lived before and fought to make different.

The year's gotten harder. As I get ready for a big, exciting move I've been prone to isolate myself from my loved ones. I was supposed to leave tomorrow, but in the past two weeks, my car has been in the shop twice, I've broken my phone, fallen off my motorcycle (at a very slow speed, Carla took the worst of it) and been very sick for about a week. 

I think part of the reason my non-resolution worked so well last year is because I only made one. It took priority over nearly everything. Whenever it was a question of the the gym vs. something, the gym always won out, unless the other something was a something of extreme importance. This year, my singular goal is to be a finisher. I've been the kind of guy who can get things started, get stoked and get others excited with me. But I'm a sprinter. I have a hard time sticking with things for the long haul. I hope to change that. I've got a lot to rebuild and some new projects on the horizon (I've been kicking around trying my hand at a novel!?) and my hope is that I won't quit till the job is done, no matter what it is.

Oh were do we begin?
The rubble or our sins?

Happy New Year.