On my way back from Houston yesterday, I saw a sign outside of a church: "You can argue with God, you just can't win." I had a good chuckle because I agree with that sentiment.
While I don't brand myself a Christian, I do have an attachment to the ideas of being hopeful, a good person, helpful towards others, and a positive-thinking person. And it's taken me a long time to understand the difference between things that are in my control (which is a small number) and the things that are not in my control (which is a very large number).
I spent most of this year upset about things that happened in 2011. I couldn't shut the door on a drastic change in my personal and professional life that happened over the course of four short months. I had started 2011 in a happy relationship while I was in a band I enjoyed playing with and made the best of a hostile work environment. By the end of October last year, all three of those situations were not in my life anymore. They didn't leave my mind though. They were too close to my heart to brush them off like dust on a shelf.
As easy as it would sound to stop all thinking about those situations, I have tried, but I have not fully put them behind me. I'm happy to say that I'm in a much better spot in my personal life thanks to Jenny. She's brought me so much joy, love, laughs, and stability since we met in July. I still play the drums even though I can't seem to find the right fit with a band situation. The way I figure, whatever band I'm in next will appreciate a drummer who practices regularly with a metronome. And my freelance writing for the Observer and dentist websites have kept me busy, happy, and active.
I would love to have a full-time job with health benefits again, but that's not exactly something I have control over when it will happen. I've made a lot of strides to get to that point this year, but for now, it's freelance work.
In the past few days, people I've thought highly of have lost their jobs. Whether they worked in radio or worked in writing/editing pop culture articles, my heart goes out to them. Losing one's job a few weeks before Christmas can feel like a big middle finger in the face. But more often than not, I hear from others how losing a job was one of the best things to happen to them. Hopefully these people will say this in the near future.
I spent so much of this year living with a kind of anger that seemed impossible to let go of. I often thought about why my relationship fell apart (and later became extremely bitter), why my band fell apart, and why I put up with a toxic work situation for so long. I came to the realization that I can stay in bad situations for too long. Hopefully, the lesson learned is to have some kind of courage to leave those situations, consequences be damned.
I think back to that great quote by Bobby Patterson: "I thank God for all my enemies. I thank God for every job I've ever been fired from. I thank Him for
every girl that left me. Because that thing makes you stronger. They
make you who you are. And if you're gonna be in this entertainment
business, you better learn to be strong." He is totally right.
Looking forward to 2013, there is a clearer road up ahead. There's a second book to be published, a third book to finish writing, more great times to be had with Jenny, more birthdays with my family, and a desire to be an even better person. I'm not in control of everything that happens next, but I hope to be ready for it.