Okay, so here’s where I apologize and grovel and quote Monty Python: I’m not dead yet.
But I am sorry.
It’s been a strange couple of months, where I’ve lost and found myself a couple of times. I didn’t mean to go underground or into hiding, but I also never meant to forget this blog—forged almost a year ago when Sandy came to town and I literally had nothing else to do—by spending all my time elsewhere.
So, what have I done during the hiatus?
Let me start with the high points:
- I published my first national article (yes, it is about beer, but you’d probably figure that out by reading further) in All About Beer Magazine. I’m in their November issue, which just hit the stands, so I hope you will go out and buy a copy. They make great Christmas presents (I’m not joking; one of the featured columns—not written by moi—is a beer lover’s gift guide).
- I started writing for a national blog, Complex.com… yes, it’s about beer.
- I spent a couple weekends on the road… um, well, yeah… it was about beer.
- Whoa! Something not about beer… I started meditating (a mixed bag, but I’m trying to embrace it).
- I read Moby Dick (which maybe wasn’t a high point, but at least it’s noteworthy).
And now let me switch to the low-points:
- Both my parents were diagnosed with cancer… within a week of each other. Dad has since been given a clean slate, but my mother is undergoing chemo (I’m not a believer, but I welcome prayers from those who are: her name is Diana).
- I met a guy who turned out (unsurprisingly) not to be “the one.”
- I decided to “embrace” my celibacy (which is a gentle way of saying, I’ve stopped crying over being all alone).
- But the lowest of the low (drum roll, if you please)… Despite my intentions to let the universe guide me (and there is something to be said for a universe that wants me to drink more beer!), I took on a gig unrelated to beer… and it’s been a disaster! Within a couple of weeks, I knew it was a bad fit; it took me away from all my beer efforts set up to date. Worst of all, it was a minimum-wage gig (the number of hours were misrepresented or misunderstood based on heretofore inferior work product).
Now, I don’t want to burn any bridges, but my friend Liz really summed it up perfectly: I took the gig from a place of fear. Yes! I’ve never once truly chosen my path, rather I’ve let the currents whip my rootless frond hither and thither. I’ve done alright by that, but only because I’m adaptable and intelligent. I make the most of the shit I land in or the shit I subconsciously seek out or the shit I don’t seek that simply finds me and sticks!
I told Liz, I’m done being a shit-magnet. I’m done with undervaluing myself.
However, saying that doesn’t mean I yet believe it.
It sounds like oh, so much fun being a beer writer, but to be honest, I’m scared. I’m scared to venture out and attempt to make something of my life at my age. When every attempt to do so in the past resulted in failure.
So, what’s different this time around (I hope!)? Getting away from toxic people, for one. Exorcising the toxicity from within myself (hence, the meditation). Looking at the light—admittedly with fear and trepidation—and not looking back into the dark abyss thinking, “Oh, that looks comfy. I understand that.”
It’s funny because there’s this notion of “don’t try, do!” But doing is, in fact, super easy. I can do pretty much anything. But making conscientious choices and actually correcting the course of my ship is really exhausting and incredibly difficult. It’s working against the tide; it’s empowering myself to move forward against the forces that want to hold me back; it’s undoing nearly half a century of conditioning.
My focus now is to stop “doing.” My focus now is to start “being.” It’s still a challenge, but every day I want just to be present and accept where things are heading (yes, I do believe my ship has turned, but I’m struggling with forward momentum, as if my ship’s engines are stalled… yep, adrift still! but at least now I’m aware of my status).
Choosing my own way is new, and it’s terrifying. But it’s good to come back here and be able to share this journey with you. Despite its fits and starts.
I’m not dead yet.