Happy 36th Birthday, Self!

collage of this year's highlights

It has been a crazy year. This is the longest I’ve gone without playing sports, and I probably miss that the most during this state of global COVID baloney.

As I write this, I’m staring out over the Pacific ocean. A “king tide” is bringing big waves and strong current, making swimming dangerous for the unwary weekend beachgoer.

Lia and the girls are swimming in the pool at the foot of the condo. Isla has been progressing aggressively with all this time in the water, shedding puddle jumper, fins, and fear of submersion to retrieve rocks from the pool bottom.

Some uncomfortable things happened this year, I think for everyone. We were all put into our own segment of the ice cube tray and frozen. I got better at cooking, and chess. Initially, I drank more, then not at all. Now occasionally – but there simply aren’t any occasions anymore.

I got my real good taste of low-level, constant, anxiety. Inexplicable difficulty taking a full breath. I tried 5MEO DMT and found that same oneness with the universe that I’d touched during last year’s hero dose.

I jumped a lot, alone. And played a lot of online chess.

I started Isla on online music lessons, and had to work through some frustration. My expectations were getting the better of me, and drifting in a potentially harmful direction where love and approval were too interwoven. I realized (with the assistance of drugs) that love needs to be its own thing, completely separate from expectation.

Through being ambushed by anxiety, I discovered how profoundly important social connection is for my mental health. I scheduled weekly hangouts (digital if need be) to guarantee that some friend time was built into my life, and it was a game-changer.

Lia and I are still waiting to hear back about vacant land we’re trying to buy on Amherst Island. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, trying to turn that dream into reality. Through learning about stoicism, I became more cautious about becoming overly hopeful.

I’ve been writing a science-fiction novel, and have joined a writer’s group for accountability and the occasional bitch-slapping. I’m a little more aware of when my ego emerges, and it’s helped me find less defensive/reactive chains of thought when navigating creative criticism and general uncertainty.

My girls continue to infuse my days with joy, parenting struggles, love and unbearable cuteness.

Lia’s getting more time to work, and kicking ass with it. She finished her Holistic Nutrition certification with honours, and is aggressively ramping up to working with paying clients.

I’m waiting for the waves to clean up so I can attempt cutbacks, airs, and other tricks way above my current skill level.

At this point, life returning to normal sounds like a dream. Just being able to get together with people again, to hug friends and shake hands with strangers, would be so satisfying. The other day, I shook hands with someone and it felt so unfamiliar, dangerous, and important.

What am I aiming for this year? The usuals: to jump higher, be less reactive and more present, and to take things less seriously. At the end of About Time, Domhnoll Gleeson’s character hits the nail on the head, by living each day as if he’d already lived it once before.

My aim is to do the same.

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