I grew up in Hawaii. Fireworks was the majority of my experience with the New Year’s holiday. I wrote a separate, long post with a story about a recent fireworks show I attended, but it doesn’t feel timely.
As a child, on the morning of January 1st, we would sweep up large heaps of gunpowder-scented red paper. It was the chore most akin to shoveling snow for Hawaiian kids. We’d glean the piles for unexploded fireworks to detonate later.
As I got older, it became about goal setting. I’ve never gone to a NYE party. In fact, I have also never dressed in a Halloween costume as an adult, except one time to take the kids trick or treating. I dressed as a lumberjack, but my skin tone made me look as if I were trying to be a member of Cypress Hill.
As far as goals go, 2014 sucked for me, and I allowed it to prevent me from living the life I wanted. I had grand design of posting my goals here ad checking up on them periodically, so I could be held accountable, and maybe put together an ebook about goalsetting and downloadable worksheets and stuff. Regarding the suckassness of 2014, perhaps more accurately, I allowed it to be an excuse to keep myself from doggedly pursuing many of my goals. I gave in to inertia. Looking back at a year of serious sleep deprivation, anxiety, far too much time spent in hospitals, career anxiety/dissatisfaction does not feel good. I’ve spent a lot of time (though not as much as my wife, who is f*cking amazing) studying the grim reality of Dravet Syndrome, at time seriously contemplating the death of children-we lost a kid this past week. As we mourn, we simultaneously extract the facts like a detective. Its souleating and crazy making. I do not feel I am doing life well, that I am not being the man I need and want to be for my family.
“How do I become antifragile if the trauma is unending, and is progressively horrible?” has been my thesis statement.
I do know the following, which I’ve learned or relearned in the last year:
1) When Paloma has a seizure, the family (even the 5yo) takes their position like a platoon of Spartans, an impenetrable phalanx supporting the little one. EMTs have praised our ability to be calm and rational in the moment. Treating a seizure is an awful thing to have to be good at, but it beats freaking out and messing up.
2) God loves me even when I want Him to shut up and go away, and there is no neutral Swiss soil where I’m out of His jurisdiction. Whether that means taking a hiatus from prayer, or imagining the Universe was cold and indifferent, or even actively wishing I could wash my hands of it and be an Atheist, if it weren’t for this pesky belief in a God who is an active participant in our lives and continues to interact with us.
3) I have the most amazing friends. When we left VA, we had to leave an older couple whom, in addition to being marriage mentors were surrogate parents to us and grandparents to the kids. They recently had a big marriage anniversary, and judging by creative energy observed in their Facebook posts, they are more excited to be married than I am to even be alive. Their love is real and infectious, and amazing to have in my life. Our church family was tremendously gracious and supportive, and their encouragement continues to help. My jiu jitsu family helped me to literally keep fighting, to get out of my own head, and I got to learn a lot about character, legacy, and determination from the white belts to the black belts. From them I learned that I want to be part of a tribe based of free association and mutual benefit, and that a simple life lived according to the principles of Bushido can be positive,
peaceful, and rewarding.
4) I am an introvert. I think I always have been, but in the past, I allowed my love of stimulating conversation to cultivate a social life with too much noise, as if I were afraid of silence. I am still fairly outgoing, and I can enjoy people, but I need to be alone. It needs to be balanced: I don’t do
“lonely” for extended periods well.
5) I am actually in control in VERY little. I knew this. I could be spiritual and say “God’s in control, I’m not going to worry about it”, but when it’s a baby suffering, I’m not apt to, in Medea talk, “let go and let God.” I do not derive comfort from not being able to make things happen, especially if it’s not for lack of oversight or preparation on my part. If it were my fault, it would be easier for me to deal with.
Although I would prefer to not re-endure the grinding hours of the past year, I am glad for these experience-borne lessons. I wouldn’t say it was worth it, but I’ll take it. I choose to, in the Hawaiian custom, make ho’oponopono with 2014: I love you, I’m sorry, please forgive me, thank you. I’m not giving up, I’m going to haul my battered carcass back to my feet, square up, and keep fighting. I’m moving on.