He climbed up on the sofa, put his arms around my neck, and loved me, furiously licking the tears as they streamed down my face after the phone call. He knows this will mean we can’t be together as much anymore, but he’s seen me at my worst and loyal as the day is long, it was his way of telling me it’s all gonna be better. That’s just the way dogs are.
Eight months is a long time. I’ve been out of work since March and living on $104.50 a week unemployment, the benefits of which are scheduled to expire next week. With the gracious help of my forever best friend and roommate, Craig, (who is not much of a reader and says he’ll wait for my stories to become a movie,) I’ve kept afloat. I’ve not accepted charity or favors well. I’m aware over the course of these months, I’ve denied some the blessings that come with giving. Others have creatively found their way into my pantry, pocket and bank account when times were particularly tough. I’ve been kidnapped and treated to dinner and a movie and found bills paid before they even arrived.
A man of words, I am at the moment without any.
The call came this afternoon officially offering me the job I’d interviewed for last week. While I thought it had gone quite well, I also thought I might hear sooner. But a couple things had to happen first. Hindsight is 20/20 you know.
Through the course of the past several years, I have met and friended many new people. People of all persuasions, genders, colors, personalities, traits and states. I had to. After my divorce and the loss of my core of friends, many of whom were probably scared of their own issues, some of which were at the disputing core of my own, I found life kinda sucked being abruptly alone, disenfranchised from all I had known for 35 years. In my new, but increasingly shallow and disappointing life, I was a subculture king, liked and loved …but for all the wrong reasons. Enter drugs. Exit drugs. Exit drug people. And most recently, exiting the remnant of drugless, but similarly unhealthy people from my life, the last of which occurred only yesterday.
Going from lots of friends, to no friends, to lots of the wrong kinds of friends, to no friends again, and now, a final sift of the unhealthy remnant…rest assured, if you’re reading this now, you probably made the cut and are part of a healthy contingent I need to be hanging out with these days. I thank you for making my trip worthwhile.
Since my sobriety a couple years ago, social and emotional cutoffs from people has been nothing short of a slaughter, leaving me almost alone once again until a year ago when I got a new friend and let him in my life. Puppies are the best teachers of love and trust. Instinctively, it’s what they do best. My roommate and close family have noticed a difference in my life ever since. I have begun allowing people of my past back in, slowly, judiciously.
In my stories here, I have been raw and honest about things of my past and hopes for my future and reflective on some of the best times of my life. Some have said I’ve been perhaps too open and detailed. Humbug.
The way I figure it, I have maybe 25-30 years left here and I have vowed to pay all my bills and with what remains, do the best for myself and others and die with no regrets. Naysayers and difficult people are too much work anymore. (That is, unless they are clients and I am getting paid to listen.)
The past eight months were a necessary post-sobriety curing period. When you are jobless, you have a lot of time to yourself to think, realize and change. You learn humility, self-denial and frugality in ways only unemployment can teach. And only when you are entirely ready do the planets align for you, allowing the dominoes to fall in rapid succession to make up for lost time, attempting to fulfill your destiny before you go belly up and six feet under.
To my new and growing posse of friends and the old stand-bys who patiently endured my whining while they waited for this moment, “thank you” seems a trite and inadequate response. So how about this?
“Sorry, I need to get ready for work!”
I’ve waited for 8 months to say that once again.