Transitioning between the ramp and the highway, I burst into laughter.
It was 5 AM.
Finally, the new year. Something to get away from what I wrongly thought would be "lucky number seven." Up to this point, sevens were always lucky for me. Ask my parents: I was born on March 7, 1987, just before 7pm, weighing in at 7lbs, 7oz. If you were like me, you'd love to believe this means something.
I was laughing to myself in my car.
It was 2008. And I'd already had a couple of real good, heart-to-heart conversations this year.
To think -- one of the more uneventful crushes I had last school year... (Uneventful? Well, look at what happened to other crushes I'd had. Between "groupcest," general drama, being played, or friends and I falling for the same girl at once... sheer normalcy was uneventful in itself. Or is there such a thing as "normal" these days?)
In a strange way, it apparently wasn't uneventful as I'd thought. To me, perhaps it was, but it was a bit more connected for a few others close to me.
I'm not sure what was worse -- the mild jaw-dropping feeling I got as she spoke to me, or the odd and interesting side story that I couldn't tell her.
I should have figured things weren't actually as simple as I'd thought.
I reverted back to being shy and cautious last year and I guess that whole situation is precisely what I'd avoided. Unknowingly and jokingly, she told me that I "should be proud" of this.
I laughed to myself on the highway.
If she only knew.
The lowest points of this year represent the lowest I've ever felt in almost every aspect of my life: mental, productive, social, spiritual, and emotional. I remember staring myself down in the mirror not too long ago and seeing the broken shell of a persona that used to be smarter, happier, friendlier, more caring, and more enthusiastic than the man in the mirror.
Groucho Marx once said "I've had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn't it."
I think back to three, four, five years ago and in my mind some of those things actually seem more authentically "me" than some of the things I've done this year. Especially over the past three or four months, I feel like at times I've been becoming nothing more than a shell of a man and simply going through the motions of the day.
I've been myself before. But this wasn't it.
It's not that I'm in a bad spot right now or that my life right now is all that terrible -- far from it. But, I've been getting this feeling lately, as if I'm coming to the realization that I'm not really attached at all to these things I've surrounded myself with and the actions that I pursue day in and day out. I'm just going through motions where once I had a drive and a belief upon which I acted on.
My sense of "belonging" has been fading in and out like it's decided on something random like a coin flip.
And while I'd like to blame the past year on that reason, I know it's just part of the mess. It's like saying "my desk is messy, I should clean it" when you haven't looked at your closet yet.
I'm going to admit that I'm finally trying again. In school and in my external life. Cleaning some of that stuff up, if you will.
Luck was on my side tonight and I want to believe it means something for the upcoming year. A couple of near-miracles, just enough to tease some hope out of me:
In a game of "up the river, down the river" (essentially a 14 card one-man "higher or lower" drinking game) I made it up the river (first seven cards) and nearly the entire way back flawlessly, only guessing the last one wrong. Never seen a perfect game in my life, and I've never seen anyone come as close as the very last card. That's damn well bringing a perfect game into the ninth inning and giving up a hit to one of the last two batters.
And in a game of beer pong, facing a six cup loss, I nearly made a miracle happen by sinking five straight cups on rebuttals. Finally, we lost on the sixth. It's like being down 30-7 going into the fourth quarter, making a miraculous comeback, but not being able to put up the final score to win the game.
If you were like me, you'd love to believe this means something. Like "I'm going to do something nearly miraculous this year, but come up just short." Hell, I hope not.
I learned a lot about myself last year. But I also realized that I've lost track of who I actually am.
If I say I'm going to go "find myself" this year, I'm going to say it with honesty. (Or at least I'll go find a few more things to add to the list of "things I'm not.")
I'm going to go find myself and some faith. Faith in myself, my friends, my family, humanity in general, and any higher power out there. Seems like faith's been hiding from me for a long, long time now.
The sun comes up in an hour. Though I'll be asleep by then, I'll be excited for it.
Everyone here, is wondering what it's like to be with somebody else
Everyone here's to blame,
Everyone here gets caught up in the pleasure of the pain,
Everyone hides shades of shame,
but looking inside we're the same, we're all the same
And we're all grown now, but we don't know how
To get it back to good
--"Back 2 Good," by Matchbox Twenty