So here’s my annual list of top ten personal highs and lows. This year, I’m dividing it into five good things and five (plus one) bad things. 2011 was a year I definitely won’t forget, and until a few months ago, I found it pretty disagreeable. There were some really shitty times along the way, but it rallied toward the end and I’m ultimately very happy with how my year went. Naturally, I have some worries and fears regarding the upcoming year. My future feels increasingly uncertain and my age is growing increasingly increased, but I feel like I have some opportunities to do something really good with it.
Let’s start with the bad first. The lists are given in chronological order, NOT the order of . . . I don’t know. Importance.
- I failed to live up to my New Year’s Resolutions from last year. I will continue to try and live up to them this year. It’s a vicious cycle. The big ones: get some more writing done. Specifically, write something that you can sell. I want to be a writer, so I need to stop writing some much goddamn esoteric, grim, personal crap. I’m currently in the middle of an absurdly uncommercial short story project, but I dig it and I’m going to finish it, and I’m hopefully going to co-write a script with one of my roommates, and I’m going to write a western. Also, I really need to get into better shape. I’m not overweight, but I still need to get in better shape. I’m currently the heaviest I’ve ever been.
- My summer was pretty shitty. I had big plans. I was going to do fun stuff. I was going to be productive, but I didn’t get to do much of anything. No canoeing or white-water rafting. No swimming. No impromptu road trips. No amusement park. In fact, I was kind of lonely for most of the summer. And what really kills me, people were actually doing fun stuff. I just rarely get a heads up about it. Again, aware of my age, there may be only so much longer that I can do some of the fun stuff I want to do.
- The roommate we got off of craigslist last year. He was a kid. Christian. Big into sports. Also, it turns out he had a raging cocaine problem, stole some of my checks from my underwear drawer (I since moved the checks), and wrote himself a lot of forged checks. Me, being a dumbass, didn’t catch on for a while. And then, my bank initially refused to reimburse me for honoring these checks. But in the end, I kicked him out, the bank was persuaded to change their mind, and I got a new better roommate. Bonus that made this whole episode kind of hilarious: the stash of she-male porn we discovered in his bedroom.
- The death of Schuyler. One night, some friends of mine met at a bar and we had some drinks. I left a little earlier than everyone else. One of my friends, Schuyler, then left on his bike to attend a show a few blocks away. Unfortunately, he fell off his bike, hit his head, and never woke up. He wasn’t wearing a helmet. This was devastating. Schuyler was selfless, sweet, and reliable. When I got back from a roadtrip and posted something about hanging out on Facebook, Schuyler was the only one who responded. We saw Attack the Block less than a week before he died. We were talking about how awesome Breaking Bad was, and he was planning to dress as Walter White for Halloween. In the days leading up to this incident, he inquired multiple times on Facebook about getting someone together to play Frisbee. I was busy at work, but was intending to take him up on this over the weekend. Schuyler was 33 years old, and this loss was epic.
- Towards the end of the year, it occurred to me that I need to ditch some of my friends. At least two are regularly assholes. I never know what is going to set them off, and I always feel on guard in their presence. While I’m not happy about losing friends, I don’t want assholes for friends, and I’m not at all cool with being condescended to on a regular basis. Another friend of mine has proven radically flakey. And another friend of mine has been hurt badly by unchecked alcoholism. He's attempting to go sober. But of course, it’s a struggle. I want to be supportive. I try to do stuff with him that doesn’t involve drinking, but it's not working out. These people are still a part of my life, but it isn't like it used to be, which sucks.
- Bonus: My Staph infection. This thing really sucked. My hand is still kind of fucked up. It was disgusting. It was painful. It was expensive. As far as we can figure, it stemmed from a spider bite. Apparently, I’m prone to Staph infections now.
- The Snow Day. It was sometime in January. There were a few snow days last year. The first was uneventful as I didn’t do much but hang out in my apartment by myself. But the second snow day . . .On that day, I was let off from work early. Before the snow even started. I went home and it seemed almost as if there wasn’t going to be any snow at all, but then it hit. A friend of mine invited me to go sledding. And it was awesome. I met some new friends. Had some hot chocolate. Hung out and chatted. And then went home and walked with my roommate to the local bar. A bunch of friends who were working at the nearby movie theater decided it would be best to come back to our place and crash there rather than driving home. So everyone came back to my place, and we drank and hung out until four or five in the morning. The next morning, we got up and got brunch at the coffee shop down the block. This is exactly what snow days should be.
- I was really, really wanting to shoot something. A video project. "Black Midas." I initially intended to shoot something small and rough. I eventually decided to just pull the trigger and shoot it one weekend. A friend of mine dropped out at the last minute, and I couldn’t get all the equipment together, and I wasn’t able to reconcile certain schedules. I felt as if it wasn’t going to happen, but I was able to replace the lead actor with one of the friends I met while sledding and people came through. It was a fantastic experience having so many friends come out to help me shoot this thing. It turned out to be a much bigger endeavor than I was expecting. I’m really grateful for it and very surprised. Now, I just need the post-production process to finish up.
- I did a little more traveling this year than I usually do. For Memorial Day weekend, my roommate Matt and I went to Chicago. It was a hell of a lot of fun. There was a lot of walking, a lot of drinking, a lot of rain and cold wind. But it was a blast. I would do something like that again in a second. I went camping with another friend in late Spring. I would have rather gone when it was warmer out and done some canoeing or white water rafting, but I’ll take what I can get. I even went to Bonnaroo again, which I had mixed feelings about. And I went on a fantastic cross country road trip and camped in Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. I got in hot springs with snakes and giant spiders. I drank absinthe in a cave full of bats. A bat got in my car. I went on a wild twelve plus mile hike up a mountain. I watched a thunder storm from a cave. I had an amazing time. And then I arrived at Telluride and spent the week writing, reading, getting drunk, and of course watching movies. An excellent road trip.
- Another upside to kicking out my old roommate, we replaced him with someone I get along with much better. Now, everyone in the apartment watches movies, drinks a lot, doesn’t believe in God, and doesn’t give a rat’s ass about sports. It’s fantastic. Hopefully, we’ll get around to co-writing a script soon. I’m probably spending too much time sitting on the couch watching movies, but let’s be honest, that’s what I was doing before. I now enjoy hanging out in my apartment. It’s an arrangement that probably won’t last all that long. I am fully aware that someone will most likely have to move on sometime soon. I guess that’s a part of getting older. Yadda, yadda. Thinking about these things isn’t all that great, but this isn’t the Golden Girls. You can’t spend your life living with friends and having fun all the time. Or so I’m told. Right now, though, it’s great.
- Breaking Bad. I love serialized, dramatic TV shows. And this year, breaking Bad kicked my ass. Even more awesome, I got to watch it with other people who love it. It was a totally shared experience. That last season was excruciatingly tense. I sincerely hope that someday I write something half that amazing. It may only be a TV show, but it was a fantastic ride.
And there is my top ten for the year. I’m posting this on my 36th birthday. I suppose it’s time to grow up. Although, I make enough money to live on. I’m self-reliant. I have savings. I’m not especially immature despite the fact that I love alcohol, pizza, horror movies, and cartoons. So, I don’t really know what constitutes growing up. I’ve never been all that interested in getting married and having a family. God, that sounds awful just writing it. And I don’t think everyone has to raise children. There’s too many as it is. I don’t feel like living alone and buying a pet. I’m allergic to dogs and cats anyway. What else am I supposed to be doing? I guess I could go into debt and have a better place to live, but I’m completely content where I am. I get bored sometimes. Especially late at night. But that’s when I should just pull out a book and do some reading. Which I sometimes do. Right now, my strategy is to keep my body in the best shape it can be. Keep as much free time available as possible to pursue writing, consuming pop, and having fun. And hopefully keep meeting new people. I’d like to finally write that novel this year. Yeah, right, We’ll see if that happens. I’d like to lose a little weight. I’d like to finally write that commercial script and make some money off writing. I’d like to actually go to an amusement park, go camping and canoeing, and even go to a haunted house around Halloween. If only my birthday were in the fall or summer. I’d totally have ideas for things people could do. But in January? I’m lucky if I could get someone to go to a bar with me. Everyone’s sick. Booooo! So that’s where I am: thinking about the good and bad from last year - mostly the good. And wondering if I’m wasting my life, but mostly happy that I’m healthy enough, lucky enough, and well off enough to fritter away my life the way I want to.