Saturday, February 23, 2019

Reflections on Another Trip Around the Sun



I turned 56 on February 11th.  I'm still sure how I feel about it.  I am trying to remain positive with such thoughts as, well, it's better than the alternative, or, that I am older now than my older brother, Marvin, was when he passed away.  I know, that's kind of morbid. When he died 15 years ago, I wasn't only sad that he died (of course) but a little shocked that I had outlived him.  From the age of around 17 until I was around 40, I didn't really take care of myself.  Self-destructive habits.  I smoked around 2-3 packs of cigarettes a day, drank to excess.  Drugs were too expensive or otherwise unattainable, so I had that going for me.

After my brother was diagnosed with cancer, I endeavored to make a turnaround.  I quit smoking, for starters, although I wasn't really able to do that until my first wife decided to call it quits.  Suddenly, all the stress in my life seemed to disappear.  I have been cigarette free, with only one relapse only about a month into quitting, for fifteen years. Now I can't tolerate even being around second hand smoke.  

This isn't an anti-smoking rant.  

It's not a rant at all.  It's just a reflection, something that needed to get out.  

I am not the same person I was 15 years ago.  I'm not sure I would even recognize him.  He was bitter, cynical, self-loathing, and as I said, self-destructive.  Life was spiraling out of control. It was around that time I moved back to Madison from Milwaukee.  I moved here because I definitely needed a change in scenery.  Part of the reason of moving here was to help an old friend out of a difficult housemate situation.  What she may not realize was that is was her that helped me by being a catalyst for change.

It was a good decision albeit a rocky start.  I was still trying to get my head on straight and my finances in order (which was difficult).  June of 2004 was the beginning of a new life, as dramatic as that sounds.  And then in November, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, everything changed dramatically.

I met the love of my life, Valerie.  Fourteen years later, we are still together, barely spending a day apart.  I say to her all the time I would be lost without her.  I'm pretty sure that's not hyperbole.

(as they say, to be continued...)

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