Watching the passing of my birthday this week, I took a look backwards at the last year or so. It was filled with the highest highs, and the lowest lows. A typical year will have some drama, but overall, this was one for the books, balanced out with some really great stuff happening. I honestly don't know how to feel about it. To give you an idea, imagine the internal conflict you would have if two people came to your door...one to tell you that you had won the lottery, the other to tell you a parent had died. That conflict is how I feel about the past year. To be honest, I can find some silver lining in even the very worst things that have occurred this year. I have had a ton of life experience this year, and learned a lot, and lived a lot...and kept my business side largely unaffected. I took no days off, no vacations, no sick days...just the 2 days off I took to go to Manhattan for the TV appearance.
Dealing with stuff like this is a big reason I try not to let the little things, or the things I have no control over, get to me. It is why I do not have the energy to rail on about politics too much...choosing the windmills I tilt at very carefully. I would love to save the world one day, but for now, I just have to save mine!
(A lot of my goings on are mentioned in my blog...that you are reading now...if you check out some of the older posts)
The greatest thing that occurred was the fun I had with the CBS crew filming the segment for the CBS Early Show. There was a lot of pre-planning and logistical stuff happening, and I did not tell many people in case the deal fell thru. It got postponed once then came back to reality. Once they were booked to come here, I let the cat out of the bag. After the segment aired, it was a big surprise to be asked to come to Manhattan to appear in studio. That took a tremendous amount of last minute shuffling. I am ever in debt to my friend Katie for babysitting me for a day and making my trip exponentially more fun!! (Links to the TV appearance and related photos are available at www.harryoke.com)
There was so much other stuff going on in my life at the same time this was going on. Some I have shared, some I have not. I am not a huge advocate of airing my dirty laundry, or burdening people with things they have no power to assist me with. Sometimes I shared things with people who were in a position to give me good advice or assistance. Other things, no one can help with so why bother bringing it up? The worst things that occurred, I wont even bring up here. Suffice to say it has been an interesting year!! Ups, downs, and mostly in betweens. I went to way too many funerals this year. I saw too many lives turned upside down needlessly.
This was the year we had to put down our dog Tiny...who made it to about 16 years. She had a great run, and the decision to put her down was difficult, until she got to a point where her dignity and quality of life were endangered. I miss her, and that was a really difficult task.
Financially, it was a good work year, but investment wise, we know how THAT story goes. I lost a ton of money in real estate equity and investments. Thinking about it doesn't fix it, so I don't talk about that much. I also took some financial hits from some unexpected expenses, and also from being deceived by someone I trusted who took advantage of me. This affected my state of mind a lot, and I had to get the court system involved and press charges. I lost a lot of sleep over that.
I had a ton of other things on my plate at about the same time, and I can honestly say that this year, I was truthfully as close to a nervous break down as I have ever been in my life. I was having a really difficult time sleeping and staying focused and positive. While this was going on, I fell onto the radar of a psychopath who was sending me weird messages. I shared them with some people who took them far more seriously than I did. Then they ended up with the Sheriff, then the State Attorney and the next thing you know, the guy is in jail. He was just released recently and is on probation for several years. That was just another odd thing to deal with on top of what I already had on my plate. My long term renter also moved out of my rental house, leaving me to deal with taking care of another residence. Fortunately, I have a friend who was the PERFECT fit to move in, and I contacted him and made him an offer he could not refuse, and he didn't. He is now my new tenant, and I hope he stays awhile. I know he is looking to buy a place though, but at least he came along when I did not need MORE to worry about, and for that I am thankful.
Medically, nothing major happened, but a bunch of little stuff reminded me that I am not getting younger. Stress and anxiety do not help, but a handful of other little niggling things needed to be dealt with, as well as an issue with my eyes declining. For the record, loss of use of my eyes is probably my biggest fear. This year I got my first set of bifocals as well. Sharp eyes can see pics of me taken earlier in the year where my eyes were crossing. Fortunately that seems to have corrected itself a bit, but I was very conscious of it. If you are watching my TV appearance closely, you will see me wink one eye closed...because I knew my eye was crossing. I also had a slightly dislocated jaw that was affecting my speech. You can hear that on the TV interview as well. I have been trying to overcome THAT this year as well. That seems to be getting better. My limp from the 2004 accident along with the nerve damage seems to be getting better this year as well. I knocked some things back into alignment I guess. (Back in 2004 I had a severe accident and broke my neck and did a few other damaging things to myself.) I have been taking a lot more walks on the weekend when I can. That activity, along with some really minor dietary changes, have me about 12 pounds lighter than I was on my last birthday!
As to losing that 12 pounds, I gave up fast food hamburgers just to say I did. I have not had a fast food hamburger since probably July of 2010. I cut WAYYYYYYY back on my drinking. That probably has dropped some weight for me, as well as cut back my appetite for foods that are bad for me in the wee hours. I don't eat anything heavier than cereal now when I come home from work. It was not at all unusual for me to hit the late night drive thru on the way home from work. I also took up my bicycle again, and found that after many years off of it, I can still easily do a 20 mile ride with little effort.
The back side of the year has gotten easier and easier. I had several tremendous hurdles to leap early in the year, and I have cleared them all and am not looking backwards to see them as they are getting further away.
All in all, as bad as the year was, enough good did come out of it. I have to say, I did lean very heavily on Lori, and my immediate family of friends for support this year, and I cant thank them enough for being supportive and helpful through all we went thru together. Those of you who made the biggest differences...you know who you are. THANK YOU. Most of the troubles have passed, so I am looking to this new year for me to see better things, and less peaks and valleys and more plateaus. I am REALLY enjoying my newest hobby of local historical research in regard to area nostalgia and history, and I have implemented this love by administrating a Facebook page for folks who grew up in Daytona. It is amazing the memories that have flooded back, and the connections I have made from this group.
Here is to another new personal new year...this one will easily be better than the last!!!