A Year Gone By

: : Clears throat : :

‘K, so. Hello friends. How’ve you been? I hope your year, in reflection, has been a fantastic one. Mine has been…interesting?

Actually, that is a stretch I do not want to make. 2015, for me, was one of the toughest years of my life. On the other hand, it was also one of the most rewarding.

Reflection Time

stepping stones
(This image will make more sense in a bit)

So let’s start with why 2015 was one of the hardest years of my life.

I lost my job. Twice. I also left DungeonCrawlersRadio.

At the end of January, I was fired from a job in which I grew too comfortable to appreciate. I still did a great job with most aspects of it, but I did neglect some of the tedium which comes with a sales position. More importantly, I lost a connection to a company that I love, with a culture I have yet to experience elsewhere. I also lost the ability to see my friends daily, which hurt worst of all. This was my first job after moving to Utah from Michigan, so my friend-base is almost entirely comprised of people I worked with.

I took some time to reflect on where I went wrong and how I could have been a better employee. I also took some time to spend with daughter who turned one right before it happened. She is an amazing creature (as all parents are inclined to say), and she gave me every ounce of strength, courage, and motivation I needed to push through the darkness of self-doubt. My wife, the rock that she is, knew exactly when to be supportive and sympathetic, and exactly when to kick me in the ass. This post would be considerably different – and probably darker – if it weren’t for those two.

Shortly after I found myself aggressively unemployed, things came to a head with DungeonCrawlersRadio. There are several reasons as to why I chose to say goodbye, most of which I will not discuss in public. Ultimately, I saw a very circular set of actions which perpetuated a stagnant cycle. We worked very hard as a team to decide on fresh content to move the show forward, and most of those decisions were circumvented with delegation. I joined to be part of a team and have a voice, and it lost that feeling. I lost a few friends in the process, and lost the opportunity to do something I thoroughly enjoyed. Hopefully a similar opportunity will present itself in 2016.

I found a new job with a lot of promise for advancement and a great culture. I worked hard to master the new skills and content, and then found myself in a sea of hundreds of others just like me. Intelligent, motivated, hungry to prove themselves, and waiting in line for a spot to open up. Ultimately, I would have pushed through all of that if the commute wasn’t an hour each way. Instead, I left for another company where a few friends were working. They raved about the owner and the job. The commute was half as far, and the pay and hours were much better. I was there for two months before they let me go. Two days after, my boss hired his daughter. I cannot take blame in this particular situation.

So, I sit here now, coming full circle to where I was in 2011. I am back with the company I love, the one who let me go nearly a year ago, doing the original job I was hired for. I was terrified to come back. To see the odd looks, and sideways glances. To hear the echo of whispers when I leave a room. That hasn’t happened once. Instead, I have received hugs and heard my name shouted through the hallways. I am making less than half of what I was a year ago, but I feel fine now.

In reflection, I have discovered my error. I have always been enticed by money. I am a make more, spend more type of guy. I am superficial and possessed by material things. I hate that about myself, and have struggled to break that relationship for many years. So as my career grew with my former (now current) employer, I pursued and accepted opportunities which paid more, despite carrying me away from the opportunities I would have enjoyed on a sustainable level. I was enticed for the wrong reasons. I followed a beautiful path and ended up nowhere (I told you the picture would mean something). This time around, I will listen to my heart…and my friends.

Ultimately, I have been shedding the shackles of material things. I rarely play PS4, and stopped myself from buying several games which I desperately “needed”. I have my miniatures to paint, some amazing records to listen to, a mostly complete setup to start experimenting with audiobook recording and, most importantly, my writing. I have found times where all I want to do is paint. I have found times where all I want to do is sit down and write. I expect the same for recording audiobooks. I think that is enough for now.

So what made 2015 so great?

It’s hard to say that 2015 was great when you consider everything mentioned above. It’s been tough. Things have been tight. However, We made it to Portland to hang with my baby bro and future sis – we also got to eat at Pok Pok (yes, it is that good). We got to see some of our best friends outside of Seattle and attend their amazing wedding – I nearly broke my daughter dancing to Turn Down For What during their reception.

We were able to make it back to Michigan in October to spend time with family and friends. I stood on the shores of Lake Michigan in an uncharacteristically windy, wavy day. I couldn’t swim due to the swell, but I had the same experience of feeling cleansed just standing there. The shore is where I find my center and regain a bit of tranquility usually drowned by digitized distractions.

lake michigan

My daughter has continued to blossom into such an amazing, curious, adventurous, empathetic, loving human. Oh what a difference a year makes. She is so strong, and loving, and full of spirit.

My wife has shouldered such a huge burden this year, picking up all of my slack. She has taken on more hours and responsibility at her job to make up for my lack of one. She has raised my daughter daily to be the best she can be. She has held me close, wiped my tears, and loved me despite of myself. I’m not sure how I would have made it without her.

I continually try to look ahead, and don’t typically spend a ton of time dwelling on the past. This post has helped me heal a bit. It’s been cathartic (one of my favorite words). Thank you for listening.

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5 Responses

  1. Heather

    What a wonderful reflection on the year my love. I think you nailed it. TITY 2016! 🙂 I love you more than I can say.

  2. Reflections like this are such a release. Beautifully written, heartfelt, and honest, I really appreciate that.
    Good luck with 2016, buddy! You got this man. Head down, shoulders forward, onward!

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