To Thrive and Flourish

I'm divorced. It happened in May 2016. But it really happened much earlier than that. Things were bad, then they were really bad, and then we decided to get divorced.

Gradually, then suddenly.

You could say that 2016 was a real shit year for me. In addition to the social and political nightmare that everyone else in America experienced, I also dealt with the destruction of my marriage. That took up the beginning of 2016; the destruction of my self took up the rest.

I didn't realize it while I was in it, but my marriage was almost the entirety of my identity. A marriage can be all-consuming. I threw myself into it. I didn't spend time with many other people or do much of anything outside of work and home. When my marriage disappeared, so did I.

I've spent the latter half of 2016 grieving the loss and allowing my previously constructed self to evaporate, hopefully leaving behind pieces of a personality and life that I could then cultivate into something of strength. I wanted to flourish and thrive, but I didn't have the soil to nourish or the seeds to plant.

So what was left? The big one is my faith. I never lost it. I abandoned it, but it remained. There's not much to my Christianity. I believe God exists. That's about all I can say. But I do know that I love the Bible and I love theology. I plan to join a church community this year. I've also hung onto my love of cycling. I've started taking it more seriously and want to start entering races in the spring. I need to work on these things for them to grow into healthy parts of my personality, but I'm grateful that they remained with me through my deconstruction.

What else do I need to cultivate? My social life. This is the hardest one. I would be a hermit if society or my student loans allowed me to. I recognize that this is a tendency to resist. I am going to make a strong effort to develop meaningful friendships.

The other thing to cultivate is creative work. That's what you're seeing now. I've long been cursed with a low burning urge to write. I don't know how to do it, but the desire is always there. I'm resolved to write more in my future. I also want to explore podcasting. I've been producing Unprepared with my friend Kevin for a few months. It's been the highlight of my year. I have so much fun recording and editing that show with him. I want to explore this more.

Look. We're living in a dark time. I truly believe that. I have no fucking clue what to do about the global rise of fascism and the impending downfall of America. These problems are beyond me. But I am filled with hope at the fact that I can just be a person. I know a little bit about myself. I have a bed of healthy soil. I've got a couple seeds. My plan is to grow and contribute some joy to my tiny sphere of influence in the world. Maybe that tiny world can get bigger slowly too. We'll see.

Maybe one day I'll be ready to save the world in a big way. But for now, I'll be joyful, kind, supportive to everyone in my life, helping them to thrive and flourish too. This is my contribution. This is how the world gets better.

Gradually, then suddenly.