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Someone Get The Lights

I've said goodbye to 2017 already. I did so last Friday, when I said goodbye to my beautiful niece, my brother and my sister-in-law. I later said goodbye to my kids and my new co-workers, leaving last, grasping on to it, as I did my niece earlier in the afternoon.

I promised her it would not be another 365 days before our next encounter. A promise I do not know if I'll keep, but it's something to strive for. She brings out a happiness in me. One that has been trapped. Her childish indifference towards me, often ignoring my silly face, to study the paper on which she draws, is refreshing. I do not control that situation, but should I look away, her calls; my name, bring a warmth that I can not describe. Her goodbye touched me, but it wasn't sadness, but an immediate feeling of excited anticipation. I didn't feel that last time, because I couldn't.

Last year, New Year's Eve, I was living, not staying, but living in a motel room. Daily sexual encounters to the left of me and angry heroin deals to the right. In the middle, somewhere in the middle of everything was me, a cat, a laptop and a few hundred dollars. On that evening, I was ten days from moving to Tuscon, Arizona. I was in a bad place and I feared, I was heading somewhere worse.

The very next week, I had a potential place to live nearby. Almost a year later, here I am. Set to move again, but maintaining some of the familiar surroundings. My landlords, despite my complaints about their lack of "land lording," are good people. They love their families and they appreciate me. I appreciate them. I forget that sometimes, but then again, I don't think every day about the good in life as often as the bad. There's a fairly good reason for that and no philosophical debate is necessary. It's my life.

2017 was a good one in comparison to 2016, but it was an extremely emotional one. I lost a few friends who I considered to be great friends. Two important people in my life. Not just the friends we say hello and goodbye to. One was a close confidant in those high school years when fitting in wasn't so easy. Our relationship had lulls and was basically an Internet one at the end, but we appreciated and valued our friendship and the past we shared. I will miss Susan more now, simply knowing the world is a little less bright. The other was a friend who I could go a year without speaking to and then speak for three days straight and pick up where we left off the last time. He was my movie friend, my book friend, my drinking buddy and at times my mirror. Albeit a much thinner reflection. He was one of, if not the smartest friend I had. He was, like I am (so we were told), underachievers. We were called lazy, unmotivated and content with the bare minimum life had to offer. I'd beg to differ. I feel we were bored with others mundane existence, we were looking for more and that didn't always come from the beautiful wife, the great job or the house and kids. He could sit in a boat or on a rock, with a book, a beer and a fishing rod and be content, each and every day. I envied that. We'd chat for hours and despite similar views, it was our differences that made us close. I will miss Shane as much as I will miss anyone that has passed since my mother. It took me days for it to sink in and each new film I love, I wish he could see it, or tell me he had.

I did have some ups over the past year. Reconnecting with friends and even having two visit, one more than once and helping me to my surgery and after. Oh yeah, and my surgery. A hip replacement at 46 allowed 47 to be the most comfortable year I've had in my 40's. The relief of pain, coupled with medicine that has mostly cleared my rosacea, has given me a new found confidence. This led to a job and while it's not enough to live off of, it's helping and it's bringing me back to where I was. I need more and that's my goal for 2018. It's not a resolution, because it's a necessity. I'd like to have more confidence, but the last few years, ha, decade and a half, have weakened me. Life is a little more complicated than simply quoting a Gloria Gaynor song and posting it to social media. I'll try to survive, but I make no promises.

I have motivation in a fourteen pound, four-legged, fur ball. As I type this, he has positioned himself against my knee and shin. He is purring and has taken to sleeping against me at night. He knows my moods and positions himself accordingly. During my recent illness, he stayed by my feet, moving closer as I healed. He seems to know before I do, so let's hope his recent lack of daytime affection is simply a sign that he knows I'm going to be busy. It's a word I hate to use, because I correlate it with all the people who haven't had time for me when I needed it most. I'll never be that kind of busy, but I need to be preoccupied with positives. Again, not resolutions. Necessities.

As I said at the beginning. I've left 2017 behind already. For those still enjoying or fleeing this year, I'll be waiting. Just someone get the lights.

Here's to 2018! If it's better for me and not for you. I don't think that's good enough. If it's better for you and not for me, I'll accept it. If it's better for us both, let's make a promise to share its farewell together. Cheers!

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