Happy New Year! This post is a compliment to both a facebook post about some joy captured in 2020 and to our 2021 New Years card. The gift of 2020 (for me) was a slower and more intentional approach to being happy. It is a gift that I am exploring ways to share. My ideal method? – let’s talk! – Looking for Randy and Chris updates? – read on, check social media and call me for all the truths we are living. I like to talk. Duh…
It’s been a rollercoaster. I headed into 2020 with a lot of anxiety about what my company would do (my team and I had just rebooted and fixed our sales challenges), Chris and I were renting out our home and moving, and it was clear that Covid would change the direction of the dreams we had- but in general, things were looking up. Things ahead of us were generally good, that is, if we could look away from the shit show of 2020 that was emerging around us. Both Chris and I embrae the positive and mini-victories because we have each other and because we have gained perspective. We got through AIDS, we’ll get through this. My rollercoaster is less bumpy, or I am accustomed to the twists and turns. After many laps and loops, I have more skills to adapt. I’m enjoying the ride, at least I don’t feel like I’m going b to vomit.
Turning 50 was tough. In hindsight I’ve read and learned about a KNOWN mental health challenged most men encounter between the ages of 48-55. Midlife manopause. I had lots of internal and external presssure to embrace 50 as “no big deal.” This was especially true from those that love me that had already made it solidly and healthily through the occasion – and though their efforts were in love and meant to be helpful – very often they were not. In light of Covid and all the other geopolitical issues, my ego and the universe of me turning 50 paled in comparision. I got that. While I empraced the truth and learning and love in all of this, my 50th was tough. Shadows of that time still haunt me. I’m better now. One of my big 2020 successes? I admitted I needed help. I asked for help. I got help. I took steps to help myself. I constantly reminded myself of the love and support I have and that I earned. I dipped into my own resevior of resources, grit and resiliance. I took some steps, most of which I’m still taking – and I feel better.
I am better.
Throughout the year I also have been thinking a lot about my mother and others in my family that have or have had depression or other mental health issues. I am being open and public about mine, in part, to try and stop the isolation I perceived my mother to have with her challenges. I look back and remember her sometimes distant and sad face, her deep sighs and feel seen in my own challenges. Luckily she would light up, recover and sparkle like a firefly at the site of her kids (regarless of whatever bullshit we were pulling) and (especially) her grandchildren. Even more luckily, she was surrounded by her kids and grandkids often. This didn’t, however, erase her sadness and challenges. I am looking for and finding the things that make me sparkle not to hide my challenges, but to counterbalance them. That, for me, is what 2020 has been – about finding both balance and counterbalance. This extrovert uncle is looking forward to a vaccine and a big fucking group hug. Hell, I’ll be the weirdo with the “free hugs” sign. Covid be dammed. I’ll enjoy the bumpy roller coaster despite my inclination to get off and take a nap instead.
Before I move on to a 2021 filled with “great, it’s not 2020” expectations, I have been thinking that there are a lot of things I really, really enjoyed about 2020. As I embrace 2021, I am focusing on that. Here is a partial list:
- I’ve found my inner introvert and embraced the daily snuggle as well as a quieter internal monologue. (yes, I do have internal thoughts not externally expressed)
- Chris created the 50th celebration to be remembered in the height of a lot of personal and professional uncertainty, proving yet again, I married WAY up.
- My pod found some quieter ways to enjoy downtown and togetherness- I’ve discovered new ways to love Trish, Den, Zola, Oscar, Dani, Gracie, Alex, Skeeter – and I smothered them in bread and cocktail experiments. We had amazing (safe) visits to our pod throughout the year.
- I found refuge in the Bay Area, metaphorically and actually – and we were safely evacuated and suffered no damage from the fire. Jim, Marilee, Elizabeth, Cindy/JaNell – provided homes away from home – safe, welcoming and warm.
- a RAIN (Tara Bracht) based meditation practice has deepened my personal resolve and strengthen a core friendship
- Got off Wellbutrin for all the right reasons and had all the desired results.
- We moved – mostly managed by me – Chris and team opened Casa Secoya -we watched families come here and have a joyful moment or two in the midst of certain uncertainty.
- Been inspired by parents – and especially the Brandts and the Grey’s – on how they have worked to cherish the time with kids and create a sense of stability normalcy while the world freaks out. And the Brandts can crush a cocktail gift basket – that alone was inspirational.
- I worked the election polls and got to make as many poll dancing references as I wanted.
- Chris and I had some lovely alone time that didn’t feel lonely – it actually helped make 2020 a pretty great experience.
- I can look at the nonsense of Trump, social media, Fox news and not get swept in or swept under – I still see the strength of our democracy and the resiliance of our collective political will. Soon the village idiot will have his mic turned off and we can go back to a more normative and values-based engagement.
2020 – it was a tough year, sure. We had food, health, housing, love and friendship. We don’t fear unequal treatment under the law because of the color or our skin. So, we push for change and count our blessings. Mostly, however, we do like our parents did: we work hard, play hard and take steps towards our goals without waiting.
2020 was filled with great things too. I want to focus on that and would love to hear something that was good for you this year- and yes, I’ll still join you in prayer for the end of the challenges – but for me and for now, I am celebrating the good in 2020 and now 2021 (not the least of which is the END of 2020!). That celebration probably starts at home, with me- trying to be a better me. Have an idea on that… fire away, I’m open to suggestiosn.
Have fun, laugh often @randymarcotte