Happy anniversary to me (another one)

It may seem an odd thing to celebrate, but as of today, I have been single again for five years.

Today in 2011, I was in a pretty rotten place. I’d pretty much known where things were headed for several months; deciding that we weren’t going to live together anymore (or even live in the same time zone) was a pretty unmistakeable sign. But I was still unprepared for how hard it hit me on that Wednesday night when I realized that it was really over after nine very happy years and six really shitty months.

Being “coupled” has never been my natural state, even though there were some times that I really wanted it to be…and even though there was one time where it really did feel right. By the time I met Mark in 2001, I was pretty comfortable–hell, even enthusiastic–about the prospect of remaining a confirmed bachelor for life. One very serious case of love changed all that and I do not for a minute regret that it happened. All in all, it was a very happy time in my life and I was very sad when it ended.

The fact that it ended at a time when there were a lot of other things going on in my life made it much harder, and the fact that I didn’t feel entirely comfortable talking about most of it even with close friends made it even harder.In the end, I was not prepared to make one really big compromise that might have (at best) delayed the end, but would have done so at the expense of my sanity and my emotional health–which looks in retrospect like the very moment I started my recovery. It didn’t seem like it at the time but ultimately, I realized there was a bigger problem in my life/brain/body chemistry/whatever and I began working on that. Pretty successfully, I think.

But I’ve also spent the past five years learning how once again to be that single person I used to love. I think I’ve been pretty successful at that, too. Frankly, I like myself better as a single person. I think most of my friends like me better that way, too. I’m more adventurous, I generally have more fun, and I don’t have to have anyone else along for the ride when I travel (which in itself is justification enough). And the introvert in me has more time for my friends now that most of the limited time I’m willing to allot to other people is not dedicated to just one other person.

I’m also more independent. In retrospect, I gave up a lot of that when I was coupled, just because it was easy to do so, and he was willing to take over a lot of things and make a lot of decisions. And, of course, that really wasn’t fair to either of us. It took me a long time to get back in the habit of taking care of things on my own. I’m still working on it. I think the task of building a very successful and satisfying new career while I was pretty much in “the depths” is what saved me. In fact, I didn’t even miss one day of work, which either means that I really loved my job or that I was scared to stay home the next day. Or both.

Again, I don’t regret having spent nine-plus years in this relationship. Not for a second. I do have some regrets about the end and the aftermath, but that’s to be expected.

Five years later, though, I also don’t regret where I am today. I’m happy, I like my life, and I finally gave the goddamned chair to Habitat.

I think that’s worth celebrating.

Otherstream at 20: The anniversary

So yeah, twenty years ago tonight, I logged onto my dialup connection and used Fetch (which I still use on occasion) to upload the original set of HTML and JPEG files that became the first version of Planet SOMA (now Otherstream). A lot has changed since then–the fact that the site no longer runs on static HTML and I no longer have a dialup connection, for example–but it’s still here after twenty years, even if far fewer people care nowadays, so I guess that’s saying something.

Maintaining this space since 1996 has done some really good things for me. It’s how I met some of my closest friends and it also led pretty directly to a midlife career change for me. It’s gotten me laid several times, and it got me married once…even if not till death did us part. It’s given me a record of an interesting period in my life and helped me frame the way I thought about that period, and it’s resulted in no small number of adventures.

In recent years, the traffic and the content have been diminishing, which is to be expected because the personal website/blog is not the cutting-edge medium it once was, because social media has taken over many of the roles a site like this used to play, and frankly because my content has become less interesting to a wider audience. The proportion of posts that mainly involve me babbling about me has increased, which is not really a good thing.

But I don’t care all that much, really. While I’d be lying if I said that reaching other people is not important–otherwise this would be a diary rather than a public website–it’s always been more about amusing myself than amusing anyone else. And it will probably continue to be that way until I decide it’s time to stop. Until that time, I hope you’ll keep coming by, either here or here or here or even here. And many, many thanks to those of you who already do, and especially to those of you who have been doing so for a long time. I appreciate it.

Back to the fun…

Guns in the house

This article pretty much sums up one of the major reasons I don’t want guns in my house. I speak from experience here, because this almost happened to me once when I was about twenty years old. I was working late, but I came home earlier than my dad expected that night. I got to my room and closed the door, but I had to use the bathroom. When I opened the door, my dad was standing there with a gun pointed at me.

A few of my cousins couldn’t quite understand how willing I was to get rid of my father’s guns when he died. They thought I might like to save them as mementos. Frankly, though, I didn’t really want to remember my dad holding a lethal weapon that was aimed at me. I loved him way too much to hold on to anything that reminded me of that particular incident.

Otherstream at 20: 2015

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It’s kind of hard to curate posts that are less than a year old, but I tried. This is the final year to be covered in my “twenty years” retrospective. I may talk about the actual anniversary tomorrow and try to draw some broad conclusions. Or I may not. You’ll have to check back by to see which it is.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Otherstream at 20: 2013

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Despite an incredibly depressing start, 2013 turned out to be a really good year for me. I relocated to the house where I grew up, traveled a lot, and started having the slightest hint a social life again (which is about all I’ve ever really been able to stand anyway). And then there were the antidepressants–both the pills (which helped a LOT) and the cat with whom I had a brief relationship (which helped more than I might have thought as well). Music was a big help too.

The web stuff was maybe not some of my best ever, but that’s OK. Feeling like a human being again was nice.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Otherstream at 20: 2012

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Let’s just say I visited some very dark places in 2012. I’d love to say I handled it with my usual good humor, but that might be a stretch. Maybe the best thing to say is that I lived through it. And lost weight. What i really hate is that the big entries on the site stopped being about anything other than me. The big anniversary comes on Wednesday.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Otherstream at 20: 2011

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I thought this one was going to be harder to put together than it actually was. which says, I guess, that I’m finally over the worst year of my life. Or that I’ve gotten better at ignoring it. Or something.

In 2011, I lost two of the most important people in my life. Neither of them actually went away; they both just changed in ways that drastically altered our relationships. My ex and I split up after almost ten years, and my mom developed dementia. I’m not sure the website ever quite reflected how devastating this was to me. I actually wrote more about the latter than the former, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate with the proportionate effect of each. Sharing specific details about the breakup didn’t really seem fair or appropriate, although it is possible to read between the lines de temps en temps.

Despite everything, I was very successful at establishing my new career during 2011, and my October trip to Canada (the start of a new tradition) resulted in a lot of positive changes for me, not the least of which was the fact that i started listening to lots of new music again.

For the record, some of these posts were made public after the fact and did not originally appear in this same order (basically I “sneaked” them in retrospectively) so regular readers may have missed them.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December

Otherstream at 20: 2010

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In 2010, I got my first tenure-track position (which is working out quite nicely, thanks), my ex and I recommenced living together full-time after five years of the bicoastal thing (that didn’t end well at all), and I didn’t write much of any consequence. Highlights follow on the march to the big anniversary on 13 January.

January

February

March

April

May

June

July

August

September

October

November

December