Saturday, December 21, 2013

Reflections on Another Year: Twenty-Thirteen

Named after a song that includes the lines "As the year draws to a close, I think about my living" I guess it was only fitting for me to be pensive and retrospective by nature. And so, with the Holidays drawing near yet again, I find myself in the annual act of flipping through the pages of another year gone by - years which are starting to pile up now.

The first thing that popped into my head in regards to the year Twenty-Thirteen was dull. I didn't move to any big cities or any serene countryside locales, nor did I move at all for that matter. I didn't tie the knot, didn't fall in love, didn't even really get any closer to the altar at all. I didn't finish The Great American Novel, though I did try my hand at that, again. I didn't take any great leaps or bounds in the career sector, though I did graduate and work at a law firm for short while.

But then I think a little more deeply, and realize dull fails to accurately describe the year for me. My suspicion is that my reaction to the year - of it seeming dull - largely comes from the stability in my life right now, which has been lacking in years' past before. Dull is probably exactly what I need right now. If things are dull, that probably means things are on the right track for me at the moment.

In reality, the year wasn't dull per se. Some pretty significant life events occurred. I sought treatment for alcohol abuse. I joined a recovery group. I notched together a couple months of sobriety on separate occasions. I dated seriously for the first time since the one that damn near broke me beyond repair, albeit at a time when I self-admittedly probably wasn't ready to date yet. I graduated law school,(!) a fact sometimes eludes me despite taking place only months ago and one that might be the defining moment in many people's lives yet in mine doesn't even warrant year-defining status. That's quite a bit, on paper. I think in my own mind it doesn't seem like a great deal due to the fact that it comes with the disclaimer in that I am still searching for that elusive state of happiness in my life.

Aside from the life-changing events, there were the little things, too: those little moments that years later you look back upon and realize were the big things after all. I started spending more time with my brother. I got to watch Michigan play for a National Title with him. My partner and I in law school won a disability case for a man who suffered from schizophrenia. I went to the zoo and Cedar Point with my then-girlfriend. I read a couple good books, most memorably a biography of Hemingway, a couple drinking memoirs, a Springsteen biography and Darren McCarty's memoir. I got out into the fresh air and did quite a bit of hiking.

Most importantly, 2013 was a year I could look back on without a great deal of pain or regret, something I was incapable of doing in either 2012 or 2011. I don't remember which year it was, but I remember one of my best friend's, Steve, suggesting to me that I should do one of those 'Year in Review' posts for either 2012 or 2011. I remember thinking there was no way in Hell I wanted to do that because the year had been the worst of my life and I just wanted it to be over with forever. It could have been 2012 or 2011, it didn't really matter which. Because those were probably the two worst years of my life to date, full of depression and loss and accentuated by substance abuse. I can look back upon 2013 with a little bit of peace. And that's something, at least.

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