Goodbye 2015

For the past few years, every New Year’s Eve I’ve unfairly gauged the quality of the year based on my attitude towards the coming New Year. And each New Year’s Eve, I’ve felt a sort of dreadful disinterest. Rather than the wave of inspirational enthusiasm that leads us to make resolutions for the coming year, all I’ve had is the feeling that I didn’t accomplish enough, and that whatever resolutions I would make are just additional items on the mental to-do list that seems to constantly grow but never shrink.

A couple of weeks ago (to the day, actually), I made the following post on Facebook which ended up very accurately and succinctly summing up my year:

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Taking it at face value, 2015 wasn’t too bad a year for me.

Still, that sense of needing to get the burners ready to run at full-blast looms over me. Going by my last update I was supposed to have done that this month. Just a few days after that post, I had a friend go through a nasty breakup, and moved all his stuff back to my apartment where he’d be crashing until tomorrow when the 1st hits and he’s able to move into his new digs. The move itself took up a fair bit of time and energy, not to mention having to help put things “away” so that the living room here wouldn’t be a complete chaotic mess. As the month wore on and the nights grew longer and much, much colder, my workout consistency dropped proportionately; I’ve mostly been gaining weight and getting fat this month.

Christmas week, I ended up having a nasty fall after a recent rainfall, slipping on a sidewalk metal utility access panel as I learned just how absolutely devoid of traction a certain pair of shoes I own are when it comes to wet surfaces. That spill hurt my hips, back, and shoulder pretty bad — and broke my phone’s screen, protective hardshell case and anti-scratch screen film on it be damned — leaving me spending the vast majority of the past week laid out in bed, swathed in topical analgesics and beached atop a heating pad. That same night that happened was the night my roommate’s family arrived from Germany. Months ago when those plans came up, it was agreed that the roomie’s brother would crash here with him for a few weeks during the lull until the Spring semester started. So, despite having a home full of people, the usual holiday blues I get compounded with the events of this month had me feeling utterly broken, defeated, and alone.

it’s been one of those times where all my usual talk of emotional separation comes into play. I was weighed down by negative feelings, but their very nature as feelings, manifestations of my emotions that I’ve distrusted and disregarded for so long now, made them powerless to actually break me down. It’s like…feeling the pain without allowing it induce actual suffering. Also notably: the complete opposite of how I used to cope with things less than a handful of years ago.

Today, on the eve of 2016, I’m back to being ready for the challenges to come. My body has healed from that fall, and as I stated earlier, this year doesn’t feel like a total wash. Quite the opposite, it’s been the first time in a decade where I had a sense of self that wasn’t mostly mired in melancholy and self-resentment. It hasn’t been the year in which I’ve completed many of the goals I’ve set for myself as a person, but it’s been one in which a lot of a progress towards those efforts have been made. By and large this year, I really fucking liked myself. Running those 200+ miles in August and through the humid 90º+ weather in autumn along with the body weight and dumbbell training I started in November had me feeling incredibly strong and capable. Mentally, it’s felt as if my brain has finally regained the ability to think with razor focus and clarity. That sense of individual wholeness that we take for granted as kids, that the depressed mind so desperately craves. And unlike in years before, it was consistent…and it hardly faltered.

To 2016 — I’m eager to see what my reflection on the end of the coming year reads like.

Unshipped

November seemed to just fly by, and all of a sudden, the final month of 2015 is now well underway. This one’s a particularly big deal for me, as I have a February birthday and with the coming of 2016 looms the inevitability of turning another decade older. Doing some reflective thinking on both the year and my life as a whole, I find myself feeling admittedly overwhelmed. My 20’s have been a decade-long ordeal — half spent spiraling into the depths of depression, the other half crawling and fighting my way out. It’s only in the past couple years that I’ve started to pull myself together as I intended to, and the pressing realization of just how much lost time I have to try to make up for bears down on me every day. I’m going to be turning 30, but vocationally and academically I’m not much further along than those who’ve just turned 20. All the time and energy that should have been applied on those fronts I’ve ended up having to allocate towards figuring out my damage and fix it, all the while feeling like shit for having it and for not being able to resolve it quickly and easily. More specific to this year, I’ve made constant mention of making a “harder push”: mapping out and manage my time with deadly efficiency, maximize productivity & learning, expanding the focus/frequency/insensity of my workouts, and improving as a writer. So far, the closest I feel that I’ve gotten to embodying that was back in August of this year when I ran a cumulative distance of over 200 miles.

During a recent listen to an old episode of Back to Work, the following question was posed to listeners:

What Haven’t You Shipped, and Why?

I decided to start blogging again years ago as an accountability mechanism and as a progressive journal. For the longes time, I didn’t write much because I felt I didn’t have much progress to log. Yet, with all that’s changed/improved over the recent past, the output doesn’t reflect that. As for why:

  • On Guard

In my entry about Thanksgiving this year, I made mention of how openly I write about myself publicly but am very guarded when it comes to discussing myself in person. Similarly, I write more freely about myself when it concerns my past, but when it comes to the present or recent events, there’s a heavy reluctance to do so. Partly because I’m still somewhat figuring that out on a day-to-day basis, and partly because of…

  • Sense of Lack of Authority

Writing about being a depressed trainwreck of a person is easy — it’s what I’ve lived most recently for such a prolonged period of time, it’s what I know best. In areas of other relevant interests, like Greek stoicism and Buddhism, I’m such an unlearned novice that trying to take those on as writing topics feels like it would only result in uninformed noise.

  • Time Mismanagement

As stated above, there’s a lot of other things that I’ve got on my plate in terms of personal improvement. Physical fitness goals, career skill development, hobbies. In constantly shifting my focus across the board instead of dedicating time to hone in on one at a time, I’ve been getting a whole lot of nothing done.

  • Good Old Fashioned Procrastination & Laziness

Enough said.

Ultimately, these are excuses more than they are reasons, in spite of whatever amount of validity there is behind them. Last month, I thought I’d be able to pull off a repeat of August with my running and get a lot of writing done riding the NaNoWriMo wave. That got derailed, but already finding myself a week into the last month of the year, I’m feeling the fire under my ass I should have been channeling last month.