I realize this is posted a little late, but I’ve been busy.
I’m not one to keep a personal journal. As livejournal and blogging have taken off, so has journaling of ones life, but I’ve never gotten into that. I have no hard and fast rules about it, I just don’t do it. I actually like reading the journals of people who spill every little detail of their life on the Internet. All the minutiae and scandal. The voyeur in me loves it. It’s just that I don’t do it.
But it’s at a time like right now where I wish I did keep a journal of my day-to-day activities as I sit down to write this short reflection of what 2005 was like for me. Now, keep in mind, I’m a rather private person in many ways. Sure, amongst my friends I’m an open book, but I’ve never felt comfortable sharing every intimate detail of my life with the people “out there,” nor have I really felt people would or should be all that interested. With that in mind, I offer the following.
2005 was a very mixed bag of a year for me. It contained some unbelievable highs and almost unbearable lows. It was a year of flux, in many ways, in that I didn’t really make any plans or set any goals for 2005. The end of 2004 was tough for me (my father’s health started a deep decline in 2004 which affected my every move) and thinking forward to 2005 was something I wasn’t really capable of doing. I simply wasn’t in the right headspace for that to happen.
Let’s deal with the negatives of 2005 first so that we can end on a high note. The most tragic moment for me in 2005 (and in my life) came on December 8th when my Father died. I’ve never dealt with significant loss before. In high school a guy I knew died, but I wasn’t too close to him. Five years ago an old co-worker of mine died, but I wasn’t that close to him either. I’ve known friends who’ve had to deal with loss on this scale before, but never knew how to relate. I always felt uncomfortable saying anything, feeling anything I said would simply be ponderous under the circumstances. Now I have a distinct understanding of what they went through and understand how even a quick phone call to check in goes a long way in the– while it’s a cliché, it’s also very true– healing process. The e-mails, phone calls and condolence cards all really meant a lot. Before now, it never even occurred to me to send a condolence card. It’s amazing how a simple handwritten note reminds you that there are people out there thinking of you at a time when you’re at your lowest.
One of the other big negatives of 2005 comes with some huge positives. On December 6th, two days before my Father died, my Mother went into the hospital to have exploratory surgery– her cancer was back. She had cancer three years ago and successfully beat it, but as is often the nature with these things, it returned. The great news, though, is that it was caught very early, exists on a microscopic level and she’s already undergoing chemotherapy treatment and all indications are that it’s very treatable. She may have to go through this again, then again she may not. We don’t know. What we do know is that it’s being addressed and the Doctors are very positive. So, some good with the bad there. What made it all worse, especially for my Mom, is that my Father passed away during all this, further ratcheting up the emotional response we all had and continue to have.
Outside of those two events I can think of only one other moment that resulted in my wanting to exact severe levels of pain on something, someone or anything in the world. As most of you know, one of the two businesses I run is Comic Book Resources, the largest comics magazine on the Internet. This past July saw the annual Comic-Con International take place in San Diego, of which CBR would be providing coverage as usual. On the morning of the fourth day of the convention, the CBR server took a dump. You can read all the nasty details here. It was one of those “perfect storm” type situations. The timing was just awful. It was a painful 24-48 hours or so, but ultimately both I and CBR survived.
Outside of those three events (the third clearly being of less importance in the face of the other news), I can’t think of anything else that was a huge set-back for myself. There were your general ups and downs, but nothing I can of that’s worth mentioning.
On the other hand, there were some great moments for me in 2005, most of which involved travel. I think it’s clear that travel is something that really should be a regular part of my life.
In February I flew off to Montreal to visit the set of the upcoming Darren Aronofsky film “The Fountain.” You can read CBR’s coverage of the visit here and here. While I’ve visited the sets of sitcom’s before, I’ve never visited a feature film set before and absolutely enjoyed every moment of it. The experience was a great one. Not only was this the first time I’ve visited a feature film set, but this trip also included a number of other firsts for me:
- This was the first time I visited Canada.
- It was the first time I experienced snow fall. I’ve visited snowy regions before, gone skiing in its icy coldness, but never have I seen the snow fall from the sky. My first night in Montreal it snowed and all those things I’ve heard about snowfall were proven true: the quiet, serenity of a new snowfall is a wonderful thing indeed.
- It was the first time I’ve ever flown on a plane that needed to be de-iced. Going through de-icing is equal parts calming and stress inducing. It’s nice to know they’re removing the ice so as to allow the plan to fly, but of course the question comes to mind, “If there’s ice on the plane, should we really be flying at all?” This of course is coming from a complete novice in the “flying during snowy weather” camp, so that’s simply a first reaction to something that’s rather common place in today’s world.
Later in the year I flew to London for another set visit, this time to check out the March debuting film “V For Vendetta.” Unfortunately those reports are embargoed until the end of January, so I can’t discuss the set visit itself, but the trip was fantastic. I had my trip extended by a couple of days so that I could spend some time in my second favorite city in the world. I got to return to Camden Town for some shopping, explored London via the Jack The Ripper walk, took in a great many sites and visited with my friend Rich.
Now, some time ago I had contemplated the idea of moving to London for three months just for the hell of it. I work the kind of job that allows me to work from almost anywhere, as long as I have a broadband connection. I fell in love with London during my 2003 visit and figured spending some more time there would be a great idea. But the trip in 2005, done completely alone, pointed out to me just how alone I would be in that city were I to move there for three months. Sure, I’d probably make friends quickly and know some people there already, but I really would be alone and I’m not quite sure I’d be into that. One day I’m sure I’ll spend some extended time in London, but I don’t expect I’ll be doing it alone or on a whim. There needs to be a purpose to it other than “just to do it.”
The other huge moment for me in 2005 had to be my recent visit to China. China wasn’t on my list of places to visit, but when my younger sister Sharon asked me if I’d like to go with her, I couldn’t resist the opportunity. It was an amazing trip filled with long-lasting memories. It’s one of those trips you’ll never forget and I’m glad I got to do it with Sharon.
All told, my travels in 2005 were a lot of fun. The cities I visited include Montreal, San Francisco, San Diego, Chicago, London, Hong Kong and Beijing. The sad part is I had to turn down a trip to Australia and a second trip to San Francisco. In 2006 I plan on increasing my travels, hopefully making a trip down to Australia and New Zealand, as well as a return trip to London at some point. We’ll see how things settle out.
Outside of those trips, the rest of the year wasn’t too bad. Both CBR and my hosting businesses had their ups and downs, but by years end everything was positive and there are good things to come on both fronts. Personally my life is well, having fostered existing friendships, made some great new ones and culling a few that no longer fit right.
One thing I learned about myself this year is that I need to get back to a more creative place in my life. Six years ago I left radio to work for myself. It’s not a decision I regret, but by leaving radio I found myself in more of an administrative position compared to my previous creative position as Producer of the Phil Hendrie radio show. While working with Phil wasn’t always flowers and candy, it was the most creative time of my life and one of the most personally rewarding. I think back to those days of creativity and know I need to return to that level of fun and excitement again. I lost some of that wonder and need to rediscover it.
Naturally there were a great many other events that occurred in 2005, but either they’re of a nature too personal for me to share, or I simply can’t remember them anymore. Any way you look at it, 2005 was a mixed bag for me. I’m hoping 2006 is filled with more highs than lows. Now it’s time for me to plan my method of attack in 2006. I’m confident it’ll be a good one.