My Year in Review

Every December, after the spending frenzy of Christmas is over, and before the New Year, we are all subjected to innumerable year end lists. Best and Worst dressed, biggest news story, a recap of all the celebrity deaths over the past year, the political and celebrity scandals and divorces that made the news that year. Each of these stories is scaffolded by individual stories of people and how the year has played out for them. Here is the story of my year.

In January, after having lived in Dallas for 15 years, I moved back to Commerce (ironically, where I moved to Dallas from in 1996) so I could take a job as the Assistant Director of the Writing Center at Texas A&M-Commerce. Living in Commerce has been a mixture of good and bad. The good: the commute is very short, the rent is very cheap so I don’t have to have a second job to make ends meet. The bad: Commerce itself, the AA meetings here are filled with people who are only there to get their papers signed and who double share. Yet, there is a certain symmetry in moving back to finish a degree at a school I left for all the wrong reasons fifteen years ago. After having lived in Dallas so long, it was difficult to move back to a small town, especially one like Commerce. One would think that a college town would be fun, but Commerce certainly is not like any college town I’ve ever lived in. The natives seem to do everything they can to keep the town from being a “college town” i.e. a liberal town. As I have said, the gene pool in Commerce is very shallow. But nothing lasts forever, and the end of my time here is in sight. I’m hoping to move back to Dallas in the Fall (or summer if I’m lucky).
I don’t really believe in the whole “bucket list” idea, but I did do something in May that I have been wanting to do for years, I drove to California. A friend of mine was moving there and needed someone to drive one of his cars out there with him. So during the break in May, I drove a Mercedes SUV (what an amazing car!) to Palm Springs. I absolutely loved Palm Springs and would like to go back and hang out for a longer time. While I was there I had a sort of break down/break through. I have this huge problem with feeling inadequate, especially when I’m around people who seem to have a lot of self confidence. I used to be more confident; I don’t really know what happened. But I decided to go back into therapy after that so that was a good thing.
I turned 45 this year…so if I live to be as old as my Dad was when he died at 83, I’m more than halfway through my life. I have decided that I want to make the last half of my life count for something. I don’t want to spend the rest of my time either trying to relive the past or engage in unrealistic dreams about the future. I want to get back some of that confidence I used to have back in the day.
In September, I bought another car (which makes about the 18th car I’ve had since I was 15) because the lease on my VW is up in 2012. I have always loved old Mercedes Benz, and I found a great deal on a 1984 300D turbo…this is the second one of these I’ve had…
I’ve decided to get back into the dating scene…although that’s a dicey prospect when I live in Commerce…too many closet cases out here. Part of what I want for the second half of my life is to find people to date…and possibly someone to marry…although, as Bruce Horton says, it’s difficult to get a boyfriend after you have 10+ years sober because you’re no longer so co-dependent. I totally get that.
I didn’t hate Christmas as much this year as in the past. It seemed to come and go quite quickly. I will probably never like it as much as my friend Greg does, or as much as I did even at one time. Christmas is for kids, and it was fun watching my niece and nephews enjoy it so much.
So looking forward to this year, in January I will have been sober 15 years, I plan to move back to Dallas where all my friends are. I’m working on self-publishing a collection of my KERA essays on Amazon. I am cultivating new friendships and trying not to be too dependent on two or three people for my self esteem. And I’m looking forward to completing the coursework for my PhD this summer, take my exams in the fall, and defend my dissertation proposal next spring. I’m so ready to be finished and for the next chapter of my life to begin.

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