I originally started writing this post on New Year’s Eve and have procrastinated long enough. I think I’m just going to leave it as is and hit the PUBLISH button. I’m tired of all the retrospectives and Top 10 lists from 2017. But here’s mine, anyway.
It’s Day 2 of 2018 and I, for one, have been ready to shove that 2017 bastard out the door for quite a while now. I wish I could say I had higher hopes for this new year, but I really don’t. Course, that could just be the depression talking. I mean, it’s always talking, but it’s deeper than usual right now. Thanks, Obama!
Personally, last year was up and down for me. Mostly down. The last month, in particular, has been a wild, manic ride and now I’m facing an impending swing to the Upside Down. It’s a “Flowers for Algernon” sensation, winding down from all that energy and creativity back to the deep, dark depression side.
Anyhow, let’s do the obligatory end-of-year retrospective post.
Things I was thankful for last year:
- Friends. I play my cards pretty close to the vest, resulting in me having a rather small inner circle. But those people are precious to me. They are safe havens, even in the midst of chaos and monsters. They know some of my deepest secrets. They play devil’s advocate and they call me on my bullshit.
- Medication. Without pharmaceuticals, who knows where I’d be? Not in a good place, that I can tell you. Yes, my depression and all the other crap is still very much there. And prominent. But that’s with the drugs. Without them? I know from experience I’m much, much worse. I just started on some adaptogens, thanks to a friend, and I’m hoping they will fill some of the gaps the meds don’t cover. More on those at a later date.
- Music. I cannot begin to describe how critical music has been to me for the past year. It is ALWAYS a vital part of my life, don’t get me wrong. I literally can’t remember my life without song in it. I have been using the hell out of some Spotify this year, creating tons of different playlists for different moods and occasions. Lately, instead of my typical hours of daily cable news, I’m cranking tunes instead. It keeps me (relatively) sane.
- Karaoke. Yes, it’s music, but this warrants its own bullet point. Singing is therapeutic for me, cathartic. I’ve been singing karaoke for almost a quarter century and I’ve fallen in and out of love with it many times over the years. I used to host a karaoke show in Dallas, sometimes singing seven nights a week. Depression and anhedonia have made it impossible to enjoy at times, but 2017 saw what I’d like to call a bit of a karaoke renaissance for me. I’m enjoying it like I haven’t in a long time. I’ve always had a pretty extensive repertoire, but now I’m singing tons of songs I’ve never done before. I’m also singing a lot more for myself and not for other people. Lately, I am only singing songs I can connect with. Like I said, cathartic.
Things I was not grateful for last year:
- Donald J. Trump. He lost the popular vote, bigly, by over 3 million votes. But that doesn’t matter because he won the antiquated Electoral College. The man has brought nothing but degradation to the Oval Office and the United States and its world standing. He is absolutely unqualified, the most ignorant and stupid man to have ever held office…period. And the damage he has wrought in just his first year of the presidency will take generations to undo. And yet…
- 62,000,000 MAGA’ers. And the bulk of them still supports Trump after almost a year. Even when Trump is removed from office, the real problem still remains, and that’s all the idiots who voted to put him there in the first place. And why did they want him? Because, literally, “anyone is better than Killary.” Give me a fucking break.
- The REAL Fake News. I’m not talking about CNN or BBC or the “failing” New York Times, etc. etc. I’m talking about Donald J. Trump, his mouthpieces (the most recent liar being Sarah Sanders), Faux News, Breitbart, Drudge. When the President of the United States literally calls the media the “enemy of the people,” you can damn well be sure we’re on a slippery slope. Anything he doesn’t like is “fake news.” Fascism much?
- Mental illness. It really messed with me in 2017, and it continues into this new year. It wreaks havoc on me, my relationships, my finances…everything. This shit sucks and I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.
- ADD. My ADD has really been making it difficult to focus for any length of time, which keeps me from one of my favorite things: reading. I used to read several books a week, often multiple books at a time. I can’t remember the last book I read now. And that sucks.
- Disappointments. I had more than my share of people letting me down last year. People that I considered friends. I have no room in my life for liars or bullies or people who betray me. Why surround yourself with those kinds of people?
Smartest Decision I made in 2017
- Not seeing “Justice League.” I just know it sucked ass like “Batman v. Superman” did. And like “Suicide Squad.” I wish D.C. made movies that were even 25% as good as Marvel. Though, to be fair, I’m not including “Wonder Woman” in this, which I have yet to see.
Worst Decision I made in 2017
- Spending way too much money. Thanks, bipolar disorder!
Favorites of 2017
- Traveler Winter Shandy. This is one awesome beer. Now that I gave up Yuengling for their pro-Trump stance, I’m back to enjoying some fine microbrews and other great beers. Guinness, anyone?
- Roku. I had a first-generation Roku until I upgraded to a new streaming stick a few months ago. Between Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, there is nearly infinite entertainment available. I’m woefully behind on basically every show I watch, both with gobs of saved DVR episodes and unwatched streaming episodes. But I do love having that availability.
- “I Love You, America” with Sarah Silverman. It’s on Hulu and it should be required viewing. I’ve loved Sarah for a long time, but this show is just…perfect. She is so good at describing and explaining different topics, and at talking to anyone from any background.
- TV game show resurgence. There are a number of game show revivals that have proven to be quite good. “To Tell the Truth” is a great show. I guiltily dig Andy Cohen’s new version of “Love Connection.” And my favorite is one that I missed the first season of…”The Wall.” What a great show. It’s like Plinko mixed with trivia. Love it.
- “Atypical” on Netflix. One of my favorite shows of the year, this series is about a high school kid with autism and his quest to find a girlfriend. Funny, touching, brilliantly written and acted, you should run (don’t walk) to Netflix and binge this one ASAP. The way they depict someone on the spectrum is simply incredible.
- Hard Candy. Yeah, this doesn’t help you unless you live around here, but they are an incredible band. The lead singer, Erin Sena, can sing any song on the planet.
- Paloma Faith. Look her up. She’s one amazing singer.
- The Eels. I’ve loved Mark Oliver Everett’s “band” for decades now, but I rediscovered his giant musical catalog in the last few months. His frank and sometimes explicit lyrics and melodies dive deep into all sorts of issues, including depression. I love them.
- My new Samsung Galaxy S8. I don’t buy new phones every year, I can’t afford to do that. Over two years ago now, I jumped off the iPhone ship onto Android and haven’t regretted it one bit. I prefer the more open platform and it’s customizable everything. Not to mention the fact that there are so many apps that cost money on Apple’s App Store that are free in the Google Play Store. The S8 has a beautiful vibrant screen and I dig virtually everything about it. Except maybe for Bixby.