I spent a little time over this past week looking back at the journal entries I’d been keeping a year ago.  Since turning 37 back on the first, I’ve been meaning to do a bit of reflection, but with work and time out with Ray having taken up a lot of my free time, I hadn’t had the chance until just recently to do just that.  It struck me, even after reading just a few paragraphs, just how far I’ve come in one revolution around the sun.

Last year at this time, I was kind of obsessed with my new friendships with Dan, Yoni, and Alan.  I’d finally found a group of men who I could hang with, who I could make plans and get out of the house and spend time with.  Starting with Dan, and among all of them, I found a path away from the darkness that had surrounded me while I was trying to find my way out of the situation with Cal.  I’d landed a job, but because of a government shut-down, my start had been delayed.  I finally, though, had hope, and a direction forward.  I had a bit more optimism in my life, and though it still felt like I owed the world to everyone who had been so supportive of me (in real life, and across the internet), I felt a timid lean-forward happening.

I was also much thinner and focused on my exercise routine then.  Anxiety was driving me forward, and it was back then that I was doing long runs at least twice a week, sometimes three.  Nowadays, when I end up driving bus routes that take me back over those worn sidewalks, I’m reminded of just how much tension and pent up nervousness I put down with each footfall.  Miles and miles and miles of just running away from the world I was seemingly stuck in had revealed more of my self under my flab, and though I was still not where I wanted to be, the pounds had come off really quickly, and I had reduced my physical size to something I hadn’t seen in a long time.  I looked outwardly better, though I was still shaken and scared on the inside.

I remember being so caught up in my writing, my exercise, and trying to purge myself of the old skeletons I’d been hauling around since I don’t know when.  I’d started to look for help in dealing with the past violence in my life.  I recognized then that I still needed to face those old wounds before I could move forward.  I remember the fear of having to look those old memories in the face and finding a way to make sense of them, finally.

Today, as I am sitting atop a large, comfortable bed, in a home full of warmth, kindness, and support, with Ray in my life, a job that brings me the income I need without taxing my self-worth, and a few extra pounds around my waistline, I recognize just how far I’ve come.  It’s been an amazing 2014, and has balanced off the darkness that was 2013.  I now am looking forward to a visit from an old friend over Thanksgiving, where I’m making a meal for at least four people, possibly more, in my home.  Ray and I have been seriously discussing a potential move-in with each other for 2015.  I’m more confident with work, and find myself doing something I can modestly enjoy.

There are still things I need to work on.  My writing has fallen aside a bit, and I need to pick that back up.  I need to find a way forward creatively.  My fitness plan is a dusty, torn idea thrown in some murky corner of my life that I need to revive and reconfigure.  Sitting in a bus seat for thirty-plus hours a week has taken a number on my body (and hasn’t stopped me from eating too much, sadly), so I know I need to get back on that horse if I’m ever going to make my goals for 40 come true.  I need to be better with the little money I am making, and find way to save the pennies I can in order to have and do the things I want to do.  These are some of my 2015 goals, and I’m sure there’ll be more.

For now, though, I have to admit, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long, long time, and I can still see ways forward that will continue to bring me even more joy into the future.  I am the Eternal Optimist™.  I always will be.

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