New Year, New You, New Meh

It’s official, we’re one year closer to whatever the universe has in store for us. At this point I want to say I won’t be surprised by anything, but usually I regret saying that because there’s typically some fresh Hell just around the corner to say “Gotcha!” I just hope that whatever comes in the future we somehow figure out how to unlock some of that massive chunk of brain in our skull that we let sit idly. You know there’s some dormant mutant gene traits up there that will allow us to move shit with our thoughts, see into the future, time travel, fly, and possibly even remember a recipe so we don’t have to keep are phone open while cooking some cheesy soufflĂ© recipe on All Recipes. Oh, and maybe a cancer cure or immortality. But flying, definitely.

2022 wasn’t terrible here. There were some emotional ups and downs, but that comes with being a parent, a spouse, an employee, and just getting older. But nobody was hurt; no wrecks, no health crisis, and everybody in our family unit seems to be on the right track. Or at least not on a track where they’re gonna run head into a locomotive. After 2020 and 2021 I feel there’s only an upward swing(see “fresh Hell” and “Gotcha!” above.) My wife is happy in her job, my kids are flourishing and maturing(and almost all out of school), and I’ve become content with my fate at my job. It will end by July 2024 and I’m at peace with it. My wife is a big proponent of me finding something new that I would enjoy. Something that I don’t take simply for insurance and benefits and all that. That’s the trap which takes the soul of many Americans; the company line which promises safety and security to the vulnerable worker. But being in the medical industry for what will be 30 years this coming August I can tell you with much certainty that nothing is certain. Nothing promised by a company run by shareholders and board members and million dollar bonuses is certain. I’ve seen the shift and the American manufacturing workforce is Scrooge-driven. Money is all that matters. If 500 people lose their jobs, then so be it. “Living wage? Pfft” says the guy buying his fourth home in Maui thanks to moving American jobs from the Midwest to the Far East.

Sorry. You get what I’m saying, right?

So when my time ends at the place I’ve called my employer for what will be 25 years I’ll walk out content and will happily let the door hit me in the ass. I’m leaving with, while not a pot ‘o gold, a meaningful satchel of cash. House will be paid off, kids will be adults, and we will have no debt. Money put away in savings, and my wife will be given a stipend at her job to help pay for health insurance, I can find something that won’t grind my soul down to a nub. I won’t be paid handsomely, but I don’t need that. I’ll be happy and I won’t feel the need to drown my angst in pints of IPAs.

The things that have added depth and have enriched my time on this rock are still pretty much the same: music, family, movies, and books. I get so much out of music and the arts, and sharing them with my wife and kids(and even the old dog that’s lying on the floor at my feet.) Of course we all are very diverse individuals, so our likes and tastes are kind of all over the place, which is what makes it all so great. Musically I’m leaning more into jazz these days, having received two amazing jazz records for Christmas this year. Elvin Jones’ Revival : Live At Pookie’s Pub and Joel Ross’ The Parable Of The Poet. The former is a previously unreleased 3-LP set of an epic show from 1967, while the latter is the vibraphonists’s new album from 2022. Both are stunning and I get completely lost in them with every listen.

I also received the Criterion Collection edition of The Safdie Brothers’ Daddy Longlegs. Good Time and Uncut Gems are two of my favorite films in the last few years, and Daddy Longlegs is almost cinema verite in it’s depiction of the relationship between two young brothers and their 2-week stay with their projectionist father in New York City(loosely based on the Safdies relationship with their dad.) But hey, that’s just me.

Started audiobooks this year, and read(listened to) 13 books, and actually read 2 the old fashioned way. Most of them were Stephen King, but you gotta start somewhere. I find that audiobooks go much quicker for me. Between an hour of exercise, drive to and from work plus in-town errands, housecleaning, and mowing the lawn in the summer, that’s prime audiobook real estate. I mean, I got through It in under three weeks. That’s something. I plan to continue that trend in 2023, as well as getting through some books the old fashioned way. I’ve got some David Sedaris books, as well as grabbing Stephen King’s newest book Fairytale.

I’m making some changes in my lifestyle as well. I’m making a concerted effort to take alcohol out of the equation. It just doesn’t hit like it used to. I’ll be 50 in December and beer and whiskey feel like they take more away from me than they give these days. Portion control is also an issue with me. I can’t just enjoy a single beer. One begats two, which begats four and then I feel like crap. I’m not saying I’m going full Ian Mackaye “straight edge” or anything, but I can definitely see the advantage of reducing alcohol significantly from my life. Christmas Day was the last time I indulged and I paid the price the next day. I’m going to see how far this goes.

Exercise. It’s been an on-again off-again relationship for 20 years. I dropped significant weight in the early 2000s and since then I’ve floated in the 10-15 lb range since then. My wife is ready to make a change in her life in regards to diet and exercise, so we’re both doing it. Right now I’m content with just walking everyday, be it at the YMCA or at home in the neighborhood. Once that habit is firmly established I’ll venture back into strength-training. My wife also bought a scale and put it in our bathroom, so now we can weigh ourselves daily to keep track. I’m on zero prescriptions and want to keep it that way for as long as I can.

I made an album’s worth of songs last summer. I don’t know if that will happen this year, but I always have the music-making bug. If it happens it happens. Maybe the muse will show up this year.

Painting and drawing, two areas I dived into deeply this past year. It’s an area I want to explore even more in 2023. I find a sort of transcendence in drawing and painting and want to see where I can go with it.

And of course, writing. This is where I want to focus most of my creative output. I’ll still write about music, but I want to write more personal stories. That’s where I get the most satisfaction in writing is mining my heart and mind and sharing. If the music pieces are based in personal stories, even better. I might start posting these in podcast form as well. Something I’ve been yammering about for a long time now, but maybe this year is the year.

Okay, so to recap: family good, at peace with job ending, music and family and movies and books are my life fuel, alcohol out while exercise is in, music making is always a possibility, painting is a world I want to keep exploring and writing is at the top of the list for 2023.

I guess these are resolutions. Or maybe revelations. Either way, what’s your 2023 look like?

4 thoughts on “New Year, New You, New Meh

  1. Like yourself I worked in the hospital here for almost 35 years full-time by the time I retired. I was going to stay on as a casual worker but now as a few months have passed not to sure I want to return doing that. So at some point if I need to I may just find something to do and of course with less pay but at this point in my life its about for once calling the shots on my own terms…
    Happy New Year J!

    Liked by 1 person

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