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29 January 2012 @ 01:43 pm
2011  
Well, 2011 was the worst year of my adult life. I made a couple of bad decisions, I changed jobs, and I had my heart broken twice. My new company went into bankruptcy protection. I spent the entire year living in my parents' basement, in hotels, and in a crowded crashpad in Queens. I turned 29. I've been disappointed more times than I can remember. I didn't get to see the people I love enough. I've been so broke that I envy the wages of the people who work at Dunkin Donuts. I've taken on more debt and I've been unable to pay off what I already owed. Honestly, there were many times throughout the year that I wished the ancients had predicted the end of the world would come in 2011 instead of 2012, because one more year was just too long to wait.

Also, I've visibly aged more this year than any other year in my adult life. I have more lines in my face, more roundness in my belly, and less hair on my head. I look several years older than I really am.

I think the worst thing that happened to me in 2011 was that I lost my sense of optimism. Maybe I didn't lose all hope for a better future, but I lost most of it. I lost my happiness and my lust for life.

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1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
I got a job with American Eagle. I was on reserve and lived in a crashpad. I flew regional jets for (very little) money. I spent two months in Texas. I rode 102 miles in one day on my road bike, purely out of spite.


2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I still don't make resolutions. Goals, though? Sure.
I want to run a half-marathon and beat my PR. I want to bike 3,000+ miles this year. Hell, I'm turning 30 this year, so there are a lot of things I'd really like to accomplish before then, but I don't know if I can. I'd like to move out of my parents' basement. I'd like to finally meet someone good and settle down. I'd like to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I'd like to get a much better job.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Nope.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
Canada. Again and again and again. Just Toronto. Mostly for work. A couple of times to visit Anne-Marie early in the year, and then a couple of times to visit Dan.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
Happiness. A place to call my own. More time to travel. More time with friends. More determination. A serious and lasting romantic relationship. A way to avoid eating so many cookies. A better job. Maybe not a flying job.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 28. It's the day I started my job at American Eagle, and it's the day everything started going downhill. I left a good company for a bad one. I took a huge pay cut which forced me to live at home. My girlfriend who I biked across Spain with left me. I became undatable because I was just so poor and gone more than 50% of the time. Everything after March 28th was terrible.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Hard to say. Being there for Nicole's birthday was important. Biking 100 miles just to say I did it first was nice. Just making it through initial training at Eagle, despite having the flu, my girlfriend breaking up with me, and not having a sim partner or regular instructor was an accomplishment. There really isn't too much about 2011 that I'm proud of, though.

9. What was your biggest failure?
•I made a bad decision to change jobs. I was happy at my old job. I had a good life. I thought that changing jobs would move me along in my "career." I can't say what the future holds, but right now I'm miserable.
•Anne-Marie broke up with me. She said she just didn't love me anymore. I don't know if it's because we never saw each other because I was in training in Texas and she was in school in Toronto, or if it's simply because she just felt that I wasn't right for her. Probably the former led to an acceleration of the realization of the latter. That really stung.
•I fell in love again over the summer with Keri. It didn't work out, partly because of her insecurities, and partly because I was a mess. I spent too much time at her place on my days off because I didn't have a place of my own to return to. Things spiralled wildly out of control from there.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I was sick for a couple of weeks in April during initial training with the new company, and then I was sick again in late September. I don't think I injured myself this year, although I did have occasional knee pain from my biking injury from a couple of years ago.
More seriously, I suffered through depression nearly all year, with several long bouts of severe depression. I struggled with binge cookie (and sometimes brownie) eating. I ate because it made me feel better for a fleeting moment. However, it inevitable led to more depression.


11. What was the best thing you bought?
Right after Anne-Marie broke up with me, I started buying things for my bike to make me feel happier. I spent all of what little money I had on this. A couple of good things came of it, though. I just about finished building my Tomac mountain bike. The lightweight, tubeless wheels were the biggest purchase, and they have been worth it so far.
The one thing I bought that I use almost daily is my iPad. I don't regret buying it for a second. I needed a new computer, but simply couldn't afford one. The iPad has been great. It's very useful for browsing the internet around the house, and it's perfect for traveling with. In fact, I'm typing on it right now.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm not sure. Tour de France winner Cadel Evans? President Obama? DOT Secretary Ray LaHood? Certainly not mine.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Mine. AMR corporation. All of the Republican candidates for President. The Red Sox in September.

14. Where did most of your money go?
•Airport food. More than a quarter went to that.
•Flight school loan. Another quarter went to that.
•Suits for interviews/clothes & equipment for work
•Bike parts/clothes. About 10% went to that.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Topsfield Fair. Cookies. Birthday bike ride with Kevin.

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Anything by Mumford & Sons, and the Foster the People song, "Pumped Up Kicks." I didn't like that one, though. Adele's "Someone Like You." Bon Iver's "Holocene."

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Much sadder.
ii. thinner or fatter? About the same.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Bike touring. Spending time with friends. Being happy. Traveling for fun. Living life.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Commuting for work. Work in general. Sleeping in the airport or at the crashpad. Stressing out.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I woke up Christmas morning in the Holiday Inn in Minneapolis and ended the evening in a hotel in Atlanta.

21. Where did 21 go?

22. Did you fall in love in 2011?
Yep, only to have my heart broken.

23. How many one-night stands?
I guess I had one. I didn't think it was going to be just one night, but that's how it turned out.

24. What was your favorite TV program?
•How I Met Your Mother
•Parks and Recreation

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Hate is a strong word, and I believe it's evil. There are certain people who really made my life miserable this year, though, and I'm not grateful for it. I'm on that list.

26. What was the best book you read?
Jill Homer's "Ghost Trails." Ben Franklin's autobiography. Josh Ritter's "Bright's Passage."

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Top 4 albums of 2011:
•Bon Iver - Bon Iver
•M83 - Hurry Up, We're Dreaming
•The Roots - Undun
•Drake - Take Care
Childish Gambino was my favorite discovery, though.


28. What did you want and get?
iPad. In fact, I went to several stores during the first week the iPad 2 came out. Nobody had it in stock. I even waited outside of loading docks to see when the next shipment would come in. I eventually got one a couple of months after it came out.
In the "be careful what you wish for" column, I got a job flying jets.
I also got Thanksgiving off, for once. I was very grateful for that.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Eek. I don't know. I think I went to the theaters twice all year.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29 and I freaked out. Ok, I didn't freak out that day. It was more of a continuing process. On my birthday I was in Vermont with Kevin, and we had a great day of mountain biking. It was beautiful out, and we took trails we had never ridden before. Then the woman who worked the motel we stayed at let us back in to shower off before we left for home. It was a great birthday. I'm planning on an even better one for 30.

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
•To have found lasting love
•To have been hired by Jetblue or a charter jet company.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Sweat-wicking.

34. What kept you sane?
Very, very little.
I think if it wasn't for my friends, I wouldn't have held it together. I have great best friends in Mike, the other Mike, Jim, Nicole, Kevin, Derek, and Dan.
Being able to bike a lot this summer probably saved me from an even deeper depression.
Cookies provided many moments of sweet relief.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Eh. I wanted Andy Schleck and Fabian Cancellara to do better in the Tour. For that matter, I wanted Chris Horner and Levi Leipheimer to do well outside of the US. I think there weren't too many celebrities that I followed closely this year. Jeremy Powers, Lady Gaga, and Childish Gambino. That might be it.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Inequality in wealth distribution. Women's rights. Gay rights.

37. Who did you miss?
Anne-Marie. My friends. My old self. My old job.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I met a lot of great people this year. Steph is one of the best people I know, and she deserved better than me. I thought Keri was special, but c'est la vie.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:
What does one take from a year like this? I learned that no matter how hard you work, no matter how many advantages you are given, no matter how much of your heart is given for something, you aren't going to get it. Life is about failure and disappointment. I've learned that I'm no longer an optimistic youth, but a jaded adult. I hate being an adult.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"Wrong again don't depend on any reaction again
I remember the icy walls that shot up from nowhere,
and I can see every lie you've ever told yourself."
-Boy Sets Fire - My Life in the Knife Trade

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Ten years out of high school and what do I have to show for it? I didn't go to the reunion, partly because I had to work and partly because I was actually better off 10 years ago. I didn't want to sit there and hear, "What are you doing these days? Where do you live now? Are you married?" The answers are: flying planes for peanuts; my parents' basement--just like when I was 18; no, I can't keep a girl interested for more than a handful of months at a time. First world white people problems? Maybe. I was given so many advantages in this world. I'm smart, I'm funny, I'm good looking, I'm a good athlete, I'm a white male rasied in a middle-class family in a nice suburban setting, I have a degree from a top-tier college, I have good health... None of it really matters because I've gone nowhere in life. It's not for lack of trying. It's just that 2011 happened.
 
 
 
Sarahplanegirl on February 4th, 2012 07:23 pm (UTC)
2011 was really shitty for a lot of us. I'm sorry you are struggling. You will get through, and do so much better than last year.
Thinking of you,
Sarah