2008, for the most part, sucked. It sucked rigorously. It sucked Dalmatians through a garden hose. Were it not for certain events and people, it would trap light within its event horizon.
I can say with full sincerity that it was the worst year I've ever had. I began the year deeply in love with three women who loved me too. I lost one of those relationships on January 1, and another a month later, on my birthday. (That second loss reverberated throughout the year, with echoes and harmonics that kept some of the joy, and then a lot more of the pain, fresh and sharp and kept me from letting go for far too long.) I did keep my marriage and my family intact and strong. Anna and I have had our problems this year, but it hasn't threatened the idea of us.
I lost two jobs. One was absolutely my fault. I deserved to get fired; I bought my boss lunch that day and thanked him. The other one wasn't, it was just a breakdown in the client/contractor relationship. But it led to my current gig, which is the best job I've ever had. A year ago it would have been ludicrous to suggest that Anna would have to warn me off of overworking. Now I find myself motivated to give much more than I need to, and I'm loving it.
It was a bad year for my mental health. It was the first year that mental health was even something I needed to think about. I had some pretty bad moments. I went through three psychiatrists, two therapists, and a neuropsychologist who called me "fascinating." (I was not flattered.) But I did manage to scrape through without seriously hurting anyone else, and only moderately hurting myself. My ADD is being treated, and I suppose I am lucky in that my depression and anxiety are the kind that make me go "Wow, depression and anxiety suck, I'd better solve this" rather than wallow in them. Or maybe it's just me being stubborn. Whichever, I'm generally doing better. Lexapro and Buddhist meditation work well together.
The year sucked. It sucked enough that when Anna asked me quite innocently on New Year's Eve what I thought of 2008, it gave me an odd sort of panic attack and nearly fucked up my evening. I didn't want to think about it. I wanted it behind me. I wanted to carry the good stuff with me and not look back at where it came from.
But of course that isn't really helpful. And it isn't honest.
There is good stuff. I'm feeling like I'm starting 2009... Well, I don't want to say "In a good place," I thought that at the end of 2007 too. But I think I'm stronger. I know myself better. A lot better in some ways. I'm more aware of healthy balance. I'm employed at a stable place where I'm empowered to be creative and succeed. I have a new relationship with a cute, smart woman whom I've known for years (hi kitanzi ) and proving so far that I can have fun and be emotionally open without going overboard. I am passionately in love with my wife and fiercely in love with my kid. I haven't kicked all my bad habits (staying up too late, for instance) but I'm taking some steps.
I usually have to make mistakes and get slapped for them at least a few times before I really learn. Last year was a whole lot of mistaking and slapping.
This year I'm in the game.