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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Thoughts of 2014 and What's Next

2014 is just about behind us and it has been an amazing year - one filled with changes, adventures and even a Seahawks Super Bowl victory.  The challenges for me have been obvious and I haven't been too terribly shy about sharing them in a very public forum.  Battles with depression, wrestling the demons that whisper in my ear telling me  it's time to jump off a bridge, and even the incessant physical pain have followed me everywhere I go and I've shared them with you.  It sounds rather morose, I know, but there is a bright side to it all, a respite in the midst of the chaos that exists in my mind that you all have helped me reach.

What have I learned in 2014?

Time Is Precious
This year, as well as most recently, the doc gave me less than happy news.  There was stabilization in my primary diagnosis, but the pain has not ceased and now, I've developed other symptoms, other problems.  Nevertheless, I march on smartly.  Time is precious.  I know a lot of people who live their lives with anger, frustration and an innate desire for revenge for the times they believed themselves to be wronged, often overlooking the fact that they too have plenty to deal with inside their hearts.  Again, every minute of our lives is precious.  I've learned in 2014 how important loved ones truly are, how much friends really mean and whether the doc is right or I overcome, I'm going to live every second of every day as though it were my last.

Peace Through Strength
When Ronald Reagan was president, I remember the slogan, "peace through strength."  I believe that is true in our own lives.  In order to have peace, we have to have enough strength to weather the storm of difficult times.  Spiritually, we are to lay down our lives - to see the death of self so that we may live for others through Him.  I know this to be true spiritually, but let me tell you, it's hard to live out in practice.  There will always be men and women who see weakness, your vulnerability as an opportunity to tear you to shreds emotionally and otherwise.  Even in light of this danger, it's important to remember that you are in control, not them.  Your weakness IS your strength because it is uniquely you and no one can own that but you.  You will grow to be stronger, and there you'll find true peace.

Don't Water A Dead Plant (Or A Poisonous One)
Water is life-giving.  Without water, we die - and we will die much faster without water than we will without food.  Water changes things; it cleanses us from filth, it nourishes our bodies, and it is used for the sacrament of baptism.  When a plant is dead, no amount of water can revive that plant.  To try to do so is an effort in futility.

Doing What You Don't Believe You Can
I never imagined that I would be where I am right now.  Back in the day, I thought my life would be much more ordered and packaged in a nice little box with a pretty bow around it.  That just didn't happen and as time progressed, things got harder and harder due to some of my really dumb ass life choices.  We all pay the price for our choices and that pain and struggle often convinces us that there is nowhere to turn, no hope for the future.  Some days, I don't believe I can continue - that the universe would be better off were I not in it and all my meds cry out to me to be consumed and to drift off into the abyss.  But it's at that moment that somehow, I do what I didn't believe I could.  I push through it and I live.  I breathe.  I flourish in the midst of turmoil.  I do it because I have plenty to live for and the time I have left is precious and I'm not going to allow any demon on this planet to take that from me - I've lost too much time already trying to be that which I am not.

You Don't Live There Any Longer
There are aspects of our past, I have learned, that just don't need to be revisited.  2014 brought forth some horrifying revelations about my family, and they forced me to do a serious inventory about what comprises the totality of me.  Many of them were built on a faulty foundation to begin with.  I've had to remind myself that I don't live in that place any longer.  That past, that history is no longer who I am and I can't and won't let if have power over me.  Learning about and understanding history is critically important, yet it isn't the sum total of who I am - those moments of joy and the times of turmoil are lessons from which to be learned. The harsh realities of time gone by is like that of an abandoned house.  Visiting it once in a while is entertaining, a worth while effort.  But over time, it decays and becomes something far less beautiful than it was - our minds, of course, romanticize it, hold it up in higher regard than we should. 

Happy Happy Joy Joy
It's funny...I really have spent far too much of my life trying to please others of trying to adjust my life according to whether or not someone in my life is happy or going to be upset.  Many would argue that I'm a selfish dick, and circumstantially, they would be completely correct.  Yet, when I look closely at my decisions - particularly where relationships are concerned, I've not truly followed my heart and pursued happiness.  Real happiness.  Hell, at my age, I question whether it's even attainable - but I'm not going to stop trying.

There is so much more that I've learned, and I've included them in a book I'm working on, but hopefully, you can see the struggle and the victory therein.

What's next in 2015?

Music Lover
I've been involved in music since I was 9 years old and it's something that is hard wired in my DNA.  I may fail at relationships, fail at my ability to communicate, but I love music and my goal is to complete the work we started with Mean Machine and Lord willing, even complete the two originals I've been working on. 

Spiritual Journey
I believe that 2015 will be a year of spiritual exploration.  I know what my faith entails, the creeds of which I believe and affirm, but I think I'm going to try and take it to a new level.  I've had my fair share of judgmental douchebaggery, it's time for some eye-opening experiences free from condescension. 

No Apologies
Everyone has their skeletons tucked away, hidden in a safe, nice little place where they can hardly be found.  Many of mine have been resurrected and to be honest, I've made an effort to come to grips with them and understand them.  I can't apologize for who I am.  I am 50 years old and wholesale changes to my personality just isn't going to happen without divine intervention - and I don't see that happening any time soon.  I'll be much more candid with my loved ones, sharing information that may be painful to hear but candid nonetheless.  We need more reality and a whole lot less posturing.

Family Affair
My family in Virginia, family in Washington state...I have my issues with them, but I think the time has come for that reunion I've been talking and dreaming about.  I'll be heading back to Seattle at some point in 2015 and it will be a particularly wonderful experience.

More than likely, most of what I've typed here will mean little to many of you.  Maybe there are a couple out there who can understand this duality in which we exist.  It's true that for a whole bunch of us, merely getting out of bed is a struggle.  But we do, we keep after it.  And then, someone challenges us at the right moment and the perfect storm is created.  Then, we all get a taste of the true nature of who we are.

Until next time...enjoy.