Tuesday, December 31st, 2002
Auld Lang Syne
There’s just under 12 hours left in 2002. I’m generally predisposed to extensive navel-gazing, so it seems natural that I close out the year with a year-in-review of sorts. It’s been an interesting year… I recall saying about 365 days ago, give or take, that this was going to be my year. That I kick ass in palindromic years or some such nonsense.
If I do a basic checklist of Jan 1 versus Dec 31, it looks like I’m not doing too badly – started the year unemployed, band-less , blog-less and single. Closing out, I’m employed, with band and blog-eriffic. The single bit… well, we’ll get to that later.
Amazing as it may seem, I like my job. A lot. I like the work, the people I work with, hell, even the clients don’t bug me. There’s a healthy level of pressure that only occasionally veers into stress, but all mangeable. I have benefits, a salary I can actually plan for the future with and I still get to leave at 5pm. There are days when I miss my freewheeling contactor days, when I could come and go as I please, but I’ll take the full-time employee sandwich, thank you very much.
It was a year ago tomorrow that I first met up with a slightly hungover Brad and also met 517, albeit in passing. I had no more or less expectations for this potential band than I did for any of the countless others I’d gone out for, but it seems like this was the one that was going to stick. We’ve played some good shows, made some recordings that I’m proud of more for the potential I see in them for the future than the actual finished products (which isn’t to say I’m unhappy with them – I’m not) and made some good friends. I am able to play music on a regular basis. I am a better player now than I’ve probably ever been. Hell, I’ve even learned to play drums. Sorta. I think someone somewhere sometime promised me groupies, but I guess you can’t win em all.
I’ve always been an introvert, so the idea of keeping a journal, let alone posting it online for potentially a world of strangers to read is pretty out of character. On one hand, who cares what I have to say, what I think about music or movies or comics, or even about me? Isn’t this just an exercise in self-indulgence and narcissism? And on the other hand, who cares who cares? I generally don’t have anyone to talk to about the pedantic little things in life, the tv show I watched last night, the CD I just bought, the new band I just heard about… so I’ll just talk to everyone. It’s fun, I’d like to think I’ve made some friends… and anyway, self-indulgence is healthier than self-flagellation.
Net results on my personal life are a little more mixed… Consider this – you have a shirt that you don’t like very much, maybe once you thought it was alright, maybe that it even worked for you, but you’ve had it for so long that you couldn’t imagine being without it. Habit and routine can be a slow death. But – one day, you find a loose thread. Just a small one, barely noticable, but it wasn’t there before. Unconsciously, you begin to pick at it. A gentle tug, then a more forceful one. It begins to come undone. The stitching is so old and worn, it almost wants to come apart and soon is, even without your encouragement. It all falls apart, and you are left naked, with nothing. What can you do? Weep, moan and grind your teeth. Why couldn’t you just leave well enough alone? Maybe that shirt, as ugly and repugnant as it was, was what you were meant to wear? It was your lot in life? Either way, it’s gone now and nothing’s going to bring it back. You couldn’t remake it from the scraps left over anyway. Now it’s at this point you have to make a choice – die of exposure or find a new shirt. And maybe this time, make sure that the heart is located quite so close to the sleeve.
I’m feeling pretty good now, though. It’s like Buckaroo Banzai once said, “No matter where you go, there you are”. It’s true, so I’ve become more comfortable in myself than maybe I’ve ever been. There are still things I wish I was and wish I wasn’t, but life is a work in progress, is it not? There were times when I once might have felt deathly lonely, I now I appreciate those moments for the solitude. I’m not making other people’s problems my own if I don’t need to. No one owes me anything, but I don’t owe anyone anything either. Et cetera, et cetera.
So I look forward to 2003. 2002 may not have turned out entirely the way I wanted, but in hindsight, maybe it turned out how I needed. I used to approach the turning of the years with a sense of desperation, of “Oh God, I’ve wasted another year and I’m not where I want to be”. Well shit, who cares? I grow weary of trying to dissect that which is unknowable and uncontrollable. I have things to do.
Happy New Year.
np – Joy Division / Unknown Pleasures