Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Ten Years After

A few props to Donutbuzz for making me think of looking back.

Ten years ago, I was recently divorced, broke and trying to come up with a little Christmas money by working part-time at a telemarketing firm --one of the most evil jobs I've ever held. I was living with a couple of friends who took me in when I no longer had a place to live.

It was a pretty grim season.

By then, I hated the assorted parts of my life. My job was wearing me down. I was emotionally involved with someone who was not emotionally involved with me, and I was trying to figure out who I was in the context of having become single again, but still being a father.

I was a mess, and this was pretty close to the bottom.

A year and a half later, I met the woman I'd eventually marry. A year and a half after that I start writing again after an absence from print for a decade. Then we moved to Charleston, where everything would change at a seemingly impossible speed. I'd find my way at long last into the writing life, discover Buddhism and become a cat owner. There would be another child, a little boy named Emmett who is both like me and yet so different.

None of these things I foresaw or expected --not really. I never expected to marry again, have more children or write for newspaper. I never expected to like Charleston, even though I'll never stop staring at the highway and wondering where those roads lead.

The last ten years hasn't been easy. It's been a series of struggles and battles for survival and sanity. I still live month to month and hand to mouth. A good day is when there are beans to eat. A great day is when I don't have to eat them. I work as much as ever, but maybe not as hard. I've had a lot of fun, but don't take vacations --or if I do, I screw them up and wind up miserable. Some people are meant to be at rest. I'm not one of them.

I live in a bad house in a good neighborhood. That's an improvement. I've lived in good places in bad neighborhoods and bad places in bad neighborhoods. At least, I have a house. The space I have sucks, but it's separate from the people next door. I don't have to hear the pill heads in the other apartment drown a litter of puppies in the bathtub because the dog they bought with drug money managed to get knocked up by the wrong mutt.

So, here's where I am: Ten years later, I'm a little wiser, a little older and a lot better off in most every way except my checking account. I count all of the people I had as friends ten years ago still friends and I've added to that list. By the reckoning of Clarence, George Bailey's guardian angel, I am a wealthy man, indeed.

I'm a better person than I was ten years ago, happy most of the time and hopeful. I laugh every day. My life might be a little second hand, a little shabby, but it's still pretty good.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hang in there Bill!