December 24, 2013

Random Thoughts on Christmas Eve

To be honest, it really doesn't quite feel like Christmas.

Much of it is the unusually short holiday season, and I have to admit I'm still feeling a bit burned out over November. (Taking on not one, but two large Doctor Who-themed events may have been a bit much for me). But as I sit here Christmas Eve morning, tapping out a post while drinking coffee, a few thoughts and reminisces come to mind.

First, this has been a year of massive, unprecedented change - although I've only seen some positive results in my job search recently (a part-time remote gig with a startup downstate), I've found myself moving through a variety of professional activities. Planning the charity auction at Chicago TARDIS was one; working online outreach for the Illinois Task Force and pursuing marketing classes at DePaul Kellstadt was another. (Editing pulp-related publications for both Radio Archives and Airship 27 also helped me feel a little bit more professional....and kept me awash in ebooks and audiobooks). All this activity has broadened the
scope of what I'm looking for - not just that I like the challenge of working within a wider variety of fields (including social enterprise), but quite frankly, there are too many non-profit marketing "consultants" in Chicago, and it's getting harder to find the signal through all of the noise. (Plus, having recently crafted a marketing plan as a class assignment, I'm considering starting a potential side business.) Have some irons in the fire, and, of my to-dos in the next few days will be to update my Linked In profile. As well as the Chicago Now blog. And if you're interested, please like the Chicago Now and Zone 4 podcast Facebook pages, if you haven't done so already. You'll find more of my online shenanigans.

This has also been a period of great loss - first, my cat Dax back in May, and in October, a friend of mine who chose to take his life. Unlike Dax, I won't talk about my friend in this blog - it would be disrespectful to his memory, and quite honestly, towards the end I believe I did right by him. I will never know why he made such a fateful decision, and I admit that even if he had "reached out" to me, it still would have made no difference. But here are some of the lessons I've learned this year...

First, it takes no effort to be mean, cynical, or judgmental - from "you need to work harder to find work" to "Agents of SHIELD sucks on toast, there's a growing trend towards the hardening of the heart. With all the compassion that this holiday brings, I'm reminded of the constant need to remember that in the end, we're all human beings. And human beings have value - they're not simply cogs in a machine, or a means to an end. When I forget that, and forget to treat people with respect, dignity, and compassion throughout the rest of the year...I am doing something horribly wrong.

Secondly....well, I think the Replacements said it much better - and more articulately - than I ever could:
The ones who love us best/Are the ones we lay to rest/And visit their graves on holidays at best/The ones who love us least/Are the ones we'll die to please..../If it's any consolation, I don't begin to understand them

Soon, I'll be heading for a quick trip to the library (yes, they are open for a short period this morning), then finish packing and head up to Mom's for a few days. Sure, she's only 45 minutes away by bus, but with the cold temperatures and shortened bus schedule, it only felt right not to treat this like another holiday. Besides, it keeps me out of an apartment that feels way too empty already....and yes, Mom has a cat. She's also managed to outlive both Steve Jobs and Lou Reed after her liver transplant, so that's always worth celebrating.

I have a couple of posts scheduled to go live in the next few days, but don't worry if you don't see me online. After feeling relatively isolated, I'm getting back into the spirit and starting to feel sociable once again. My online life has been pretty active, so I need to take it offline. But I'll still be here.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

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