Apparently I write Christmas letters now. Do people even do that anymore? These post-mortems are like the emo-edgy version of a Christmas letter. Anyway, we made it. For a lot of people, this was the hardest and slowest year, for others it was super quick. For me it was somewhere in-between, but don’t for a second think I’m one of those naive saps that thinks the year is to blame for everything going on and things will get magically better when the clock strikes midnight...but it sure does feel that way. I’m going to give an update on me, as much as I want the entire internet to know, and then an encouraging send-off at the end to ring it in.
Working as normal
My 2020 started off promising. I got hired on full-time after almost 3 years being an intern, which meant I have a big boy job with big boy benefits and pay. That was such a huge blessing that I had been needing for so long, and it happened literally right before the world fell apart. Thank the good Lord that was able to happen when it did. When COVID hit hard and the world when into lockdown, I was one of the lucky ones that didn’t have anything change. I say that with sarcasm and sincerity, because on one hand, nothing changed; I just had to wear a mask everywhere. On the other hand, I was out exposing myself to the virus, especially since I was in and out of hospitals and doctor’s offices every day. It was (and still is, as of this writing) a double sided coin, but I’m just glad to still have a job and staying busy.
Outside of that, I’ve been dealing with a health related adjustment. I found out that I very most likely have Celiac disease. I haven’t been officially diagnosed through medical testing yet, but from my own testing via elimination diets, over the last two years or so, it is indeed the case. It’s been a huge adjustment and struggle. I first experienced the early signs about 5 years ago while in college, but they were minor and sporadic, and I had no idea what was wrong with me, and neither did my doctor at the time. For those unaware, Celiac is an autoimmune disease (not an allergy, like many mistake it for) where your small intestine can’t properly digest gluten. Gluten is found in anything derived from wheat, barley, or rye. The symptoms are a huge list and not all of them happen each time, but I’m sensitive enough that I can’t even eat/drink/touch food or items that has touched food that has gluten in it. It’s extremely frustrating, because my symptoms usually take me out for multiple days; the worst one being extreme fatigue and brain fog, because I can’t do anything about it. The pain is also extremely bad, but I can at least take something for that as it passes. If you’re wondering, no there is no cure for Celiac or anything that makes it better. No magic pill that lets me eat things with gluten in it. Many people don’t believe me when I say that, but it’s a fact.
I almost didn’t mention all of that in this, because I really hate how it has started to define me to people and it becomes the only topic of conversation when people find out or when food is involved anywhere. I think that’s something that will pass with time as people get used to the idea of it and educate themselves about it, but as I’m still in the first year of being strict about my diet, it has to come up all the time so people know what’s going on.
Needless to say, it’s been a very rough year for me because of this situation alone. I’ve spent the entire year finding out what I can and can’t have, my go-to products and meals, etc. Gluten is in a lot more than people realize. I can’t have most of my favorite foods anymore. No more Taco Bell. No more Chinese buffet. No more pizza rolls. However, I can make my own tacos and Chinese food, and find gluten free products that can be very similar to the real thing.
I have tried real hard to keep my head through this. It’s extremely hard to adjust with something like it, but I luckily had a great role model to inspire me through it, retroactively. If it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t have even known what was wrong with me in the first place, but seeing how she’s dealt with it for years was very helpful. It’s possible to have part of your life flipped upside down and still come out swinging and work through it. There is a mourning period for things like this, and I felt like I was able to deal with that quickly and early on because I saw what it could be like years down the road. I really appreciate her for that, and for many other reasons.
The positive things things in my life this year don't necessarily overshadow the crappy ones, but if you know me well, you know I have a ton of hobbies. Perhaps too many. I accomplished a learned a lot this year, which isn't necessarily new. I'm always looking to learn new things and dabble in new areas. I created this website from scratch (mostly) and I'm very proud of how it turned out. It's made with just PHP, HTML, and CSS. Very simple from a developer's perspective but very complicated to those that think making websites is using Wix to drag and drop things on a page or to buy a theme on Wordpress; not that those services are bad. I like having full control over my sites.
All of my other projects are minor ones. I redesigned all of my other websites throughout the year. I learned a lot about firearms and general shooting practices and habits, as well as general survival and being ready for any kind of disaster or event. I randomly got into knives as well, and have an unhealthy collection of them now, as I attempted to try to find the perfect knife for me. Still not sure I found it, but I got close. I learned a little about home servers, and set up a small one of my own. I learned a lot of work related things this year, though none of them are particularly interesting to list here. I got back into the swing of writing music, though it's still hard to get myself to do it when I don't have an ideal recording space, but I'm really hoping to get at least something released in 2021. I re-released my old Christmas song on streaming platforms a few weeks ago.
Video games can be projects when you are a completionist like me. Selective completionist, rather. If I like a game enough, I will do my best to do everything possible and get all achievements/trophies. I did that with a few games this year. Having all 4 platforms gives me an endless supply of games to play, which is a blessing and a curse. Open world and/or story driven games are my jam, but I also am a Call of Duty guy, and had a ton of fun playing Modern Warfare and Warzone with the boys this year.
I listed my top game, movie, and series of the year here. Like I say there, I'm super unqualified because I rarely watch movies when I'm single for some strange reason. Watching a movie always feels like it should be an event shared with someone else to me. I'm weird. With games, I spent more time catching up on previous years' games, so I think I only played two 2020 games, not counting the one I just started last week and haven't finished.
Other than work and health, I’ve had other ups and downs throughout the year. Making new friends, getting close with friends, losing friends. I got to see two of my good friends get married. It has been a huge roller-coaster of so many emotions, it’s hard to stop and let myself process them sometimes, because it can be painful. As I close out the year, I can’t help but focus on the negative, simply because I have a lot of lack of closure in a lot of situations, however I’m confident that I will move forward despite that. I have to be.
This is all stuff I have to remind even myself constantly: If this year was hell for you, don’t let anyone tell you that it could have been worse. That’s such garbage and the ultimate dismissal. Everything is relative, and hell can come in many different ways. Just remember, it’s okay to feel. Mourn your losses, accept your outcomes, and look ahead.
Right now may hurt, but tomorrow can heal, and the next day could revive.