2014: In The Rearview Mirror

(originally written 12/27/14)

Yet another year is almost in the books—just like the calendar predicted! 
It was a productive year for me. It was a trying year for me. It was a year of many adjustments, mainly physical but also emotional. It was a year of milestones and a year of realizations.


Already dealing with the trauma of ever-increasing hair loss, in February I was diagnosed with my first...cavity. 
Refusing to accept this, I simply pretended the diagnosis never took place and continued on with life—making sure no cold touched the tooth. At times I was brought to my knees with searing pain—which led to more searing pain since my knees are shot. But 95% of the time I handled it. Still, the problem will be dealt with once and for all on New Year's Eve.


That was far from my lone physical setback—in August, I managed to somehow tear my right meniscus. During treatment for this injury I was found to have knee arthritis (and how!). For several weeks I was left with a penguin's mobility, but things improved considerably by year's end. The same can't be said about my softball skillz—their nearly universal decline led me to give up the sport before becoming a total embarrassment. Thanks to Ed for accepting me into his group basically off the street. Wish it could have lasted longer.


These 2014 issues, and others, helped me realize that I was 34 years old—but still behaved like a college kid much of the time and carried a similar sense of responsibility. Following a series of regrettable missteps, I decided it was time to act the part of someone my age. 
It's tough deviating from behaviors you've embraced forever. I've been the go-to guy for a joke, prank, etc. ever since high school. In fact, I once intentionally fell loudly from a chair during a performance of Hamlet in English class just for the laughs. But I'm not here to talk about the past.


Well into adulthood, I never really grew out of goofball mode—and it negatively impacted my life in many ways. 


Now, I'm never going to be a full-on serious guy—there will always be some level of clown. But I now understand that life is not a 24/7 performance, and it's better to pick my spots for goofing off. (Mitali, Andy, I tried really hard to be good that night at the restaurant. I hope they still let you two eat there.)


During the spring, after numerous failed attempts to lift my suspension, I accepted there's no room at the new BleacherReport for Joe Davis—they've (understandably) upped the standards and requirements for their writers to levels extremely difficult for regular "Joes" like myself to match as they expand to broadcast media. 
With that in mind, I finally gave life to a project idea originally conceived just before my 2012 stint in the loony bin—my own website. Where I'm the boss and no one can suspend me for violations I didn't commit or cheat me out of promotions I'm owed.

 

TheSkillzReport.com is my baby, and in time it's going to be great. Special thanks to D-Rock and Chicken for their assistance and dedication; you guys won't be forgotten when I'm global.


Speaking of the loony bin...
As many know, I battle bipolar disorder (aka manic depression). If I don't take several magic pills at least every other day, I can become unbalanced and incapable of controlling my emotions at times. It's better than cancer, don't get me wrong. But it isn't much fun. 
For professional reasons in late summer, I skipped several daily doses. Without going into detail, I'll just say that was a bad mistake, and the fallout made for a very tough autumn. Special thanks are owed to my mom, my top bro Chicken, his girl Emiko and my docs for supporting me through the events of that period—you know what you did, and it will never be forgotten. 


My kid and I enjoyed an eventful year, milking goats out in the middle of nowhere, riding a real-life Thomas The Tank Engine, marching in a parade and much more. She officially became a student in August—with a hot young instructor—and can now read better than at least one adult I know. She also outweighs at least one adult I know. Yes I mean you, Kay. Especially if you got that new bike you wanted.

 

In June, one of my goldfish died. She didn't say anything. She didn't do anything. She served no purpose whatsoever. But I was still saddened.
I spent much of 2013 off the grid to focus on my BleacherReport career (for all the good it did). Many of my friends were not seen for a year or more as I devoted all my spare time to sportswriting and my kid. Some weren't even spoken to, as I deactivated my cellphone and social media accounts to eliminate all potential distractions. If any good came from BR's rejection in 2014, it was restoring regular contact with friends such as Nate and Aldo—two of my oldest boyz—and snapping an 18-month streak without a Miriam hug. That was great.
BR wasn't the only thing I had to let go this year—someone I thought was a good friend proved herself to be anything but, and disappeared from my life with zero warning or explanation. I tried in vain to reach out, but ultimately made the difficult decision to move on. 


This choice grew from my overall realization that if I continue to judge and let "the humans" and their behavior get to me as I always do, I'll go nuts. 
People are going to do what they want to do, and it will often be something I don't approve of, or think is stupid. They're going to be rude, ignorant and idiotic and they're not gonna give a rats ass what I think—after all, who the f--- am I? Accepting that has brought me a sort of peace I haven't felt in a long time.


So that's it. 
This is usually the part where I'd say something silly, but that's so 2013.
Happy Holidays, friends.