Glad That Is Over

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing
I’m learning to fly around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

– Tom Petty

For those who may be unaware, Tom Petty is my favorite musical artist. It has been that way since 1979 and my fandom has not wavered over the past 41 years.

The song “Learning to Fly” is among the many great songs penned by Petty and it also resounds with me on many levels. Evens as I grow older, I continue to learn to fly and this past year in particular, I have come down hard.

But the thing about this song is that you always come back. You keep trying and despite a crap year, I am determined to keep trying.

Let me say I am not sad. In fact, if you are reading this on July 17th, I am probably hiking somewhere in Southern Oregon. I love day hikes, I love being on a mountain as the sun rises. It’s one of those activities that keeps my anxiety at low levels and my positivity at high levels.

Probably hiking in this area

And you can be sure that at some point today, I will be sitting on my relatively firm runners ass at a winery with some of my favorite people (my Sister Laurie and my Aunt Candy to name a few) enjoying a glass of excellent Oregon red wine.

INTERRUPTION! Please accept my moment – You know what, I just realized “shrubs” is a fun word to say. Shrubs… Shrubs… Shrubs… – OK, the moment has passed, thank you for the indulgence.

As humans, we are fond of endings and beginnings. A chapter that closes; a brand new start; and so on. We put significance around certain dates. New Years Day is always popular for a new start. The end or beginning of a fiscal year is something to celebrate or maybe not. Even our birthday signifies an end to another year and an opportunity to begin something new.

Today I turn 58. And as my 59th year on this rock begins, suffice to say, I am happy to see the last year in my rear-view mirror. It started with a deteriorating relationship that would end a month and a half later. Sadly, the other half of the relationship has no idea why the breakup was so hard on me and something I still struggle with today. So, it is likely better the relationship did end, even if it resulted in a bout with depression.

I found out I was suffering from depression because I went to the doctor because I could not sleep. Next thing you know, I am seeing a therapist, which is a good thing. I have suffered from anxiety my whole life and depression can be a by product. I have opted not to see a therapist for my anxiety and until recently never shared that anxiety is part of my daily life. The diagnosis of depression prompted me to see a therapist and, as mentioned, that has been a good thing.

A few short months later, I was off the depression meds and back to learning to fly. My anxiety will always be present, but I have a new found awareness that helps me manage it much better

Unfortunately, right as things were looking up, I had my identity stolen which is a whole crap ton of work that nobody should have to do. I got lucky as it was caught early enough to where I was able to put a stop to it before any real damage was done (knock on wood).

Things kind of sucked, but I still rocked a kilt!

Additionally, some douche nugget decided to use my LinkedIn information to create a profile on Elite Singles. Ladies, allow me to tell you upfront there is nothing elite about me. I am just an ordinary, average guy with a bunch of non-elite quirks.

Finally, as my 58th year was winding down, I was diagnosed with autism. I am not too terribly high on the spectrum, but high enough so that it does impact my life and at times the lives of others.

All that being said, there were and continue to be blue skies overhead. Although the covid-19 pandemic has hit many very hard, I have been fortunate to get to sit at my desk and work every day. I work for a great company (Microsoft) that is at the forefront of caring as much for their employees as they do the bottom line.

Anxiety and autism? Anxiety has been with me all my life and the autism is new. Sure – it is a big deal, but also a little deal. Little deal because I have a small core of friends who accept me as I am and who I enjoy hanging out with.

I also have a good therapist who is helping me with both my anxiety and to a lesser extent, my autism. And by the way, awareness and acceptance is half the battle. Once you have awareness, you can commit to doing something about it. One thing my therapist suggested is exercise is helpful for people with anxiety. Hence, I started working out consistently and my friend Bernadette has even mentioned I am starting to look a little buff. Bernadette, if I was in my 20s… 😊

My friends are good friends. Bob and Kristin have invited me down to fart in their pool multiple times this year, which is always a good time. Frolic, I meant to say frolic. Either way, some good moments. And my other good friend, Danielle, took me to a Texans game. Go football!

I am ready for some football!Thanks Danielle

My amazing sister, Laurie, and I continue to share awesome bottles of beer (and wine) with each other and our friends. Bonding with friends over food and drink is another one of my favorite things – everything in moderation though – except the joy! Nothing illustrates that more than the 21st iteration of The 12 Beers of Christmas, an annual holiday party I have hosted for – well, 21 years. It may the last one for a while, but it was attended by my best friends and favorite people and was one my most enjoyable parties to date.

Yes, there have been some dark clouds in my life this past year. But the weather always changes.

People come and people go. This past year saw someone I love very much move on, but at the same time I met some new folks to build friendships with. I want to especially shout out Brad, who is my brother from another mother. He gets me (I wonder how he looks in a dress. Wait, did I just say that out loud…). Brad has been a great addition to my community. My community may be a little smaller, but quality trumps quantity.

Nature is the best

I am also spending more time with nature. It is always good to be outside. Since relocating from Pearland to The Woodlands, I have been spending much more time outdoors. There are trails behind my residence, state and national parks just north of me, and the city of The Woodlands is built for people to be outside, with plenty of hike and bike trails. Nature and the outdoors has a positive effect on mental health, so more goodness surrounding me.

I’m learning to fly but I ain’t got wings
Coming down is the hardest thing
I’m learning to fly around the clouds
But what goes up must come down

Shit is going to happen, but a new day will dawn. Each day I will learn to fly. And each day I will come down. But on the good days, I come down on my terms. Here’s to more and more good days.