2013 in Retrospect

I guess it’s almost mandatory at this time of year that we look back on the year that has passed, sum it up, list some highlights, etc.  All over the news, television shows and radio, we are being bombarded with the top 10 <insert random title here> of the year.  But I write this blog for myself mainly, and the rest of you are just along for the ride.  So my list is more personal.  It is more of a record of what happened so that I can look back at it later and recollect my thoughts.  So here is 2013, in my life, in review.

2013 was a rough year.  It had it’s ups and downs, but it seems like it was more down than up.

I began the year with the threat of unemployment hanging over my head.  The contract I was on was ending, and though I work for one of the largest defense contractors in the world there were no positions available for most of the first several months.  I never went to college or got any formal education past high school, so finding a job in a technical field is sometimes difficult.  There is some merit to the statement “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”, but what you know still counts.  I had built up some experience over the previous couple of years, and I figured I’d be able to continue to advance down a career path.  But, I was wrong.

My employer finally did offer me a job.  It was several steps in the wrong direction, and a minor pay cut.  But, it was a job.  And a minor pay cut is better than a 100% pay cut.  So I took it.  Anyone who has read more than one or two of my blog posts knows, I’m not terribly happy about it.  But the bills are being paid.  In the end, for now, that’s all that matters.

I began the year as the leader of a gaming clan called Infernal Gamers.  We had 20-30 active members, and we were eagerly awaiting the release of a couple of new games so that we could recruit more people.  And then what is frequently the downfall of any project started by men happened.  A woman got involved.

A persecuted woman.  An ostracized woman.  A downtrodden woman with a disability and two “special needs” kids.  And the person that I am demanded that I engage myself in her life and attempt, by force of will and application of finances, to turn things around for her.  Drama began to swirl about, and I lost the gaming group and all the friends I had made there (with a few exceptions).  I damn near lost my wife and kids too.  Though to be fair, our marriage was already in trouble.  It was just trouble bubbling beneath the surface, which finally exploded given the correct catalyst.

The old guys from the old group formed a new group.  One or two of them made contact with me, or I with them.  A couple even came and played a game or two with me here and there.   But, I formed a new group myself.  I gathered the friends I had left, went to play Rift, and recruited new people.  Some of them are really, really good people I am very happy to have met.  But I still feel a sense of loss.

The issues are too complicated to really discuss in depth.  My view would be biased anyway, as we all see our own side of every issue.  But I am saddened by the loss of people I had long considered friends; and I am saddened by the culture which allows people who have been friends for a long time to just abandon each other.  It is, in some ways, a reflection on our society; and it is not a flattering one.

I began trying to learn to play the bass guitar in April.  I can say that I am significantly better at it than I was on day one.  But, I still have a long, long way to go.  In fact, I am not sure I will ever be “good” at it.  But, the attempt to learn to play bass has lead me to a new understanding.  One which I have not yet fully embraced, but I am working on it.  As I have learned new lines, or conquered new challenges, and spent hours listening to and playing parts of some of my favorite songs, I have had a good time.  If I never learn the bass well enough to be considered a “musician”, I will not have wasted my time.  I have filled some hours with something that I enjoy, and sometimes it is the journey and not the destination that is important.

I had a falling out with my kids, and then we patched things up.  I do not think things are exactly as they once were, but it is possible that it is me that sees it that way and not them.

My daughter began driving…and totaled her car.  She cut across a street and got T-boned in the driver’s side.  Bumps and bruises, but no serious injuries (thank God).  She got a used car from her grandma and got back up on the horse.  Two weeks ago she drove from her mom’s house to mine and back to spend the weekend with me.  Man time flies…..

The year is ending with everything “okay”.  The wife and I worked some things out, though we still fuss.  The kids and I worked everything out…though we still fuss too.  I have a few good friends, and a few new enemies.  I have a job (good), but I hate it (bad).

I guess I’m better off than some and worse off than others.

I’m alive and kicking, and so there is always hope.  I guess we’ll see what 2014 brings.

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