Here we are again. 2017 is on its last day and we face down a new year. Often, this causes people to reflect on the past year and look ahead to the year approaching. This often leads to New Year’s Resolutions, which many people may know I have historically been incredibly outspoken against.
Let me clarify – I have no problem whatsoever with self-reflection and making goals for growth and self-improvement. That is actually quite wonderful. In fact, it’s such a good thing that I don’t think one should do it only at the new year. It should be a constant process. But at this point, it’s pretty much a cliche – “I want to lose weight”, “I want to get a new job”, “I want to earn a promotion/raise at my current job”, “I want to run a marathon”, and so on it goes. Laudable goals that are far too large in scope and vague in purpose that it’s hardly any wonder that most people fall away from them quickly. Of course if you’re saying “I resolve to lose 50 pounds this year!” you’re asking for trouble – that’s too big and ill-defined a goal.
Also, it feels short-sighted to focus only on the past – or future – one year at a time. Years are a human-determined and human-named arbitrary division of the fourth dimension (time) that only we even now or care about, and are only even relevant from the frame of reference of this one single planet, out of the countless other planets across the multiverse. I prefer to view my growth from the perspective of my life.
2016 has been a difficult year for me. You see, in the last week of December 2015 I made what should not have been a startling realization about myself – I hate being a software developer. In fact, I never loved it. It was never a passion. You see, as I prepared to enroll in college, I wasn’t entirely sure what I should declare as a major (a dilemma I know is far from unique), but since I couldn’t major at being a rock star, I fell back on programming. I had picked up some BASIC (har-dee-har-har developer humor) programming skills as a teenager and figured that would be a good career. So I declared that as my major, learned enough to be dangerous, and started my career post-graduation in 2007 as a .Net developer.
For a while, I think I was really able to delude myself into thinking I’d made the right choice. After all, once I moved on past my first entry-level job, I made decent money, had good benefits, met some good people, and I generally seemed to know what I was doing and be good at my job. And I think that was mostly enabled by the incredibly low standards at my first job and just being around a team of very exceptionally talented developers at the second job.
Here it is. October. October of 2015. This is kind of an important month for me.
In case anyone didn’t know, it was in October of 2014 that I joined Weight Watchers. The first step I took towards improving my life. In November of 2014 was when I finally admitted that not only was I depressed enough to seek help, I was able to finally admit that my lifelong self-esteem problems were not just personality quirks, but actually seriously self-damaging problems, and that I needed help for them too. That’s what led me to my psychological therapy, which was the next big step in becoming a better Ando.
If you look back to the post I made in December, I talked about these steps and how 2015 was going to be the year of taking care of myself, and it was my intent to become a man I could be proud of being. If you look back further into my blogging history, you’ll see that I made some similar comments and hopes in past years, and in every one of those cases, I basically failed. Whether it was life situations beyond my control (like losing jobs) or my own laziness or lack of motivation, time and time again throughout my adult life, I’ve pointed to the future with hope, and each year the hope died. Not a huge bang, just a quiet whispered “OK, guess not…”
I have a heavy heart right now. That’s not to say that I am constantly sad or anything. In fact, for those keeping tabs on me after my post at the beginning of the year, my depression is pretty much past (this bout was largely sparked by the job I left at the end of December, so with the removal of the negative aspects of that job, the depression evaporated within the first few therapy sessions of the year), and even my therapist told me during my most recent session that I’ve made tremendous strides n the realm of my mental health, and I *FEEL* like a stronger, better man than I did at the start of the year.
So why is my heart so heavy?
Love is a tricky subject these days. It really shouldn’t be. But for some reason, people are scared of who or how other people love. I feel like we’re always hearing about who should be able to love who else, or who we shouldn’t love, and so on. And these days, it feels like love has been trivialized to mean certain specific things and only in certain specific circumstances. It just feels like people are acting scared of love.
Those familiar with me know my typical stance on New Year’s Resolutions (I don’t make them), but if you’ve known me and been following anything I’ve said over the past few years, you’ve probably noticed me struggling over and over with some common themes. And while we’re assuming that you, my hypothetical reader, know me that well, you also know that I am far from being a very private person. I am not afraid or ashamed to talk about subjects that others may consider too personal or embarrassing to bring up outside of in-person among friends. And if you are that private, then more power to you. I can understand that. But I’m frankly a lot more open about things.
So what you’re about to read is a little prelude to what will kick off (I hope) a 2015 I can actually look back on and be proud of. And if you don’t care about the ins and outs of my personal life and mental issues, then by all means, stop reading right here. I will not take offence. And you also should stop if you’re put off by really long posts, because I can just feel a wall of text coming. You have been warned.
I recently read an article that listed out some insulting ways that products are advertised for men. Before I get started, let me recommend you go ahead and read it. Here’s the link: The 5 Most Insulting Ways Products Are Advertised To Men
Go ahead, I’ll wait…
Right now, the Internet is all aflame over SOPA/PIPA, and it’s easy to see why. Restrictions of freedom are scary, and for good reason. It’s just one step down a very bad path that, if left unchecked, can lead to dictatorships. But the way I see it, we, as a society, have landed ourselves here.
I have two real beefs to air here, and they both revolve around the fact that over time, we have let this happen.