At midnight tonight, one of the worst years I’ve experienced on this planet comes to a merciful end. Coming off of the emotional rollercoaster that was 2017, I had no idea what this past year was going to bring. I started the year without a job and with no solid prospects and while my health had improved, I was still far from where I wanted to be. I still had my home and some funds I could tap into when things got a bit lean, but no real plan for moving forward.
Shortly after my birthday in April, I was driving to a park to take a walk (that’s Atlanta) when I got stuck at a malfunctioning traffic light. Sitting there, I asked myself “Why am I doing this?” I haven’t been happy in my hometown for quite a while and the population continues to spiral out of control and the traffic gets worse every day. When I got back home, I called a realtor and put my condo on the market. I figured I could be broke and homeless anywhere and it didn’t seem like there was anything keeping me here. As luck would have it, I accepted an offer on my place and a few days later, was offered a job doing what I’ve been doing for the past twenty years. My brother invited me to stay in the guest room of a house he’s renting and once I got set up in the job, I found an apartment.
One consequence of not wanting to drive in town was that I started getting up really early to take walks around my neighborhood before the city woke up, which I continued after moving. In fact, I probably started walking too much, maybe not giving my body enough time to recover in between. Since moving to the apartment, I’ve replaced the really long walks with writing for an hour or so first thing, then walking for an hour before getting breakfast and starting work. My weight is the lowest it’s been since I was in college and my blood pressure and blood sugar, which had been problematic, are back within healthy limits. I also had a short play produced over the summer and published Rebecca, Too by the end of the year.
Being out of work for more than a year takes quite a toll on a person. Had I not been offered a job when I was there’s no telling where I’d be now or what I’d be doing. The only thing close to a plan I had was to hit the road and see where that took me. This past year has been very educational on a variety of levels, but fortunately, I never gave up. The most important lesson I’ve learned is that, left to my own devices, I will do whatever it takes to survive.
2019, bring it on.