There was a trending idea in 2016 that things were more terrible than other years. Lots of famous celebrities died, certain people were elected, and certain countries separated.
Does that really affect you? And by affect you, I mean, does it change the way you are going to live your life?
I going to be in my mid thirties this year– and maybe it’s because [CM] and I have been living such busy and isolated lives out here in Sydney that I’ve become cynical of cynics.
My grandfather passed away in 2016. It was a bit difficult for me, because there are dimensions of strangeness to experiencing an environment of family grief vicariously through Google Hangouts and emails. But I also got to see my family come together a bit. And that was nice.
As time goes on, I am appreciating family more and more. This is a strange turn of events, considering that I am also further from most family than ever before.
I got really injured in 2016– I tore my adductor longus doing judo, which is the muscle in your groin area that alows you to pull your leg inwards. I coulding walk for a couple of weeks, and even now, more than half a year later, I still feel weakness in my leg to do a soccerball pass type kicking motion. That injury put me out of sports for half a year. It was a very tough time for me mentally– but I think I’ve gotten over it, and I’m mentally a tougher person because of it.
- I got married. (Twice! Once in Sydney for our new Australian friends and family, and once in Montreal for our Canadian friends and family.)
- Grandpa passed. Which was a bad thing, but if you know what I mean, it’s also a good thing.
- I got to visit family in Montreal for the first time in a long time– Grandpa even made it to our wedding.
- We bought a house. And we put down a deposit on an investment property.
- I built a floor! Or rather, we tore up all the carpets, and replaced it with wood. This might not seem like much, but when I was growing up, my family was all about home renovations. My parents are very handy people, and it was always a matter of pride as much as economics to build the home up to be a place to live in which has history in the actual walls. This was my first major project.
- I also built a bedside nightstand. The finished product doesn’t look anything like what was planned, but the cats like to sleep in it, so I guess I can’t complain too much.
- I quit a part time job as a tutor (the equivalent of a “teaching assistant” in North America) and was lucky enough to land a job as a lecturer (a higher ranking sort of teacher) at a bigger university, as part of the law school I attended.
- I was given raises at my primary job. Twice. And I now have an army of interns to help me out.
- I finally managed to fix up my garage gym.
- I finally got a driver’s license. After over 3 decades on this planet, yes, I have a driver’s license. That also entailed actually learning to drive, which wasn’t easy. Aside from the problems that come with learning manual generally, being a cyclist, I had this problem of constantly wanting to centre myself in the lane according to my field of vision (rather than the shape of the car)
- I finally managed to go back to New York, and we even managed to meet up with a form Xangan, [VisualNoise]. I’ve been reading his stuff for… what? A decade? Almost two?
Maybe it’s because I don’t spend all that much time on Facebook nowadays (believe it or not, I actually have to manage my online persona for professional reasons) but I don’t see what was so bad about 2016. Maybe social media makes us feel more a part of something if we jump onboard and have a big bitch together.
I frankly don’t have the time or energy for that. And further, I don’t see the point, if I’m not going to or can’t do something about it.
I was just reflecting on something– when I was younger, when I was leaving high school and spending time in college, there were a number of things that I wanted to do with my life. WIthout even remembering my goals back then, they just sort of happened. It just took another couple of decades to make it happen.
When I was young, I thought it would be great if I could open up my own martial arts school. Well, I’ve not exactly done it, but I’ve done it pretty damn close– I’ve opened (and closed) a handfull of martial arts clubs by renting other peoples’ gyms over the past couple of decades. I’ve taught a bit too, basics anyway.
And now I have a home dojo set up in the garage– with 8 sections of tatami set out. I’ve had people over a handful of times so far, and it has been great.
I always wanted to be a teacher. When I was in college, I was too much of fuckup to do things by the book– I spent too much time skipping classes and playing videogames to really get the paperwork and grades straight.
But now, I’ve graduated with honours, have been working as a repsectable lawyer for a couple of years, and have a part time gig lecturing at my old law school.
“People change” and “people never change” are cliches, I suppose.
- Finally got issues sorted out with Red Cross, and am back on the donor list. Apparently since I started donating blood for shits and giggles a few years ago, I’ve saved 36 lives. That is probably a lot of marketing exaggeration, but it’s nice of them to say things like that nonetheless. GIven that I’m one of those almost universal donor types, I guess you can say that I’m hot stuff in the blood donor world (ahem). But the way I look at it, if you believe in tit for tat, one day I might need blood, and being a universal donor also means that I’m a rare blood type that has a lot of trouble finding people who can give me blood. I guess you can say I’m hedging my cosmic bets and hoping it all balances out.
- I’m back in training. There is a new generation of fresh 18 and 19 year old judokas at the dojo who are only getting stronger and faster as the weeks go– but I’ll do my best to beat them down and, if nothing else, use me as a stepping stone to greater heights.
- We’ve started gardening. There’s some satisfaction that comes with growing things again– I haven’t done any gardening since I lived at my parents’ place, about a decade ago. It’s the mark of “owning your own place” to be gardening.
- We’ve got a worm farm composter on the way (in the mail). Again… we get satisfaction out of really making our home our castle. It’s a nice state of life to be in because we’re finally in a place of our own, as opposed to something we’re renting and have no control over. We don’t actually know anything about composting, but as we become a bit more in control of how we live our lives, it’s our chance now to dictate with more control how much of an impact we have on our environment.
- We’ve started bushwalking (“hiking”, as it’s called in North America). Which is what you should do in a place like Australia, because there is so much out there that we’ve never taken the time to look at while we were in law and med school.
Just saying–2016 doesn’t look that bad, and 2017 looks like just as many opportunities. Shit happens, but it only gets real bad if we don’t do anyhing about it or spend too much time thinking about things that don’t matter.
Anyway, I’m off work sick today. Should probably get back in bed.