Dispatches from the Suburbs of Hell

Heaven is for the obedient. Hell is for the wrathful. What of the ones in between? We wind up in the Suburbs. Our sin is individuality. Our punishment is boredom. But at least we're in good company.

Location: New England, United States

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Year of Counting Blessings

Well, a new year has rolled around. It's 2009. Yay. A new year will bring new opportunities. Or at least the hope of them. And frankly, I'm hoping that's true.

Because 2008 was not a good year for me. 2008 was the Year of Falling Apart for me. I lost a job, I lost family members, I lost friends, and I lost my sense of self. Over the course of this year I found myself unemployed and moving through a series of contract positions without any real promise of permanence. I found myself drifting further and further from the Internet forum I Moderate. And I found myself simply getting OLDER, and with it the growing dread that comes with age. The feeling that time is catching up with you. That the dreams that have nourished you through your twenties haven't come true by your thirties, and maybe it's just kind of pathetic to cling to them. Coming up on 34, and still on shaky foundations. Not exactly a thing to be proud of.

Then there's my forum. I've been avoiding the place, I admit it. Partly because I've been too busy and too out-of-sorts to deal with it, but also because I've been...disillusioned with the place. It's another dream that seems to have died. I had a vision for the place. One that was too ambitious, in retrospect. The fault is mine. I fancy myself an intellectual. I hold myself to a high intellectual standard, and perhaps unfairly, I hold other people to high standards. I believe that argument and debate is a valuable intellectual process, and I engage in it with passion, but without malice. That rubs people the wrong way, or at least the people I've got on my board. It was like trying to grow oak trees amid palms, I guess. In retrospect, trying to start up an Enlightenment Salon among people who just want to talk about crappy movies and trade dirty pictures was a doomed exercise from the start. It doesn't help that some of the debates we've had have driven people away. Good people, whom I considered friends. I'd always thought that friends could disagree on points of law, or religion, or political theory, and still remain friends. My experience on this forum has shaken that belief.

So these are my disappointments. But, as they say, where there is light, there is hope. And with the new year comes new possibilities. And with losses, comes the counting of blessings. To remember what I DO have, and to appreciate it. I have job prospects on the horizon, and I have funds enough for the short term. One good thing about slogging through for a few years is that I know how to live on less. My living expenses are low enough so that I can live on temp wages for a while, until things pick up again. And I must hope that they WILL pick up. And I DO still have friends on the board, a small number of close friends who I have not lost.

And as for my dreams and my sense of self, well...this last year has taught me many things about myself. I am not my job. I am not what I do. Because I was without a job for a while and I still was something. So I am still something. And as long as I am something, I have a chance to move forward, to become something better, to achieve a dream or two.

So, Happy New Year. May it lead to better days. Because they can't lead to much worse.

Or course, now that I've said that...


Blogger Portrait in Flesh said...

::hands you some Hope-On-A-Rope::

Just don't drop it in the shower.

But I too hope 2009 will be a better year. It's been pretty shaky so far...hope things not only level out for you, but also start picking up.

12:06 PM, February 07, 2009  

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