While you’re sleeping soundly at 3 a.m., I’m usually up slinging words, editing documents, absorbing university course lectures, researching, wrestling with websites, scouring freelance listings, or tackling the next creative project.
As your night is ending, mine is just beginning.
People don’t interrupt you.
Your focus is sharper.
Your concentration is better.
If you pay attention, you can hear the subtle whispers of creative, inventive, unconventional souls that have gone before you – if you listen deeply enough. There is, in fact, precious illumination that is found in the darkness.
Oh yes, I do love the night and the energy it brings! As a naturally nocturnal soul, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Bring on the night!
So here we are at the end of 2016 and another new year is beckoning. As usual, I’m not sure where the time has gone. Here are 13 thoughts, ideas, and happenings that affected my life in 2016. What are yours?
The nickname for 2016 should be Grim Reaper. Sure, lots of people die every year, but it seemed this past year hit us in the gut with the losses of people who affected us on a deep level.
Spoke with another university and made plans to apply for their MS of Forensic Psychology program after I graduate from UCCS.
Began writing several new books in 2016, one titled Write to Dead, another is Camp Horror, and the other is a Super-Secret Writing Project. I’ll reveal the title and subject matter of SSWP at a later time.
Continued taking online college courses throughout the year via Coursera, FutureLearn, edX, and Khan Academy.
Earned several official certificates of completion from my online college courses this past year, including courses on Psychology of Popularity, The Addicted Brain, and Dog Cognition and Psychology.
Shed more weight for a total of 87 pounds – thus far. I am not dieting; instead, I have changed the way I eat so I concentrate on consuming more fruits and veggies. I still eat desserts, snacks, and basically whatever I want (within reason).
Was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and sciatica in fall of 2016. A painful development, but with physical rehab and the proper medication I should be okay and able to live a relatively normal life for years to come.
Learned that I am more at peace when I’m out in the forest and in nature than I am in the city.
Discovered I have a knack for improvising in the kitchen and coming up with simple, tasty recipes that can easily be prepared and cooked in an RV – even without the use of a stove or an oven! A cookbook for RVers is forthcoming.
I wrote this back in December 2005 (except for a few words I added just now), and it still holds true for me. The meaning of life could be something entirely different for you, but for me, I think it is this:
Do the best you can with your circumstances, try to love others, and care for them as best you can (even when they’re being assholes) and choose to live as authentically as you can in the process. Nobody gets an instruction manual and no one gets a guarantee when you’re born into this life. How you play the game is up to the individual and many factors/variables go into the playing of the game. You must straddle doing what’s best for you versus what’s fair and right for others. It’s not easy and you won’t always make the right decision. When you screw up, apologize if it’s warranted. And sometimes—just sometimes—you have to love people even when they don’t deserve your love. And sometimes you might have to forgive them even when you’d rather stick your foot up their ass.
Life can be hard, cruel, and unexpected. It can also be joyful, surprising, and amazing. You can’t control life; you can only control your actions/reactions in the framework of this short period of time we call a lifetime. Our charge is to be present and aware—a tall order indeed. And a mission I’ve yet to master since I tend to live in the future ALL the time and, more often than not, skip over the present. The truth is, we only have NOW. Make the best of it.
My brother, Leo, sent me a photo of my mom sleeping. It looked like a 19th century death photo—not kidding. I’m still trying to process it. She isn’t coherent and isn’t able to communicate with me over the phone. She is having massive panic attacks and is combative with staff. She no longer recognizes my brother and I doubt she knows who I am anymore.
I’m sorry to be a downer, but I can’t not mention all this, because it’s what’s happening now and it’s my mother. I cannot not discuss how devastating this is and how it’s affecting my every waking moment. How I know I need to be at peace with letting her go because she needs to transition peacefully, but how I’m not ready to lose my mother.
She adopted me, raised me, made me who I am in so many ways. But in the end, to love her is to want final peace for her. When she is gone, a big part of me will go with her.
I want to thank my loving, sensitive husband for being with me at this time and helping me through this. He is an angel incarnate. Such a gentle, understanding soul. I love you, Paul.