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Whether we're talking about hindsight or vision, it seemed right to title this blog with something that's coming for us all. I'm SO ready for 2019 to be over. How 'bout you? While there have been some redeeming moments that it'd be unfair to acknowledge, this year has been overall shitty. There has been more sadness than happiness, more frustration than there have been genuine smiles, and more tears than....well, you get the picture. I've gained weight, I'm experiencing pain and discomfort in two areas of my body that I'm having to get checked out by a doctor before school starts back up, and both my heart and soul have taken a beating many times over during 2019. Physically, my ticker is still pumping but it's been through the wringer. While things have improved, I have emotionally taken significant damage and this tear may take longer to repair. I haven't been 'myself,' lately, but have been trying to come back to who I was - and as a bonus, be BETTER than who I was last year. Steps have been taken and the path is paved; I've just got to keep going. In order to do so, I need to slam the door on 2019 and step into 2020 with a renewed outlook. I need to set my goals and stick to them, I need to not lose sight of what I want (and we ALL know how easy it is to do that) and I need to take care of myself. That's one major problem I had this year - I let myself go, physically, emotionally, mentally. I don't know how I managed to keep it together, but...SHIT, it wasn't easy! I know what I need to work on, and I know how to do it....now I've just gotta commit to it! The stage was kind of already set for the holidays to be, by default, crappy. My mother was starting her shit after Halloween was over with, on who was going where for Christmas Eve, my fiancee planned (last year) to be out of town for Christmas this year, and I was already dreading the idea of being alone this year. And again, there were a few rare moments where there was joy, but for the most part, each day leading up to Christmas has left me wanting to isolate - and I did. I didn't want to be near anyone, didn't want to talk, I didn't want my 'bah-humbug's' to affect those who actually enjoy the 'happiest time of the year.' (Whoever coined Christmas to be this - is deluded, I tell you - because 'happiest' doesn't quite fit!) Even after Christmas was over - it didn't feel like it was 'over.' The sourness and bitterness lingered on - and it might, until I effectively dismantle the tree, take down my garlands that I effortlessly threw across the mantle, pull down the lights from the one window I hung them in, and throw everything up into the attic until next year's Black Friday. I actually wanted to do all of this on the 26th, but as my mother decided to come visit for my birthday yesterday, I left them up so that she could enjoy the Christmas decor before I ripped it all down and tossed it all, along with the rest of 2019. I've literally had NO time to myself for the last week. For the beginning part, I did - I spent much of it alone. In a daze, kinda just...existing. "Is it over, yet?" played over and over in my head, while just going through the motions and not really investing in all of the festivities. It was more of like, a chore, than anything else. My wife spent Christmas with her family out-of-state, and I chose to stay behind so that I could be there with my kids. I was having guests on Christmas Eve, so I cleaned. I cooked. None of it was for me. It was all for my kids and my ex - because when he's happy, the kids are cooperative and generally, everything goes smoother. I know I spoke about our holiday arrangements in an earlier blog and it's the same, year after year...I sacrifice a LOT during the holidays so that my kids can have both their parents present. It is VERY rarely what I want it to be, and this year was no different - it was just MUCH harder, with my better half not even being present. Having everyone over for Christmas Eve was similar to setting a kitchen timer and counting down the minutes before everything was over with. I threw myself into an end-year pause; because I really didn't want to feel. I just watched everyone else enjoy, I fake-smiled my way through it. Inside, though, there was a huge, significant void. I was hurting, and I was sobbing, but I'd be damned if I let anyone see that. I just told myself that once it was over, I could just 'flush' it all and hope for the best next year. The holidays just weren't something I wanted to deal with this year, but alas, there's simply no choice where that's concerned - they show up every year, whether you're ready or not. I do hope, someday, some of that holiday spirit will return and I don't have to feel the need to scowl at the little Christmas displays at the store, despite the sheer prettiness of it all. It is just genuinely HARD to care, when those around you don't seem to care, either. If it wasn't for me, there would be no tree up in my house. There would be no presents under the tree. There would be NO decorations, no lights in the windows. I've always been the one to haul down all the decor on the day after Thanksgiving, and to 'Christmasize,' and the kids would all laugh at my OCD while placing the lights and trying to ensure all the little multi-colored bulbs were facing the right direction, and none would really even offer to help with the decorating or the preparing....I used to think that maybe it was because they all had things to do to keep them occupied - school, work, etc - and I was the one who was always home, so who better to do it all? They all knew that I had it handled, and that I could be relied on to do it all. But now, this year, I'm in school, too. I bust my ass every day to make sure I turn in my best work, my best efforts. I pulled a 3.8 last semester, so that puts me 15 credits closer to my bachelor's, which is one good thing having happened in 2019. The next year and a half will be a continuation of my education, and at some point, I may start working. What's going to happen, then? Who's gonna bring Christmas to my house, because this year, if nothing else, has been a real eye-opener on who it all falls on, who's the glue, who's the one who pulls it all off when it comes to the shopping, the wrapping, the stoking of holiday spirit, when there simply is none IN me to begin with. And, in the end, there's thank-you's, there's 'you did a great job,' and 'you cooked a delicious meal,' but there's still that lingering feeling that I'm truly the only one who gives a shit. My one and only love was not here with me. Neither one of my kids asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Of course, I would have told them, 'nothing at all,' because I don't ever want my children worrying about what material item they could give me - I'd know the thought was there and the sentiment alone would have been satisfying, but they didn't even ASK. Instead, there's lists of what they WANT on my desk, in my text messages....new XBOX controller, new sneakers, LED lights for their room, cosmetics, money, gift cards to whatever-the-fuck-it is, and that stings, too. Yet, I took their lists, threw everything on my credit cards, and pulled it off - because as always, others' happiness is more important than my own. Maybe I need to not give too much of a shit, anymore...something's got to give. As of right now, I've not said anything to my family about how much I didn't enjoy this year's Christmas, and I probably won't....because it's over with, it's done. What's the point? It will just make J feel guilty for not being here (but she wasn't here for a lot of the rest of this year's struggles, so it's probably best she spent Christmas with her family) and it will cause guilt in my children, something I never want to do. And so, I shall flush this emotional turd, and look forward to the brand new year, where MUCH will be changed up. Fewer fucks will be given (and not just pertaining to the holidays), and I'll bet things will be happier and will go a whole lot smoother. Originally, I wasn't going to blog, today, but, really, what kind of a blogger am I if I don't put out an end-year reflection of sorts? I know that my writing was yet another thing that I kind of 'slacked' on, but I'm hoping to get some of that, back, too. And now, to you all, my AS family: If you're struggling, I wish for you, lots of comfort. When times are dark, I wish you light. If you're in pain, I wish for you, relief. If you're feeling lost, I wish for you, clarity. For each moment of sadness, I wish for you a million small moments that make you smile. If you're lonely, I wish for you, friendship and companionship. If you're all of the above, I wish for 2020 to show you all that good things are possible, and that all of the work we do on ourselves, will pay off. I also send you strength, positivity and all of my love. Happy New Year, - Capulet