Looking Forward, Not Backward

There were a few things in 2016 that were good.

  • Ei-Nyung & I started working with a therapist, Michael Schimek. Look, I know it’s weird to talk about, if you haven’t seen a therapist. But the weird thing for me is that I reached out randomly on Facebook asking if anyone knew a good therapist, and I got dozens of responses, often from people I didn’t expect, with recommendations. I don’t remember why we went to see Michael, but he was someone Ei-Nyung had found, and I was still reluctant at first. But it’s been life-changing, and I see so many people around me who’d benefit from this process that I feel like not talking about it is a disservice to the people who feel like seeing a therapist is a cop-out or somehow an indication of an internal failing on their part or whatever.

    He’s helped us communicate better. He’s helped us understand our respective baggage better. He’s helped me get over work trauma that dominated my life for years, and not spend every waking moment consumed with frustration and anger. I can’t recommend him, specifically, highly enough, but more I really hope that for my friends, when they find themselves in over their head in their relationships, or when they’re depressed or consumed by something, that they’d reach out to someone and get help. We learn to read. We learn math. We learn about how the world works. But we don’t get a lot of education about how we interact with each other, and how we understand our own feelings. We don’t get practice understanding why we feel the way we do, and why we react the way we do. Instead of falling into a pattern and just saying, “Well, this is who I am,” therapy has helped me improve who I am. Understand who I am. Understand who I want to be, and how to get there. If you’re reading this and thinking, “Yeah, that would be good,” find someone. If you’re local, talk to Michael. You don’t have to be resigned to misery. You can make it better. And if you need help to do it, it doesn’t make you weak.

  • I love my job. I love the people I’m working with. Sure, it’s not always easy. But it remains a fascinating, educational, often inspirational experience. I wish certain elements were going better, and early 2017 will be a make-or-break period for us. But I’m proud of the work we’ve done, and I’m proud of how far we’ve come. Let’s see if we can get to where we need to be.
  • The kids are amazing. I know, they’re always amazing, but in the last few weeks, they’ve gotten to a point where they can really play together, and not need a lot of supervision. K’s really growing fast, and becoming super expressive. Sometimes a little tricky to understand – where with J, we could take the time to tease out what he meant while trying to articulate complicated thoughts, with K we don’t always have that luxury. But he tells funny jokes. He observes interesting things and loves to tell us about them. He’s an astonishingly generous kid, and deeply thoughtful in some interesting ways. J’s in 1st grade now, and just starting to really hit his stride reading, where he can read aloud at nearly “full-speed”, which is pretty awesome. He reads sometimes to K, and it’s just ridiculously adorable.

In most other ways, though, 2016 was a total rat-fuck of a year. There’s the obvious stuff going on on the national front. No sense in rehashing that here, but I thought W was clearly going to be the worst president of my lifetime, but I think we’re gonna find out in 2017 that we weren’t even close. I’ve basically removed myself from Twitter and Facebook ever since Election Day, and I think it’s been a really positive change in my life. I’m definitely less connected to news. I’m also somewhat less connected to distant family, which sucks, and peripheral/distant friends. I think for close friends, though, not having that drip-feed of their life will make face-to-face interactions more interesting, not less. I’m also wasting less time and mostly paying more attention to reality, which is an obvious plus.

I miss some of the passive observer elements of FB/Twitter – I essentially had “access” to a lot of perspectives I can’t get in my day-to-day life. So I think finding some happy medium where I dramatically cut out almost everyone & everything on Twitter except things that really, genuinely matter to me on a moment-to-moment basis is in my future somewhere, and even then, my participation on social media will probably still be radically reduced. I often feel a moment where I want to have a “take” on something. To announce to the world that I’ve picked up the clarinet today, or that I wired a new outlet in the wall. Or whatever. But why the fuck would you care about that? You wouldn’t. It’s just noise.

Instead, if I write something, I’ll sit down & write something. Got an idea for a board game I really want to make someday. Might dive into that in the evenings. Got some house repair that needs doing – painting over a place where paint blistered. Patching a wall. Small stuff like that, but there’s a lot of it, since the house has settled over the last 10 years. We’ve got a bit of stuff on the exterior that’s getting done as well. Just had the back of the house re-stuccoed, since the previous job (done in 2001) was garbage. Still need to get the trim on the windows re-done, but that’s fine. Gonna also get a deck built in the back, and the fence around the left & front sides of the house re-built, since it’s completely collapsed on the side. So maybe 2017 has some elements of literal rebuilding.

But between my dad’s accident, the results of work being quite difficult, and national events, I’ll be happy to see 2016 out the door. 2017 brings some massive challenges. Do or die for work. Nationally, a new administration that will need to be fought – and not just on social media, but through positive action. Figuring out what my role in that will be interesting.

For 2017, my goals are:

  • Wonderspark survives the year and is on the path to growth.
  • Family remains healthy (given the circumstances) and happy.
  • Get my parents out to CA in a house they’ll be happy in ASAP.
  • Get enough sleep to be patient with the kids, motivated, creative, and productive.
  • Lose 15 lbs, initially through a 5-2 diet, and build strength through weight training.
  • Play more music.
  • Create something interesting. Board game, novel, whatever. Who knows. But something significant & finished by the end of 2017.