Soooooooooo that was a year.

A tale of two halves really. For the purpose of my place on this website and the ways I choose to engage with it, it doesn't make sense to dwell too much on the first half of the year. Let's just say I learned a lot and leave it at that.

In the second half of the year I did a lot to focus on my health and well being. Made new dietary habits and lost some weight. Recommitted to daily basic stretching routines and to healthier sleeping patterns with inconsistent results, but any sort of attempt in these matters can be considered progress. Engaged more with my spirituality on my own time and in my own terms. Tried as hard as I could to put away money into savings every paycheck, which is not so easy to do in this country between debts, mandatory insurance, and general living expenses. Finished (and started) reading some books which had been on the back burner for a very long time. Began spending slightly more YouTube time with topical, biographical, informational, and otherwise educational things and slightly less time on mindless junk. And, as evidenced, began publishing more things on E2.

Most of the things posted in the 2nd half of this year were older things which had needed to be resuscitated before they were ready for publishing. Lots of editing and reimagining, as well as linking and formatting. But there sure were a lot of old pieces that I always wanted to publish here, I just lacked the impetus to put in the elbow grease. But I'm so glad I found/forced that impetus again. It feels particularly good to have put Waste, Witness, and Last Christmas Lights out into the nodegel. Those things have meant a lot to me for a long time.

I always felt as though reaching level 12 would be a big milestone for me. The most meaningful levelup on this site since level 4, and the last meaningful levelup until level 15. But honestly the closer I got to the levelup, the less important it seems. And now since I've had it, I haven't managed to find more than one writeup per day I've wanted to give a C! to. My standards for writeups I believe to be C! worthy are probably too high, but I have to stick to my principles.

Anyway, all that to say that if the leveling/xp system was ever a motivation for me to participate on this website then it definitlely isn't anymore. I've struggled with motivation issues, particularly self-motivation, all my life. There are still a few older things I could work into publishing here and that are probably worth the time and effort, but my amounts of pre-existing unpublished material is dwindling. And it's not that I don't want to write and publish "new" content, or even that I haven't been doing so. It's not even that I feel particularly uninspired. It's just so hard to get in the groove, so to speak. So difficult for me to get into the headspace I need to be in to write as compared to 2013, when I was writing every day, all the time. It's like a kind of mentality that's harder to access the less frequently you access it. It's a kind of a momentum concept. Like how it's so much easier to drive efficiently on the highway than it is in the city where you're constantly stopping and starting.

Not only do I have so much less free time on my hands than I did when I was younger but in the free time I do have, I still feel the pressure and momentum of an "adult" life, a working class life. Unless you're a clergyman or a tenured university professor, there's pretty much no such thing as a sabbatical in this country. No opportunity to just simply clear one's mind, on a broader scale. It's a culture where constant voluntary labor is kind of the expectation. Gaps of time in which you might be unemployed even for a single month tend to look bad on a résumé. It's much harder to find a new place to live when you're in between jobs. But I just find it so hard to conform to a labor-based culture. A 40-hour work week just seems to take so much away from my mental development and mental freedom. But then again, maybe I should try to find a way to make this culture work for me, and to engage in a career path that's better suited to me instead of just settling for a job. Easier said than done for a Hamlet like me.

But in any case, I know that the pace that I've set in posting writeups over the last 6 months is unsustainable. And I've accepted the inevitable lapse in posting before it's even happened (I'm no stranger to going quiet for long periods of time). But it's still worth saying on record that it's meant a lot to me to be able to re-engage with myself as a writer through the medium of this website, and despite the fact that the future seems pretty unclear, I'm not finished yet.

Vacation time in Boston, Toad Woods, and now, Philadelphia. A rainy day is giving way to intermittent sunshine, melting away fog, sharpening things. This too-perfect AirBNB has, for faults derived from cookie-cutter sterility, two massive iron-framed windows through which to stare at the sky, and sufficient coffee supplies to enable me to linger on the couch, staring alternately at blue and silver patchwork. It goes well with the leftover Christmas candy.

Last night, a close friend drove me (through a budding ice storm) to Connecticut, where I caught a Northeast Regional, arriving well after midnight. I slept in till noon. Tomorrow, I'll get back on the Northeast Regional, and arrive in DC, where I'll be staying till sometime around the 12th.

While in town, I plan to hit the Philadelphia Magic Garden, and hopefully the Barnes Collection. Hopefully there'll also be some good food, and a good dram or two.

Off to the races.

I forgot to take my meds Christmas Eve.

See, I've got all these emotions rushing around inside me, mixing together like ingredients losing cohesion in overboiled soup; much the same way coherent thoughts all slough together after drinking too much. It flashes through me like thunder, frenzy of everything at once. I choke on it. Perfection. Rippling across my skin. Tearing across my spine. But I know it'll turn, and then it'll feel like choking -- and when it breaks, all those reveries swimming around in my head come pouring out the cracks, leaving only thoughts of death left rattling around in my empty skull.

I accompanied my family to the Service. Christmas Eve, candlelight, the typical ordeal. Can't say I enjoyed it, the more I learn about biblical exegesis the easier it is to nitpick sermons. I can't say it felt all that sacred, either. I get it's entirely subjective whether or not a person experiences a feeling -- and profoundly unsound exegesis to hinge anything theological on a subjective feeling of sacred-ness. I just wish it felt proper.

I've been taking my meds, it's like a jump cut to a hard reset. No delight in anything, but incapable of feeling unhappy either. Just existing -- like a plant. My psychologist would have me believe this is what 'stable' is known as. I believe him, but part of me questions if he says that just to keep me taking my meds. Who's to know, really?

My brother was kind enough to gift me a french easel. Christmas has always been a bit of an oddball to me, I don't think I ever understood why we give gifts to people. It seems to me to be an excuse to get together; a tradition that only has meaning through intent attribution of meaning, an excuse to curb the existential quandary. You may call me Ebenezer Scrooge if you wish. Anyways -- come summer, I'll have to take my acquired easel out to the hollyhocks and give them a good painting. They were doing so well last year, I just hope they were able to re-seed properly. This will be the third year of my garden. I worry it won't take off.

Sigh. Here's to another year that didn't go quite right.

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