The New Year was only 30 minutes old when I turned, hugged my wife, and said that this was the first New Year's Eve where my overweening sentiment wasn't "Well, I hope this year is better than the last, anyhow. Can't be much worse."
2014 was the best year I've had since I was old enough to ride a bike, I think. My wife and I were brought closer together by the stresses of a cross-country move, my kid loves where we live now, and between new friends and new places, I'm looking at the world through a different lens these days. I didn't get too much actual time with my family, but the time we did have was fantastic. I don't see me having much more time with them this year, too, plans being what they are, but I am finding that the time we do have is carrying me forward.
My health is under control. I weigh 85lbs less than I did last New Year's. Well, 75lbs, now, as I wasn't dieting for the holidays, but am already back at it, as of yesterday when I returned to NY for work. This is the year where I have to tone up some. Doesn't seem as daunting as the diet itself.
Contrasting with friends, associates and family, I had a great year, and feel a little guilty about crowing about it even here, in my space. My mom's general health was under assault last year, one of my brothers was badly injured with life-altering severity, friends have gone through chronic unemployment, health crises, lost parents... and I had my head down, cursing all around me because I was working too much, which, on reflection, was pretty shitty. I should have been on my knees thanking God for all I have.
Which I did, while I was home. Reality being what it is, this high point won't last, but this year saw plans I had in place for 15 years coming to fruition after thousands of days of agonizing, sacrificing and second-guessing. I have the foresight to be thankful to God above for what I've been given, especially for the ability to work towards what I want.
It wasn't all fun. I spent the past year working 1-2, sometimes 3 months at a time, then coming home for 6-7 days before going back to sea.
One of the single largest fights I have ever had with my wife came about as a result of family conflict. At terrible cost to myself and my family, in terms of lost time, I spent several months at sea this year, nonstop, to pay for the life-saving surgery for my mother-in-law in Brazil, because her able bodied son didn't have the money (no sin there. Times are tough), but wouldn't borrow money to pay for her surgery. But he spent enough money at the Apple store to buy plenty of toys. I had just moved my family, so we didn't have the cash on hand, either. So I borrowed it, and spent 300 days of the past year at sea, partially as a result.
The fight didn't come from money issues. The fight came from when her brother thanked God for making his mother's surgery possible. I can't remember what I punched, but I remember it breaking spectacularly loud, and shouting that the 'stupid bastard pronounced my name wrong. Thank ME for your mom still being alive!" Aside from the blasphemy, the broken stuff and the spending the night feeling like a dick, I think the point was made, and here, several months later, I've apologized to my wife, and God himself. Not the brother, though. Guy can go eat a dick.
And that was another good thing about 2014. I spent more time telling people off who needed it. Internet heroism aside, I've been conflict-averse to a fault in the past few years. That ended, too. Working too much gave me a short fuse, and that's not a good thing, but, on reflection, some of the people I blew up at really had it coming, and I have been able to keep from apologizing when I didn't mean it. The apologies I've given, and there have been too many, are all legit. I really am sorry when I say I am.
So, yeah, in the lifelong list of who can go and eat a dick, there were some additions, but 2014 is not on that list.
You’ll stay awake during this sermon
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