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Thanksgiving

I'm so beside myself with joy right now I don't know what to do with myself, but I'd like to wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving.

If you'll pardon my being all gushy and sentimental for a while, I'll explain.

I realize that according to the calendar Thanksgiving is the last Thursday in November, but for me the first half of December is the time when I feel truly thankful.

By the time I post this message, it'll be Friday, December 17th, 2004. It'll be the day of our company holiday party, which is cool. It'll be the last day I officially work this year (thank God for accrued vacation time!), which is spectacular. It'll also be the 10th anniversary of femetal and my graduation. That, my friends, is a major milestone in my life.

By my internal reckoning of time, November and early December 1994 was "The Dark Time". Whether I'd graduated or not it was going to be my last semester. Between senior classes in two different majors, projects, 2 jobs, the drill team, and trying to maintain some semblance of a relationship I had no time for anything, including eating right and sleep.

A typical day went like this: go to class from early in the morning until mid-afternoon, go home and change, go to work until closing, go home to shower and change, drive to the 24-hour computer lab to work on projects and papers until about 7am (when they started ticketing cars on campus), drive home, maybe sleep for an hour or two (maybe not), and get up for class. Repeat.

Work was hell, school was hell, and my prospects for the future weren't bright. I was so chronically sleep-deprived that I often hearing voices, and I was wretchedly depressed. None of this helped my grades, which cast serious doubt on whether I'd actually be graduating at all, much less getting two degrees. Needless to say I was a terrible burden on Kim during this time, but she was supportive to a superhuman degree.

The closest thing to enjoyment I had was, strangely enough, in the computer lab. I was in there pretty much every night (thankfully they closed at night on weekends, else I wouldn't have slept at all) listening to CDs while working on projects and papers and chatting with the lab sysadmins. (This is actually when I started getting back into computers, which eventually lead to my current career.) The work was frustrating and I learned how to take naps for 10 seconds at a time, but sysops were great people and the music was pretty much my only entertainment.

Just before finals week I quit one of my jobs. I had to. Despite cutting our already below-poverty-level income, it was a marvelously liberating decision. I was able to finish my projects (barely) and have time to study for finals (sorta).

During the few days between the last final and graduation I didn't know if I was going to pass or not, and frankly didn't care much. All I cared about was sleep, which I did quite a bit of.

To this day, around the 1st of December the songs from one of the CDs I listened to most in the lab start popping into my head, and I listen to it a lot more during this time of year.

Those last few weeks gave me a different perspective that I've carried (most of the time) since then. 12/17/94 was a clear demarcation line between two radically different phases of my life, and I think I have a better appreciation for everything that's come after it because of the crap that preceded it. I'm happier as a result.

The last 10 years have been well spent. My situation has improved in just about every way. I've moved to Tampa with Kim, gotten a 'real' job, gotten married, bought a house, discovered polyamory, fallen madly in love (multiple times), had my heart shattered (multiple times), prepared for the end of the world, kept more or less in touch with treasured friends, had the most incredible sex, become an Extropian, changed political parties, worked my ass off, become an Alcor member, drank a helluva lot of Guinness, and fallen in with the most amazing group of freaks I've ever had the honor of calling my friends.

In the last 10 years I've defined my life's goal and then somehow managed to attain it. Three times. Miraculously I've stayed out of jail and the morgue in the process. Hopefully I've helped those around me along the way, and I hope to continue to do so in the decades/centuries/millennia/eons to come. For now though, I just want to take a moment and reflect on the adventure so far. I am fortunate far beyond both what I deserve and what I ever would've imagined- even if I still don't get enough sleep. :-)

Comments

( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
datan0de
Dec. 17th, 2004 07:32 am (UTC)
Poop.

*blinks*

Pee?
(Deleted comment)
slartibart
Dec. 17th, 2004 06:34 am (UTC)
and fallen in with the most amazing group of freaks I've ever had the honor of calling my friends.

The honor is all ours. Thanks for sharing this with us.
siren_sings
Dec. 17th, 2004 07:02 am (UTC)
Here's to Dreams
...and following them out of the darkness. :-)

Much love! - Suzie

**Mistletoe**
;-*
datan0de
Dec. 17th, 2004 07:32 am (UTC)
Re: Here's to Dreams
Ooh! Mistletoe!!!

*KISS*
serolynne
Dec. 17th, 2004 07:56 am (UTC)
Yes, but are you absorbant? :)

Thanks for sharing that ... very touching story.

Happy Holidays to you and the rest of the smooshlings!

~Wiggles~

datan0de
Dec. 18th, 2004 09:36 am (UTC)
Yes, but are you absorbant? :)

Is that a ZIM reference?!? Cool! I haven't tested my absorbency, but the electrical conductivity test was a rush!

Happiness and hugs and love and sex and wiggles to you guys too!
(Deleted comment)
kellyannc
Dec. 17th, 2004 09:24 am (UTC)
What a story. It is good to see you have moved forward. Try never to go back.

I am honored to know and have you and yours as friends. Have a wonderful vacation. If anyone needs a vacation it is you.
(Deleted comment)
papertygre
Dec. 17th, 2004 05:09 pm (UTC)
I'm still cliffhanging!

Did you graduate?
papertygre
Dec. 17th, 2004 05:11 pm (UTC)
Oh, wait, femetal's comment implies that you did.

Congratulations for making it through. That's an inspiring story.
datan0de
Dec. 18th, 2004 09:29 am (UTC)
Thanks. Yup, I got 'em both (Advertising and Sociology)- neither of which has anything to do with my current occupation. ;-)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )