Wrap-Up Season 2011: Everything Else

As a writer and reader, these have been my most successful and exciting years ever. But the rest of my life has gone fairly well, too. I wasn’t too sure what to expect when I moved to Oakland. Most of my college friends are across the water, living in SF, and I thought that I might be distancing myself too much from them. But coming here was the right decision. I not only got to see a number of old friends on a fairly regular basis, but I also gotten to meet a lot of new and interesting people. For the first time since I went to college (more than seven years ago), I’m fully enmeshed in a new ‘scene.’

It’s not only fun to make friends with delightful new people, it’s also fun to make new acquaintances. It’s nice to see someone every month or every two months and have a nice chat with them and not necessarily feel the need to see them more often. It feels very balanced.

With regards to my work life, things could not be better. I’m truly fortunate in my consulting schedule. If I could keep doing this amount of work for the rest of my life, I would. Unfortunately, my situation is inherently unstable, so I imagine that the day will eventually come when I’ll need to seek more traditional employment (or, at least, when I’ll need to hustle to find some alternate revenue streams). Still, for the last year, things have been ideal on that front.

Also, I quit smoking, which is pretty good. Woohoo for those seven additional years of life!

It’s been a good year, and it’s taught me a lot about myself. This year, I’ve come to realize that nothing new and transformative is really going to happen to me. I’ll have many more years. I’ll have good years and I’ll have bad years. I’ll have moments of joy and moments of despair. However, my future is going to be made of basically the same sort of stuff as the past. In the years to come, I might change significantly as a person, and my setting and situation will certainly change quite a bit, but the types of feelings I have are not going to change.

Basically, I don’t think that I’m ever going to be sadder in the future than the saddest I’ve been in the past, and I don’t think I’ve ever going to be happier in the future than the happiest I’ve been in the past. There are no higher peaks and there are no lower valleys.

So if I take this year as a model for how happy I am able to feel, then I am fairly hopeful for the future. I would love if I was as happy in every future year as I was this past year. This past year certainly had some darker periods, weeks and months where I felt quite pessimistic, but these were short-lived and manageable. Mostly, it was a time of contentment, punctuated by days (or even weeks) of outright joy.

Furthermore, I don’t even think I’d mind if all my future years were fractally similar to the year that just passed. If I never achieved artistic success and never found romantic fulfillment, I think I’d still be content as long as I was able to spend my days reading, writing, and hanging out with people that I enjoy.

However, when I’ve had good years in the past, I’ve always made a botch of them by attempting to hold onto them for too long. I’m not going to do that this time. I’m well aware that one can’t simply replicate a good year. Good years only come when you are alive to the present, and when you do one’s best to cultivate the good that appears in your year (rather than pining for good qualities that are absent)

Still, it can’t hurt to remain cognizant of the essential elements of (this) good year (freedom and good people) and to attempt to seek them out whenever I can.