(This is going to be a bit all over the place).
YOU know, I think this was a good year. Apart from a tough last four months a lot of great things happened and there was a fair bit of growth.
Sitting on the grass with some friends and feeling really connected to them after playing soccer at a park was a memorable January moment. I used to struggle a lot with ‘feeling connected’ to people and this was an encouraging way to kick off the year.
The first half of the year is a bit of a blur. I was moderately happy in my job, house and life. I can’t even remember if I was fighting sin successfully or not. Hmmmmm. Just at this moment I’m a little disappointed I can’t think of anything too exciting happening from February to April. My house, job, friends, infatuation all carried over from the previous year…so yeah…(Half an hour later Chris returns to this section) Actually I do remember something good that happened in the first half of 2009. I felt a small attraction to a couple of females. It was pretty exciting at the time. ‘Look, I’m changing’.
In May the year went from ho hum to yay. I went to a week-long journalism conference. I didn’t leave the week thinking ‘wow, this was great,’ but I gained confidence that I can succeed, because I went out of my comfort zone and didn’t do too badly. The food was good too.
This would begin the best part of the year for me. For the next three weeks I was looking forward to a three week holiday. The holiday itself was great as well, haha. I had my first jet plane flight, spent some quality time with one of my best mates, went to a same sex attraction retreat in Sydney and enjoyed exploring by myself. In the past I would have been ‘oh no people will think I’m a massive loner/loser ’cause I’m by myself,’ but I didn’t mind. In some ways, on holiday and later, I truly felt like an adult man for the first time. Maybe it used to be like I was walking around in a man’s body worried that someone would discover I was a scared 15-year-old inside. But now I was an initiator entering my world with confidence and power. In June/July/August this was a powerful feeling in my life that did seep out a bit as I wearied in the third quarter.
I came back to my regular life on top of the world. Yeah, baby. In the second half of the year I started playing table tennis, which gave me another weeknight out along with my Christian small group. I also moved houses in July. At the time I liked the house: it was cheap, I had plenty of space to cook and my own bathroom, the bike track was nearby and the internet was fast. But apart from two long conversations with the people I lived with, we exchanged about three words a day. I think their ambivalence to me was more draining then it seemed at the time. I would stay there three months.
Also in July work got a little bit exciting. I was given the role of sports coordinator and quickly became a little bit obsessed with making the football pages look great. I succeeded. Truly it is exciting to help make an ugly arrangement of words and pictures beautiful. We also changed some of the sports graphics at my instigation (five months on I still have to push for them to be used properly, ugh). Filling in Sunday afternoons had been a problem for me as I wanted to attend church in the town where I work, but didn’t want to follow this up with an hour long car drive to visit a friend or see family. So I basically spent it on the internet. Then I decided to take soccer pictures. So for about five weeks I spent Sunday afternoons on the soccer field shooting pics of the local games. I enjoyed it; it filled in time and I got some good shots. Also got an infatuation with a soccer player; whoops. It was mild and he went overseas and the crush disappeared. Amazing that. Usually my infatuations lingered way past the time they should have, but maybe I was changing so I wasn’t so desperately clinging to people.
So we come to my late year funk, which seemed worse because I had just been in the best mood of my life for a couple of months. It was September when the funk started. Nothing bad happened to set it off; just lots of little things. My exciting infatuation feelings were gone, work was boring, I looked at porn on September 16, my house didn’t feel like a home, winter was lingering, friends were busy more often, I spent $400 at the dentist etc etc. Then I tried to find a new job and it just didn’t happen. There weren’t that many jobs that matched my skills and experience, and I didn’t even get an interview for the ones that did. I felt stuck. I felt like small town life with its narrow-mindedness was sucking the life out of me.
Also late year I had about a month and a half of truly horrible sleep. Like four hours one night, 3.5 the next and then five the next. Lack of sleep can ruin a day even when I can function pretty well on an oily rag. I’m back in a sleeping cycle and have even had a couple of day time naps, which is highly unusual for me.
The thing about my funk is it wasn’t entirely situational. Though my problems were real they were the same ones I had in June/July/August when I felt great. It was kind of like mild depression or something though it wasn’t because I wasn’t sad or apathetic. I just felt crap. But it wasn’t all horrible. In early October I had a day in Melbourne with three friends. It was the kind of day you want to make a fragrance out of because it was just good. The train broke down or something on the way home and we had to wait an hour to catch buses. Good travelling times. Also I made a new friend in town and built some stronger. The past 10 weeks I’ve averaged a game of tennis every week or so with four different people, which has been great as well.
Towards the end of the year my job got ridiculously monotonous. I was/am doing crap and struggled to get a story in the first 15 pages of the paper most weeks. (This means I’m not doing any of the exciting big news stories, but am further back in the paper with the less important articles). Part of this is because I’m kind of a sucky journalist; part of it is the nature of the news team at my paper. My boredom with work led me to try to make it interesting. I’ve tried to get out of the office as much as possible to take pictures at places a half-an-hour drive away. As the weather warmed up if I happened to be near a beach at lunchtime I went and hopped in the water. For me doing new things or old things differently gives me a feeling of confidence and freshness.
The past two months have been defined by my third place of residence of the year, which became a home. I had to get out of second house, so I placed an advert in my newspaper seeking a room. The only genuine response was from a family seeking another boarder. So I took it and had the first second storey bedroom of my life and someone else to cook my meals. The really affecting thing has been some of the interactions. With people in real life I always feel like I’m the one engaging. I’m the one asking the questions, probing the answers and making suggestions. This a perception that isn’t entirely based in reality. It’s also because I myself drift towards the role of the listener rather than the talker. Lately I’ve noticed my friends engaging me more (ie phone conversation with mate last week he listened and probed as I detailed three issues I was dealing with.) Anyway the point of all that was to say the mother in the house engages me a lot about my life and criticises and suggests stuff and gets in my face. I think it has been helpful without making me feel like a 16-year-old dealing with a mother-type figure. I man up when I need to.
Yeah, the guy I mentioned in my last blog post who was boarding at the same house as me was a pretty big part of October, November and early December. As it is so recent it sticks in my head, but in ten years time I don’t think it will define 2009 for me. Though sitting in a big outdoor spa with him at night sipping beer and talking about deep stuff is a pretty powerful memory. I learnt a lot because of him and still am. My main summarisation of the situation after he left in the other blog post still stands: I shouldn’t have gone and sought masculine validation from a broken 19-year-old, but should have sought to build him up as a man.
Sometimes I feel like such a late developer. This year I bought my first slab of beer, my first mobile phone contract, my first debit bank card I can use over the internet, my first plane ride and asked a girl out for the first time.
I feel good right now about the future. Maybe I’ll quit my job and move to Melbourne without another job waiting for me. Maybe I won’t. But I’m not scared of taking a risk and I know if it goes bad; it’s only going to go so bad. Maybe I’ll find a girl and get married. Maybe I won’t. I will be sanctified either way.
And God? He knows and He was here. He’s working on me. He’s awesome.
Here’s to 2010. With Him.
Bring it on.