Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The forced perspective of online reminiscing

For the past hour or so, I've been scrolling through my old Facebook notes. Remember those? Practically a defunct feature now, Facebook Notes were very popular among users in the site's earlier days. (MySpace, too, had both a blog and a bulletin feature, and I remember a lot more writing by a lot more friends in those days. I miss that. One of my friends has said that Facebook is basically Pinterest now. Funny how creativity has shrunken as social networks have multiplied.)

One note that particularly caught my eye was one I wrote about the new year in 2009. Turns out I posted it as a blog as well (often, they were standalone pieces). Though optimism abounds for the new year, you can read how happy I was to leave 2008 in the dust.

Hey, Ian of 2009, can you hear 2013 Ian? IT'S ALL RELATIVE.

The first thing I see is some random metrosexual being asked about his New Year's resolution. 

"I'm gonna try not to watch so many reality shows," he said. Either that, or "I'm gonna watch more reality shows." I can't recall exactly. But he followed it with a carefree giggle that suggested he could light his citronella candles with my medical bills. I pondered how awesome it must be to have your stuff so much together that this is the kind of resolution that immediately crops up when pressed on live national TV.

At the time, I was in the midst of several months of physical therapy prompted by a relapse of sciatica in my back. On top of each twice-weekly session costing up to $40 (thanks to my insurance carrier switching at the new year), I was paying off my $900 share of an MRI. That sucked at the time to me, but I could afford it. Now, I'd be happy just to have health insurance. My cares then seem as trivial to me now as the guy's on TV did to me then.

Is it me, or was 2008 a year that you not only want to leave in the rearview mirror, but yank off the mirror too just to make sure?

It's you, 2009 me. Nowadays, I look back fondly upon that era as a time when I had my stuff together. Yes, maybe I messed up with the beautiful and locally famous neighbor I met at our complex swimming pool, but at least I had the opportunity to mess up. I made sure I made the most of it! Also, a job, money, professional growth, bike trails and a YMCA membership. Those perks blunted a lot of pain.

Combined with increasing work pressures, most of us wonder just where the time goes.

Oh, the burden of gainful employment! Such a distraction from the quantity time unemployment gives you to dwell on all the things you should never think too long about.

But yes, time does have a way of going, eventually leading me to tougher pastures where being overworked was but a fond memory. For all the loneliness and misery I often felt in Missouri, I never took for granted that I had a steady job and a healthy, independent life. It couldn't — and didn't — last forever, but neither was it as bad as I sometimes made it out to be. It's all relative. I hope I'll always remember that.

And I hope one day I'm able to look back at 2012-2013 as the darkness before the dawn rather than, "Man, I thought I had it tough then!" It could happen. I sure as hell hope not.

OK, that's enough navel-gazing for one day.

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