2020 ripped through the world with a vengeance not seen since the Great Wars. This post is about some of the losses I suffered, ensuing struggles with depression, and isolation with a serving of anxiety on top.
One of my colleagues just posted a bit about “Sweedish Death Cleaning” and the idea resonated with me given a recent experience I had where I lost not one, but two friends in the span of two weeks. One was graceful, the other, hurt like hell, both were understandable. It’s something I had been saying for a while now. Friendships take the investment of face to face time. Something I can’t afford given my choices regarding, not just my own heart health, but my husbands’ potential exposure through myself to others to meet my own personal needs.
So it is the topic of the week with my husband, therapist, and three of my closest personal advisors and friends. I am in the process of realigning my network, goals, and practices right now. Letting go of things that don’t, as a priest friend of mine says, “bring life.”
When my one former friend attacked me for being “self-congratulatory” in some of my writing, it cut as deeply, if not more so, as his attack upon me as a man worthy of his friendship. It was all based upon, again, my COVID safety protocols and my refusing to take certain risks. If nothing else, I am true to myself and I make my own choices. Always have. Always will. It’s not always pretty though. 2020 came with personal sacrifices that challenged me with everything I had. At times, I didn’t have enough to meet those dark moments with the light I normally carry. Made some bad choices. Made some good choices. Survived. And I think that’s the best thing about 2020 for me. I survived the pandemic, so far, myself, isolation, and the vacuum that a lot of our lives became. For, without oxygen, fire goes out.
So for 2021, I suppose, I am going to take a queue from my colleague and do some death cleaning of my own. I removed most of my social profiles. Killed off my other blog that was more of a special interest of mine. Made a choice to focus on a core group of friends and let go of the less bonded ones that were defined by pre-2020 life. Got back onto a walking 30 minutes everyday routine. Working out once again. Fucking grooming myself again (the beard is insane right now). Dusted off my backpacking gear (for solo treks only). Cracked my knuckles on a professional study plan toward leveling back up to the architect level and then looking ahead to the next 5-year goal. House shopping with Eddie. Actively scheduling time with family. The important stuff I guess.
Still, back to the insult of being “self-congratulatory “… I think I choose to think of it as self-effacing. Sharing. Being open instead of walling myself off. So, right here and now, I flat out reject that. With my own strong voice and don’t give a damn-ness. If you don’t like my protocols, then fuck off. I don’t need your judgment.
That’s the thing though. through the fire-killing 12 months of 2020 I found my strength by losing it. I feel more ready now than ever to wear my own skin with those with whom I actively choose to share it. Period. So I guess I’m semi thankful for the emotional garbage that dude threw at me. That’s all about him, not me. I don’t regret mourning the loss. He was, at one time, special to me. Though I wish him well, always will, I do not accept his feelings, or baggage, as at all important to me personally.
Lot’s of people have gone through this actually looking back at the headlines on places like The Medium where people tell personal stories. This was just my own to live through. Failures and all. So here’s to 2021. A renewed lease on life, my way. Adventures to be had and goals to be achieved.
Onward. No looking back. No regrets.