2002: Breaking It Down

There are some days when I look back at what I wrote the day before and think, “Chris, you are full of shit.” Today was one of those days. Honestly, I had an epiphany today that left me with an enormous smile on my face. Not until today did I really stop to think about what I’ve accomplished this year. Instead of looking at missed opportunities, I stopped for a second to look at the things I set out to do and did. This journal entry is a perfect example. When I finish typing this afternoon I will have accomplished something I didn’t think I could do. When I finish typing this afternoon I will have written an entry a day for 365 days in a row.

Today was easier and I think a lot of that had to do with getting all the bullshit off my chest yesterday. A good deal of it also had something to do with sleeping better. In the middle of the night last night it occurred to me I was bundling up too tightly before going to sleep. Part of what was keeping me up at night was that I was too damn hot. Stephanie always tells me I’m putting too many layers on when I go to bed, but I never listen to her.

I should start listening.

It was only with a clear head and in the middle of a good, long Email conversation with JonMartin that I was finally able to come up with it. The one thing I’d set out to do at the beginning of the year… the one New Year’s resolution I’d made, was to write every day for a full year. If I could do that, I reasoned, I could do anything.

And here I sit, and look what I’ve accomplished. Some days it’s been rough. Some days I couldn’t think of a damn thing to put down into this thing. It’s been crazy, but I’ve made it through.

It was in the early part of 1995 that Tracy told me to write down a list of things I liked about myself, as she prepared to break up with me. If you remove the circumstances, it was a pretty good idea for an insecure guy like me.

In fact, if you like lists, (which I happen to,) then making a list of the things you like about yourself or your life is a great way of getting it out.

  • I have a beautiful wife who loves me
  • I wrote a book and it’s available on Amazon.com
  • I wrote every day for a full year
  • I’m alive

It’s the end of the line folks, the end of one act and the beginning of the next. I’m off to close the year in true style, (if not in a totally weird way. I am celebrating the New Year away from the aforementioned beautiful wife and even though I’ve mostly reconciled it in my mind, I still can’t get over the fact that maybe I should be staying home,) in Boston with Jon, who I haven’t seen since he came back from Oxford.

My New Year’s resolution this year, and it’s a big one, is to learn how to forgive myself.

Awful Poetry

“The despair grows as the year fades.” That is the thought that has prevailed in the maelstrom of my mind this day. When all else is uncertain, one thing can be counted upon. The bitter chill of December brings with it the pain of twenty-five years spent hanging on to things best let go. And, to a head it comes during these last hours of the year. It is only now that failures become crystal clear, that the dashed expectations of a year ago begin to fit into the puzzle that is my life. There are yet twenty-six hours in this, the year of their Lord 2002, but I would be happy for those hours to come and go before I blink my eyes.

There is so much pain to be inflicted on one’s self. I know me better than anyone else in the world and when it comes time to hurt myself, I know exactly which buttons to push. There is no one more adept at causing me misery than I. Whether it be disgust at missed opportunities or displeasure with my inability to live up to lofty standards, there is no person on this Earth who can make me hurt as much as I can.

Today was a rough day. Things never get easier at work. They never fall into place. And it’s not that I expect it to be a cakewalk. They pay me to accomplish difficult things. It’s just that… It’s just that, for once, I would like to feel in control of what I am doing. I would like to have some sense that I knew where I was going.

And when you add a countless array of side-projects to the stress of a normal 8-hour workday, things only get worse. And when you add an inability to conceive a child, even after nine to ten months of trying, things only get worse after that. And when you add a failing dream, a book that doesn’t sell even when its promoted on the front page of a newspaper, things…

Well, you get the point.

Tomorrow is the end of this year which started with great promise, was memorable in may ways, but could just as soon be forgotten in others. I shall count the hours and then spend time with those closest to me and hope that next year things will be different.

Speedwrite Squished, But It Don’t Matter

Here’s how the day went: laundry, followed by grocery shopping, followed by tense football-watching experience, followed by even tenser football-watching experience, followed by disappointment and dinner, followed by tense football-videogame-playing experience, followed by writing this entry. Add to that the fact that the wife has been kind of sick and kind of moody all day, and you have the recipe for a really shitty web entry. Add two parts nothing interesting to talk about to three parts depression and one part frustration and you have where I am right now.

It’s bad enough when one of us is depressed. When both of us are depressed at the same time shit starts to hit the fan, words start to fly, and lots of blame gets tossed around. Thankfully, these days don’t come that often, but when they do you best watch out.

This all gets me really disinterested in returning to work tomorrow for another awkward week. I want to say nothing could top the stress of last week, but I’m afraid if I say that, some God somewhere will decide to make things worse just to spite me. That’s Loki that’s in charge of that stuff, right? He’s the God of Mischief.

The bright side is, now that the Patriots are out of the playoffs, watching football on Sundays won’t be nearly as depressing. I am a Philadelphia Eagles fan, but whether they or anybody else wins or loses is really immaterial now that my home team is out of the picture. As long as the New York Jets get their asses kicked at some point, I will be happy.

Next year’s big project will not launch on time and I’m not sure when it will launch, but it won’t be too long after the new year.

And speaking of the New Year, I still have no idea what we’re doing. Jon mentioned getting together, which is something we haven’t done since 1996 into 1997, and he also mentioned Boston. Boston sounds kind of interesting to me, but I know Stef isn’t interested in going to the city and since my last New Year’s spent in a Metropolis ended with my friends’ shoes getting pissed on (back in 1997-1998 in New York City) I’m not sure I want to haul myself in for that either. I do want to hang out with Jon though. So we’re going to figure out something.

Anyway, I’m depressed and I’m doing my best to fight it off, but I’m wondering if I can get through this winter without having to call the shrink back up. I did okay last winter and I’m not really sure what it was, but I’m going to have to go back and look at my journal and see what I did and do it again. This being sad all the time is for the birds.

Bowling & Billy Joel

We were supposed to go see Stef’s Dad today but things didn’t pan out because of the flu. Instead, Stef spent most of the day cleaning, (with a little help from me,) and I spent most of the day working on the new version of the Bastad. When all that was said and done we took some time out this evening to hang out with Stacey, Monica, and “Bob”. It was a fun evening, but like all evenings spent in smoky bars it has left Stef and I with awful sore throats and wretched smelling clothes.

We started off eating at Pizza Hut, which wasn’t all that bad except for my eating way too much damn pizza. Stef and I had eaten pizza just last night, so I don’t know why I woofed it down so fast, but I just did. I was regretting it before I’d even finished chewing the last bit of the last slice.

After dinner we went to a candlepin bowling alley in Nashua and played two strings in between two separate gaggles of high-schoolers, which was quite fun in and of itself. I love being around younger people. It reminds me of my misspent youth. I spent a good deal studying the group sitting to the right of us, potentially for inclusion in an upcoming story. One girl, a cute and intelligent looking brunette named Emma, particularly enthralled me. She and her three girlfriends were out with this one guy and I spent a great amount of time in between my turns imagining what their group dynamic was.

After bowling we went next door to a Chinese food place to sing karaoke. Stacey sang “Blue,” which was very appropriate and carried a slightly more melancholy tune there her previous renditions, thanks in part to her recent breakup. A few songs later, I got up and sang “We Didn’t Start The Fire” by Billy Joel, and the crowd was really into it. Karaoke, it turns out, is the closest I can get to having a band again.

And now I’m home and it’s past midnight so I’ll have to futz with the date to get this to appear right. Thank God I won’t have to deal with the same problem once I switch over to the new system.

A Minor Miracle

I’m sorry to say that, short of a minor miracle, my big project for next year will not launch on time. I’ve worked really hard to get everything ready on my end, but the final bit of business is something I have no control over. Before the project launches I need to move this site to a new hosting provider. This can normally only be done during regular business hours, and it usually takes a couple of days to happen. Because it’s almost New Year’s Eve, I don’t think I’ll be able to get the site transferred before then.

I’m dealing with this though. I’m not happy about it, but I am dealing with it.

What’s made it a bit easier to deal with has been the busyness of this week. Now that the week is over though, I am beginning to think of all the things I needed to get done by now that I have not gotten done. It’s disappointing to me, but just getting through this week at work was an accomplishment, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

We watched Star Wars Episode II last night before we went to bed and we hated it. We loved the movie in the theaters, but I think the fact that were fighting to stay awake after long days at work had something to do with our distaste for the picture. Tonight we watched some of the extras on the second disc of the DVD set we got for Christmas. That got me excited to watch the film again, but now it’s time for bed.

I also got to play a little bit more NBA Live 2003 tonight and that was a blast. I created a couple more players and signed them to the Boston Celtics in the game and I decided that they would be my team. I played the Chicago Bulls and kicked their ass and it made me smile.

Three-hundred and sixty-something days into this marathon of writing and I’m really crawling towards the finish line, aren’t I?