Wednesday, February 09, 2011

20 years...

This month marks a couple of significant milestones in my life.

20 years ago this week, I started my first "real" job; cleaning buildings with my uncle, at night. I'm not sure exactly what the date was, but it was on a weeknight, two weeks before I went to visit my grandparents in Florida.

I know exactly what date that was, because 20 years ago the week after next, February 19th, 1991; I lost my virginity. In Disneyworld.

So in the course of two weeks, I lost my virginity, and started working...

Funny, the symbolic relationship there...

It's been a long 20 years... hard... sometimes more than I thought I could take.

I've been rich; I've been broke. I've lived in luxury on other peoples dime; I've been homeless, living in a tent in the woods, or out in my car. I've been beaten, drugged, stabbed, shot; had my body torn every which way. I've been a manwhore, and I've been a father and family man. I've been loved, and hated. I've loved, and lost... and lost.. and lost... and loved again.

There were days I didn't think I'd ever get to sleep, and days I thought I wouldn't wake up to see the next. There were days I wanted to never end, and days I couldn't wait to wake up for.

It's been an interesting ride so far.

Right now... I'll be honest, I've had a bit of a hard time of it as of late.

A month ago today, my brother died. My mother... most days she's not my mother anymore; and I honestly have to thank god that at least she won't be suffering too much longer.

The same week we had my brothers memorial, my uncle Thomas almost died on the operating table... stage 4 kidney cancer. The surgery wasn't successful. They might be able to go back for more... not sure yet, but he's not strong enough for chemo.

Three days after we get home from my brothers service, I found out I had thyroid cancer.

A few days ago, my grandmother called me up to disown me, for writing about my family in public. She told me how much she hated me and never wanted to speak to me again.

So yeah, that was great.

I'm about to take a month off work, in the middle of a re-org... that's never a good thing. Yeah I've got short and long term disability, and the company is supportive... but it's still never a good thing. Firstly, I can kiss any thought of a bonus goodbye. But it's more than that. Workloads are being distributed right now. Assignments are firming up. Impressions are being formed with the new management. My being gone for a month just at this time...

I was in a position to become a leader of this new group. To really set myself up for career growth, and to have options open to me. Now, that's not going to happen.

Outside of work and family... not much fun going on right now either.

Earlier today... yesterday I guess... a man I thought of as my friend, betrayed me for political convenience; to avoid essentially meaningless conflict with others. I was in the right, they were in the wrong, but I compromised, and I thought we had resolved the issue to everyones satisfaction. Then, I find out they've been backroom maneuvering playing "if you're my friend you'll support me/ I won't let you hang out with us if you don't support me" type games; and my "friend" threw me under the bus. Petty bullshit, with zero stakes... which is of course, the most vicious.

Frankly, I don't give a damn about the result, it's how it happened that I'm angry about.

Then there's the couple hundred thousand dollars of legal bills that we've gone through the last couple years. That bit doesn't bother me so much, as the small mountain of debt (about 25% of the total) I've gone into to support that. I'm going to be trying to pay that off for years, meanwhile it's preventing us from doing the things we really want to do... sometimes need to do.

... and man, I miss my kids...

And now, there's the cost of this treatment. Yes, I'll only be paying a small fraction of the total... The total is going to be well over a hundred thousand dollars, probably more... I'm only going to have to pay $8,000... but that's $8,000 I don't have. That's $8,000 I'll be spending on my treatment.

Funny enough, $8,000 is also what we owe for legal and medical bills in the custody case.

20 years of work.. hard.. DAMN HARD work. Sacrificing my life, my time, my brains, my health... and right now I've got nothing but debt, payments, and rentals, because of that. Every penny I ever made, ever saved, ever invested since then... it's all gone into that...

It's like I'm running on a treadmill... and every time I manage to run a little bit faster, somebody turns the speed up and I fall behind again.

20 years of work, and nothing lasting to show for it, at least materially. YEs, I have my experiences, and my relationships, and my friends and my family, and those are all wonderful things, important things, things that I cherish...

...but after 20 years of work, I don't own anything. I have nothing to point to and say "that's mine". I have so much I want to do, so much I could be doing... but I can't, because of all that.

...And I hurt. A lot. My body has had enough abuse over the past 20 years, and it's abusing me back. So I hurt, a lot, all the time.

...And my heart, my soul, they hurt. A lot. I've abused them too for 20 years; and they're abusing me back... So I hurt, a lot, all the time.

So yeah, as of late, it's been a bit rough.

I'm a strong man. Hard in ways. I've had times I thought I wasn't going to make it... but I did.

I've never once thought of just giving up.

I've got my wife, thank god. I've got what's left of my family. I've got what's left of my friends; and let me say they are damn good friends.

I'm going to make it now too... it just hurts like a son of a bitch.

But you go on... you make it... because there is no other choice. Giving up... not a chance. Failing... never in life.

You may be beaten, but you are never defeated, until you allow yourself to be. The only one who can defeat you, is you. You only fail, when you give up.