Fate or the uncaring universe of infinity moves and those all-things we have around us are transformed into new shapes that we can scarcely recognize. Nothing is spared, not lives, houses, health, or relative trivialities such as jobs and hobbies. All of it whirls in those years of change, leaving sadness, happiness, and hopefully wisdom. 2013 was a year of change.
Earlier this year I wrote of a trying time for me personally. I wrote two diaries of the experience. I haven’t been able to bring myself to write the third. There is too much emotion in the memories. It was excruciating to write the first two. I’m sorry my friends, I cannot write the third. The experience of nearly dying and having my life changed in a number of ways I consider fundamental. It has left me damaged in a way I cannot as yet fully comprehend or really gain wisdom from. Yet.
I find myself blurting out details of my surgery and health issues to people I hardly know. In my mind I think I am yelling at them; “Look! See! They HURT me. They CHANGED me! I was almost gone! Can’t you see that?!? Scream with me! Cry with me that I made it! GOD DAMNIT I AM NOT YET ALRIGHT!” But that’s not what people want to hear. They want to hear that all is well and that I’m getting better. So I tell them that calming, polite semi-fiction. It is getting better, but it’s taking a lot longer than I had ever thought possible. My family and my friends (including you all) are my strength and they help me to get better. So it does get better, despite the pain.
Yet not all change is bad. My experience has emboldened me in many ways. I quit smoking. I freely admit I took advantage of the first hospital stay and the opiates to rid myself of the physical symptoms of nicotine addiction. The mental aspects of it I still struggle with, but I haven’t had a cigarette since April, despite being sorely tempted a few times. Some change is good.
My wife and I bought a new house. Well, new to us. We had envisioned living in our little post-WWII home for maybe five years at the maximum. We lived there for sixteen years. The new house is great, lots of mature trees. Needle pines, oaks, maples, and shaggy bark hickory trees. We have deer, turkeys, squirrels, rabbits, and more chipmunks than I can count. The best part is that I now have a non-galley kitchen and two, count them, two bathrooms. We decided to buy this new house while I was still off of work recovering. The near-miss with the surgery and recovery taught me that there is no reason to wait. Some change is good.
The first change of the year was much smaller. It was small, black, and weighed in at about 15lbs. I had gone to our doggy day-care to pick up our beloved pug, Avi. Behind the counter was a little black puppy with white markings. They handed her to me. She was a French bulldog and extremely cute. Then they told me she was homeless, someone had dropped her off and didn’t want to take care of her anymore. I went home and talked to my wife. The next morning my wife and our pug met this little French bulldog. We found out she had epilepsy and would need drugs, probably for the rest of her life. We found out she was not house-trained, despite being seven months old. We took her home anyway. We named her Zuzu, after the little girl in It’s A Wonderful Life. Zuzu’s super-power is being amazingly cute. She’s been a trial for us, both with her training and her health. My illness interrupted her training and socialization pretty badly. She is with us till the end, good or bad, we are committed to her. She’s a sweet little dog and we are both glad we got her. Some change is good.
During the at-home part of my recovery, the evil fuck-wits my wife was working for decided to lay her off. I was outraged. But since then she has built up a considerable freelance business and to be honest, I think that it is better this way. Her previous employer was spiteful, evil, and worst of all stupid and incompetent. Working for fuck-wits isn’t worth it. We don’t have enough time here to spend it trying to please people who neither understand the effort nor deserve it. My wife is too intelligent, too capable to be wasted. It seemed like a terrible blow at the time, but I think it was for the best. She now thrives working multiple projects for multiple clients. Not all change is bad, even if it looks like it at first.
I have come to a new appreciation of a lot of people. You, my imaginary internet friends, are among them. My aunts and uncles are among them. My local friends are among them. I have also learned who actually cares and who only pays lip-service to caring. There were surprises on who cared and who did not. Things are never as easy as they seem. But from this I find myself more concerned with others. I worry that I have been the one that only paid lip-service when others were suffering. That was never my intention, but I worry that it may have been the result. Intentions do not matter if you are not taking real care with those important to you. I know this now and I’m trying to do better by my friends and family. Some change is good.
When the year of change comes, it seems as if we are riding the whirlpool down to what must surely be a sad end. We hang on as the g-forces whip us around, gripping on what we must have and letting go what we can no longer preserve. We mourn when change takes from us, but learn to celebrate what we had. We must take what change gives us and make it into something worthwhile. Lastly, we must take satisfaction and joy during those times when it seems as if the whirlpool of change is far away. It is closer than any of us realize.
My friends thank you for all you did for me. You made my life better and made me appreciate mine more. I wish you the best in 2014. May your all of your changes bring you strength, wisdom, and happiness.
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