I started off 2019 by looking at not only 2018, but at the prior three years and effectively placing labels on them:
2015: A Year of Hurt and Anger
2016: A Year of Contemplation and Uncertainty
2017: A Year of Strength and Empowerment
2018: A Year of Setbacks
And so that leads me to 2019, which I’m calling…
2019: A Year of Turmoil
What a crazy end to a crazy decade. I started off 2010 unemployed due to being laid off a couple years prior during the recession. I finished my Bachelor’s Degree and got a job with the Federal government, a job I still have today. Also in 2010 I finally began getting serious with my writing as I worked closely with New York Times Best Selling Author Steve Alten (MEG, The Loch) to complete my first novel, Starphoenix. Nearly the first half of the 2010s went on routine and uneventful. Kids continued to grow and attend school, my wife and I worked our respective jobs. We lived in our little house, with our two cars and our cat, each day not too dissimilar to the last.
That all changed in August 2014 when my wife announced her separation from me. I have chronicled that event and the subsequent fallout in the years that followed on my Facebook page, and I’m writing a book about it – Worry Less, Live More: My 3-Year Journey From Divorce To Self-Discovery (And What I Learned Along The Way) – so I won’t go into all those thoughts, feelings, and emotions here. The remainder of 2014 and the years that followed were certainly crazy, uncertain times. (If nothing else I got my first novel published in September of that same year…an event that should have been joyous but was far overshadowed by the separation and pending divorce.) But I somehow held it all – though barely myself – together and made it to where I am today.
So what with all the prior craziness how was 2019 the Year of Turmoil? (I never did label 2014, though I suppose it would have been simply A Year of Surprise.) I started 2019 off with the best of intentions, for sure. A year ago I wrote “2019 is going to be my year” and “2019 is going to be filled with amazing and exciting milestones,” adding that “2019 will deliver the great payoff that life has been preparing to provide!”
Well, what is there to say other than that while 2019 provided many amazing moments, it was far from what I would refer to as my year, let alone having provided me any sort of “great payoff.”
There were times in 2019 when I didn’t feel like my mind was firing on all cylinders, like it would take longer to process things than normal. I would find myself at times either hesitant to take actions or speak, at other times I would feel on edge or short-fused. There were times when I would feel like I had ADHD at crazy high levels (admittedly self-diagnosed) and would have trouble concentrating to almost crippling levels. And then there were times I would feel like nothing mattered, like everything was just chill.
This rollercoaster made writing extremely difficult. While I got a novel published in 2019, I had actually finished writing it in 2018 and wrote relatively little in 2019. Overall, I accomplished very little in 2019. At the start I had endeavored to do a lot: “make lifestyle changes that give me energy and empower and motivate me daily” (I made none); “work more aggressively on building my brand as an author, blog more, and update my website more often” (I did this…some… though I can definitely be even more aggressive in 2020); “exercise more and reinstate healthier eating habits” (yeah…a broken scapula put a huge damper on the exercise bit); “continue to eliminate negativities that distract and suck away energy” (if anything, in some ways I went backwards with this and allowed more negativity into my life in 2019); and “get a new tattoo” (sorely needed, not yet acquired).
Back to that broken scapula. April 8th was the night I got my first ever broken bone…while exercising trying to stay healthy. Is there an irony in that? Up until then I was pretty religious about exercising at home and at the local gym. That definitely came to a halt when I shattered my right scapula when the pull-up bar hanging from my bathroom door pulled away unexpectedly, causing me to slam onto my back from about five feet up in the air. Put a nice hole in my shoulder that took several weeks to heal and put a huge damper on my exercise routine. And even though I was declared healed weeks ago, the habit of exercise has eluded me.
One thing that didn’t elude me in 2019 was my dream of skydiving. August 27th was the day when my son and I each jumped out of a perfectly good airplane! It was an amazing, life-changing experience. It was everything I expected it to be, and more. And I wasn’t even scared. I was able to take in every single moment and log it in as a memory for a lifetime. And to be able to share the experience with my son made it all even better. I put it up there with scaling Mount Adams in 2016.
So what do I see for myself in 2020? Well, I think I’ve learned from 2019 to not really have any expectations. That said, I suppose I want the usual: I would like to write more and publish more. I want to exercise more. I want to travel more (even if little trips). I’d like to begin the rest of my life together with ‘the one’. Is that all too much to ask?
But no expectations, right?
With all the craziness in the world, I hope to maintain as much sanity as I can. It’s the start of not only a new year but a new decade. And a new decade of my life as well. It’s time for me to set bullshit aside and get focused. Time is finite, days are gonna be numbered before I know it. The rat race isn’t slowing down, and the Joneses have been watching me in their rearview mirror for far too long.
Here’s to 2020. Happy New Year.