On this day, one year ago, I became a bachelor.
It was a miserable day. There was a massive snowstorm and the movers taking my ex's stuff out of the house tracked snow and rock salt everywhere. They left the front door open for hours, making it beyond freezing inside.
When they left, my home felt cold and empty, for sure, and wicked dirty. So I cleaned. I scrubbed the floors, dusted the remaining furniture and arranged stuff to make the house livable. By the end of the day, my home was cleaner than it had been in years.
And I was alone.
The past year has been so very interesting. I traveled to Los Angeles, Chicago and Aspen, Colorado. I threw three killer parties (and four smaller ones). I played a lot of baseball. I read a lot of books. I pulled at least three all-nighters. I met some amazing people, reconnected with old friends, had some ridiculously fun nights and generally acted like the invincible 25-year-old I wish I was when I was 25.
On one hand, I'm getting too old for this shit. On the other hand, life has been a fucking riot.
Take last week, for example. I was jammed with school work because I had been in Colorado the previous week. But my buddy texted me on Wednesday, said he was in town for a meeting. I caught up with him at Fergie's at 4 and we wound up at Ortlieb's until midnight. On Saturday, I went to a show with a beautiful young lady and we had a drunken blast all night. I woke up at 6 am in a panic, having realized I sent her a fairly pathetic text in the wee hours of the morning.
It's not just the partying. When I was with my ex, I was constantly thinking there was something wrong with me. Things with us were not good and I knew she blamed me. I walked on eggshells when I was home, hoping not to further anger her. It eroded my confidence, making me feel like I was a bad person. I was fairly miserable and I let that impact my life beyond the relationship.
But I'm not an asshole. Neither is she. We just didn't work well together anymore. I get that now.
Over the past year, I think I've become much more comfortable in my own skin. It's not confidence. I'm just not stressing out, trying to make every single person in the world happy. I'm just doing me.
I like being impetuous, sarcastic and constantly happy. I'm OK professing my adoration to some girl via drunken text in the middle of the night. I don't care that I'm a 43-year-old guy playing third base with a bunch of punk ass 20-year-olds. And I'm going to buy drinks all night for everyone because I have absolutely no interest in money. That's going to happen.
Here's the thing: I like where I am in life. I love teaching. Running the magazine has been one of the most exciting things in my life. I have no desire to make more money, get a better job title or become famous or anything.
There have been difficulties - my step-father died and my dog went blind in one eye, plus I get lonely every once in a while. Dating has more lows than highs (though almost everything about dating is absolutely hilarious). I'm fairly certain I'll never find that ultimate connection. The world is just too large a place. Too many factors have to fall into alignment before romance blooms. And I am nothing if not a hopeless romantic, waiting for perfection.
Oh, and life is just plain exhausting. I could use a few days of vacation.
Amazingly, things can only get better.
The possibilities are endless. Really. I'm financially comfortable, in good health and of relatively sound mind. I have few anchors keeping me anywhere.
Here are a few things I'm considering:
• Teach in Japan for a few years.
• Move to California, New York or New Orleans for a year during a sabbatical.
• Write a book. It's in me.
• Become a stand-up comic. That's in me, too.
• Learn to play guitar.
• Become a real estate magnate.
• Run for political office. And fix the system from the inside.
• Wander aimlessly across Europe.
• Stay at home but disconnect from the world and read a bunch of books. For months. Maybe years. Just me, Mookie and Lucy, chilling. Without the Internet.
In the meantime, I'm hoping to just find a few minutes somewhere along the way when I can just sit in the dark and listen to Boom 107.9. That'd be nice.
I used to have an idea of what my future looked like. Now, I barely know what tomorrow looks like. And that's not a bad thing.