Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Year That Was

So 2011 is coming to a close, and the Year of the Mayan Prediction of The End of The World sits waiting.  As is typical for this time of year, we tend to look back and review the year that was on a global level.
But this is my blog, so I am going to get personal.
2011 was an interesting year. I fell in love. I got my golf game back. I got my life back. I learned more deeply what makes me tick. I lost a childhood friend. I gained some new friends. I embarked on a new activity that I had never done before. I went to Memphis. I rekindled a childhood friendship. I went through a roller-coaster of issues at work.
In all, a typical year.
Love Comes Calling - In the Spring I fell in love with a lady that actually fell for me first. Imagine that. Ours was a brief, but torrid, emotion-filled experience that left both of us sated and exhausted. What started as what we viewed as divine fate bringing us together ended three months later with stark realizations of basic differences that, unfortunately, could not be reconciled.
Love Comes Calling Part Deux - In the Summer I met a much younger woman, 25 years younger than me in fact, that, again, seemed interested in me. Hey, as much as I like to think that I could actually be attractive to a woman in her 20’s, rationale says, uh no, dude. Until she reminded me that mutual attraction knows no age limits. We had a wonderful four months together that ended when, again, stark realizations set in. Here was a women blossoming and unfolding, wanting a family, and dating a guy that only has one more year of child support to pay.  I could father her children, but only if was willing to delay my retirement for about ten years. I wasn't.
My Real Love Returns - Before there were any significant others in my life, I fell in love. I was six years old. And the object of my affections was a game. Golf. When 2011 started my golf game was in shambles, as I had played maybe a half dozen times in the previous two years.  You have to know this about me - I am a golfer. It is in my DNA. And when I do not play for extended periods of time I get depressed. Conversely, when I play often I am happy. So, to connect the dots, at the beginning of 2011 I was depressed due to lack of golf. And my goal in 2011 was to be happy, ergo, play more golf.
Hey, I’m a man. We’re simple creatures.
My blog has at least five stories from this past year related to rekindling this passion. I played with former Pittsburgh Steelers. I re-connected with my dear friend from childhood, My Man Mike, and we played weekly. I practiced 2-3 times a week. And by the end of this year I got my handicap back down to a 7. Not as good as I used to be, but still not too shabby.
And I was happy again.
I'm Pretty Effed Up - About halfway though the year I re-connected with 12-step recovery meetings, and through this I discovered some ugly truths about myself. Things that most everyone else knew about me, but I was blind to. Things like arrogance, self-centeredness, selfishness and fear. But I also learned to give myself a break - the only perfect man was hung on a cross, and I'm not into having nails driven into my hands and feet. So I now know the things about me that drive people away, and it is now on me to do something about them. Like they say, the truth will set you free...but first it's gonna really piss you off.
Namaste - I took up yoga. This is a wonderful activity that blends exercise, stretching, breathing and inner peace. I met new friends, and I love my instructor. Literally. I love her. I don’t know if she knows this, and Lee, if you’re reading this story, surprise! I love you.
Goodbye John - An old friend from my childhood died, Johnny Allen. Age 52, of cancer. John was an odd kid, as was I, which made us pretty close - the two geeks on the block. John’s death was a real wake-up call that we could be taken at any moment, for any reason. Rest well, John.
Work Is A Four-Letter Word - My job is very demanding. Unfortunately, often that demanding-ness gets piled atop with unreasonable, unrealistic and sometimes moronic tasks, simply because someone had what they considered a spark of creativity. When the truth is, they were proposing things that didn't have a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding. This happened often this year, and it really reinforced the old adage, God grant me the serenity…you know the rest. I cannot control these people. I only have two choices - accept them, or find another place to work. One or the other will occur in 2012.
So as this year fades to a close and 2012 stands waiting in the wings, I take the lessons of 2011 along with me, which are three simple words - live, love laugh. Especially laugh.
Because I used to be disgusted. Now I try to be amused.
Happy New Year everyone.

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