2016 was a quite the year. Parts genuinely monstrous and overwhelming (the election being decisively on this end, still stressing me out to this day), others nearly rapturous and joyful. As I sit here and log into the blog for the first time in nearly twelve months, I’m thinking through what exactly the last year was for me. It, honestly, was a hard one for me to pin down. Some of my happiest moments in the last decade happened in the last twelve months, along with some of the most heartrending. It’s amazing that both ends of the spectrum can be felt such an acute way that it seems like everything can be one feeling or the other for a short time. Still, it deserves to be charted out, at least to remind myself of what I’ve been through in the last year and remind myself what I need and want to do with the year to come.
The year started me off in a mood that I couldn’t really quite shake. It wasn’t entirely dour, but it was something akin to it, though to a minor degree. Something just wasn’t clicking for me emotionally. I was having a good time with someone I was in a long-distance relationship with, but partway into the year I ended it. I won’t pretend it was easy. It was a hard call for me to make, and I loathed that I had to do it. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, and in this instance, I was hurting someone I had become incredibly close to. I still have times, which may partially be anxiety jabbing me in the head with past hard situations, where I think back to the call. I can remember most of the words. I can remember the feeling in the pit of my stomach when I said them. I hurt her when I ended that, and I can’t deny that. It hurt me, too, but likely not to the level she felt. We didn’t talk for a while after that, but after a couple of months, we did. We’re still friends, which is kind of nice to say. The person is spectacular, even still, and she’s been doing some great things on her own in the time since. I still talk to her when I can, though with as busy as we’ve both become, it’s not terribly much anymore. I’m still glad when we get to talk.
During this time, the worries began over what was going on with my living situation as well. Those of you who know me personally know I was in a shit situation, to put it lightly. My roommate wasn’t good, her choice in partner wasn’t good, either. I had already been planning on moving, and had started saving up for a move not long into the new year. It wasn’t easy, especially as we ended up with one of the slowest seasons we’ve had at my job since we all started. I was making progress, and was about two months out from moving in to a place proper with two of my friends when the roommate forced the axe to come down and got us evicted from the apartment. I flew into a tailspin for a little while, having less than a week to make plans for somewhere to stay while I worked on getting into a new place. Due to some supreme generosity of some friends (whom I’ll never be able to repay), I had places to stay for two and a half weeks. In that time, I found a listing close to work where I could sublease until the next set of moves were ready in a couple months time. I made it there, and while not perfect, it was a good space for me, even with the damnable summer bike rides up long slopes. My friends and I went hunting for our new place and ended up landing on a place in the complex where one of them lived. Two of us had to get a three month lease to cover the period where they were working on the duplex. Apparently the previous tenants had just utterly destroyed it. The last morning I had to finish my cross-town move to the apartment, that is when I got horrible news.
A friend of mine at work, though I can’t claim to be as close to him as others were, had passed away in an accident the night before. I was going to be going into an early shift at work and then trying to get out as fast as possible to get the last of my things out of the room I had been staying in. That changed. Work shut down, and while I still had to be out of the place by the end of that day, I went to no fewer than two meet ups with my friends from work. We all hurt. We were all devastated and were there for each other, leading to a late night hastily planned wake with tears, beer and lots of yelling. At my job, a lot of us had brought up a feeling of kinship, of family, with nearly all the folks we were working with. That day solidified it. These folks are some of the best people I’ve met in my life, and it’s hard to imagine letting them go now. It’s why, even when there’s been work stress issues and other such problems at times where I consider leaving my job over it in a huff, I don’t. And believe me, there’s been some serious moments where not just me but others have said things because things were just getting too stressful. But we’re still here, fighting in the trenches together and I’m so insanely glad to have them.
It feels like that’s actually a fantastic point to bring up the good from this year. My friends and family are still around and kicking. I’m living with friends that are a pretty damned good fit for me, and they make life easier to work through. I’ve figured out ways to lessen my anxiety, though it’s not one-hundred percent foolproof, by any stretch. I still overthink constantly, and I need to work on that. I finished the first half of a long-form novel that I started on last year. While it may not seem as impressive as finishing a novel outright, for me, to be writing something this long (I’m closing in on 250 pages now and I think I’ve still got at minimum another 200 left to write) is not something I’ve done. I’m more likely to lose interest in a project or story at this point, and I’m amazingly not doing that. SAGE has been a blast to write, even knowing the first half is going to have massive re-writes as I didn’t really know the characters or world ’till about a quarter of the way through. I’m editing my novella that I wrote way back in the summer and early fall of 2013. I think it’ll get finished, I’m just gonna have to push myself to make some fixes I really would rather not deal with.
Then, on top of all that, I met someone fantastic. She came into work during Star Wars, and I through she was cool, especially since she was hanging with us through one of the hardest rushes of the entire year. When I got to know her a time went on, and about midway through the year, I asked her out. After some time to think it through, she said yes to a date. There had been a get together to explore of some of downtown a couple days before, but it hadn’t been an “official date”, at least according my head. We went out a few days later, and a month or so after that, we officially called it a “thing” and were a couple. I really fell for her, and she’s honestly fantastic. I’m lucky that she wants to be around me and talk to my dumb self every day.
So, like I said, there were some genuinely bad things that happened. Like said at the start, the election still is having its effects, and I’m learning what I can do to help others in this situation. There’s still stress and strife at work, though some things seem to be working out. I’m happy, but know there’s a lot to do and a lot coming at me for the next year. Still, I’m here, I’m still standing, and I think I’m ready, as long as I’ve got my friends and family by my side. 2017, try and be a little kinder than 2016. Maybe just go for the shins when you kick this time.