I’m writing at the kitchen table again, and it’s the beginning of another year.
All around me people are composing lists. Things they forgot to do, wish they had accomplished, think they should remember and hope they will get to once the hands of the clock finish their full circuit.
The last time I celebrated the end of one year and the beginning of another was in the French Quarter, at a red brick bar filled with balloons and drag queens falling from the balconies. At the stroke of midnight, I found myself crawling around on the beer and cheap champagne soaked slate floor, chasing a bright pink balloon. That was truly a last time for me, an ending to a behavior.
For years I worked in the service industry, and my main concern for holidays was the happiness of other people. In a way that led me to form other special occasions, times and events that were unique and important only to me. They were strange days that only I would celebrate, and it took me away from the social circles which I observed from afar.
Is that what reinforced in me this loner attitude? Or did I self fulfill that silly little prophecy that I laid out in junior high school when I told my friends I wanted to be a hermit when I grew up?
I read somewhere recently that the number of friends you have in your social networks actually affects a part of your brain that regulates your social activities. This past year I’ve struggled with the idea that these electronic signals are tools to be used for building platforms and alliances which will further your career and goals.
But there’s something inside of me, some part that still desires to be a monk, quietly sweeping the dirt from the temple steps. And I consider all of this to be just a distraction from what I really need to accomplish in life.
This past year has been filled with some interesting moments for me.
After two years, I returned to Cozumel. The last time I was there I decided to go back to school, which led me to taking a creative writing class, then a homework assignment that grew into a novel. There were no major decisions on the beach this time, only the promise to continue on the path I’ve now set myself on.
Tragedy struck, soon after my return, when my dog ODO, passed away. I had to make that difficult decision to stand there and accompany him into the shadows, where he was reluctant to go, because he knew it meant leaving my side. I wept, and my soul was torn in a way that the hardness I had wrapped it in for so many years was permanently ripped. Now I wonder what that gaping wound will allow in, or out, of myself.
I came out, again, this time as a recovering drug addict. It was a step almost as difficult as the one I took revealing I was gay.
I started the summer reading some of the classic works of literature that I thought I had missed out on. Some were revealing, while others simply revealed why I had never read them.
I did not run that race like I had planned, or touch a volcano, but I did decide to stop chasing the next rung on the career ladder. I came to peace with my age, growing older and tried to open my eyes and ears to the stories of other people around me.
The novel is done, finished. And now I begin the journey to figure out what I want to write.
After years of thinking we would be the great industrialized nation of homophobia, I sat and watched the Senate vote to repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
I haven’t lived in Louisiana for several years, but my heart broke as I watched that oil spill threaten an already fading way of life, and sat in horror as Haiti was obliterated.
I swam with dolphins; danced with pirates and received the best gift ever – a chance to jump out of an airplane. I changed my diet, my facial hair, and my mind about adopting a child (I’ll reveal which way I’m now leaning later on).
The best moment though was the fulfillment of a longtime desire, to spend time in the French Quarter drinking with my son, long ago given up for adoption, but reunited on one of those time wasting social networks I just complained about.
We drank absinthe and watched one Lady Gaga drag another Lady Gaga down the street.
So I may not have accomplished everything I wanted to, or thought I would, or worked as hard at some things as I should have, but that’s okay because just about everything that happened, I hadn’t planned on. So my list of things for the upcoming year is as follows: