December 10, 2014

Turning Off The Endless Night

(Yes, that is a Graham Parker reference for the guys at The Comics Treadmill)

For the past week and a half, I've been dealing with laryngitis - working the charity auction at Chicago TARDIS meant using my voice quite a bit, and that - plus a pretty intensive schedule over Thanksgiving weekend - meant that by Sunday, I had no voice.

(By the way, raised over $2700 - only $100 less than last year - and the laryngitis was totally worth it. Most of my time was spent drinking tea, eating chicken soup with a shot of garlic, and not talking).

While I was recuperating, I spent quite a bit of time not only playing catch up on various tasks, but also reflecting on the past year. At this point last year, I had made a very conscious decision - at that point, I was severely burnt out. Massive Doctor Who related activities, the death of a friend, and excessive drama in several of my extracurricular activities led me to a very delicate place emotionally. Not so much hopeless as exhausted, and the resulting lack of energy impacted my ability to move forward in many ways. For me, 2013 was a very dark year for a variety of reasons....and I didn't want to stay in that darkness.

So my decision was simple - take an inventory of my activities, attitudes, and desires. Whatever felt more like a burden than a blessing needed to be let go. Any activities that felt too much, where I needed to let go and turn over to the care of others, I chose to leave and help transition new people in. For some activities where I felt that it "wouldn't go on without me", I adopted the attitude that nobody will pick up the ball unless I am willing to drop it.

In recent weeks, I have found that this past year has seen not only a renewed optimism, but that I've been able to make some really great accomplishments. My attitude has also become increasingly positive, and that even in those "dark nights of the soul", I feel a renewed sense of hope.

It has meant some radical changes - leaving Net Tuesday was a difficult decision, but leaving meant spending more time on that all-important search for work. This year has seen some minimal freelance work, moving me from "barely unemployed" to "underemployed" (and yes, I'm still plugging away). With more "free" time, I chose to pursue a freelance writing career....and that's resulted not only in formal publication, but also....well, I now have a page on Amazon. Go figure.

The greatest gift has been the ability - and opportunity - to begin reconnecting with my colleagues and friends. From a New Year's Eve party to several phone calls and coffee appointments, it's been great to reestablish those basic human connections, especially given a year of relative isolation. (And no, social media doesn't count). With the events in Ferguson, I will make a special effort to reach out to friends in Missouri. (Especially since it seems highly unlikely for a return visit in the near future). But knowing that I'm less alone - even on a superficial, of-course-people-like-me level - has been an immediate boost.

My life is by no means perfect....but for every moment of doubt and despair, there have been greater opportunities to embrace hope, joy, and love. I think it's safe to say (to extend the Graham Parker lyric) that I've finally found a switch to turn off the endless night.

No comments: