My 2016: tl/dr: it was hard and sad and happy and crazy and it’s all going to be okay.
This has been a tumultuous year for me. I have become quite comfortable with chaos, confusion, and disorder in my life – but 2016 just went too far in that direction.
As with everyone, there were heroes lost. People whose art, passion, or work has helped to shape who I am. This is probably more of a factor of my age than any significant anomaly.
The headline for the year was the loss of my dad. Many months later I am at a point where I both feel and understand that this will not define the rest of my life. It has been a tough road, and I have changed a lot because of it. I am keeping on, and the happy memories are outnumbering the sadness now.
It’s been very interesting professionally. Having closed the shop in December of 2015, I started 2016 teaching at the College. I’ve always liked teaching people things, but I didn’t expect to love it that much. There are parts of it I was good at, parts I wasn’t, but I was fresh out of the gate, so that’s to be expected. Connecting with this brilliant, talented, and dynamic group of young people, and helping them along their path was just about the best antidote to cynicism and despair that I can conceive.
With only time for a brief visit to the Southern friends and family after the semester ended, I started at the Hospital/St. Joe’s.
I was visiting dad in St. Joe’s Hospice when I got the call from my boss offering me the job. I was standing in the hallway in front of his room. He was very excited for me. He passed a couple of weeks before I started. My first call to that floor, to unjam a printer, was surreal. The doctors and nurses who were around for the weeks that I spent there were around again. I had a couple of minor anxiety attacks, but I was able to retreat to the safety of the basement office and wait them out.
This job has been a significant step for me on so many levels. It presents me with a constant set of problems to puzzle out, lets me interact with people, lets me occasionally just crank the tunes and hack away at a particularly stubborn issue. All of the things I love about working IT. But it also lets me do this in an environment where I am using my powers for good. This is a great feeling.
Working at the bank, or the government, I felt at best like a small cog in the big machine, and I had no connection to what the machine was producing. Now, these people are doing some of the most important work for their patients, and I am helping make it run more smoothly. I have no words to describe how important this is.
I had been housesitting, then subletting, and following a number of housing situations of varying stability, I got an apartment. With no expiry date, all to myself. This is the sixth place I’ve lived since I sold my house about 4 years ago. Not counting the week I spent at the Munro Motel. I have lost count of the total number – somewhere around 60? Suffice it to say, I haven’t unpacked in years, so I am really enjoying settling in to this space. Putting my old things, and some new things in, fitting it to me. I like my little loft on Bay St. I think I might stay put for a while.
I have spent more time alone in 2016 than any year since 2002, I would guess. It has been a year of being comfortable in my own company. I have not spent this long being romantically unattached in a decade. I had a lot of commitments, as did many of my friends, who have small versions of themselves running around their ankles. I also had a good stretch of time after dad’s passing where I just didn’t remember how to talk to anyone. There was nothing else going on at the time, other than getting through the days. It didn’t make for engaging conversation.
I am getting out with people a lot more lately. It’s reaching back towards balance.
As we come to the end of 2016, I can say “I made it!”. This didn’t always seem certain. I have had every emotion I’ve known hit the red line in the last year. But here and now, I am happy.