Time for some coffee…

As I pass into my 44th year, I reflect. My birthdays don’t bother me the way that they do some. I also don’t like to shrug them off as being just another day. Hey: it is my day (shared with a few million other people). The day I began the journey. I treat it as some might New Year’s Eve. It is a time to reflect. It is a time to prepare. It is a time to think about the route to the destination that is my next birthday.

43 was a damn good year. I hit a rough patch with my wife and family but we came through stronger and better than we had been. The “dream house” on the bucket list was checked off (which probably greatly attributed to the rough patch). After 10 years, I finally got the help I needed at my business to allow me to do what I need to do to help make the next ten years successful. I rekindled old friendships and began a few new ones.

Besides breaking 90 (golf reference), the one thing that was missing was Coffee.

Words and thoughts are my playground, my Lego set. There was no shortage of actual coffee. The pots of freshly ground Kona flowed like a river. My Coffee Chronicles, though, took yet another year vacation. And that is why 44 is preparing a huge backhand slap to 43.

I first started writing my column, Coffee Chronicles, back in 2001. I tell people I was blogging before there was such a thing as a blog. It was during a time of my life that I desperately needed to do it. I had finally figured out that my head was firmly secured up my ass with no idea how to get it out. According to the AA definition, I was insane: doing the same things over and over again and expecting different results. So, with words and thoughts, I built myself a head-from-ass excavator.

The column never really amounted to much. The fancy web site never had more than a couple dozen subscribers as I delved into the psychosis and neurosis and maladaptions that had defined my life. But it worked. After 6-7 years, four books, and thousands of columns, I found myself in a good place. A healthy place. I shrugged free of my addiction, really started to love myself, forgive myself, forgive others, and began a new journey into a better future.

And then I stopped writing.

Every year since I stopped writing, the new year has bitched slap the old year, making my ears ring and stars appear in front of my eyes. Where’s the god damned columns? Where’s the friggin’ articles? Where’s the novels and essays and letters and…the pummeling continues.

I don’t know! And stop slapping me! You’re making me spill the frickin’ coffee!

But I do know. Aye, the first step in getting my head out of my ass was being honest with myself, being able to stand naked in front of a mirror and see the good, the bad and accept. (Yes, another AA thing. I actually steal a lot of material from them. Gentler Insanity Anonymous? Depressives? Head-up-your-ass Anonymous?)

Writing Coffee Chronicles was hard. It could be a painful endeavor. Many of the columns dripped with negativity. How do you remember things? The way that my memory works, I would exist once again in that memory. Sights, sounds, feelings, smells: all would be very real, very present, as I stumbled through the column searching for clarity. PTSD? I’ve always wondered…

Some people found my columns too negative. I lost people. To me, though, it is like weight lifting or any other kind of exercise: you have to work through the pain, the negative, to get to the hope, the positive. It happens on Facebook. I’ve thrown out questions and I get encouragement. Although I am greatly thankful for the encouragement, I am actually looking for answers, insights into the way I think and act. Is my perception of events wrong? Is my baggage still intruding on my possibilities? Is an old neurosis, that I cannot see, hindering my journey towards self-actualization? Feedback is good. At times. Having someone call out from a helicopter “the path is three yards to your left you idiot” is not an awful thing when I’m too close to a situation. Yeah, some of my columns would turn into a pity party, but I would get back at it, fight through the hangover, and grasp at truths.

And then as my life began to align into a better shape and structure, the path of least resistance was no longer leading to unhealthy habits and insanity but into better things. The website got crunched by newer technology and I never could figure out how to revamp it or commit the time to learning a new way. Aye, I was a business owner now. I would become a husband and a father and a homeowner and a…there were too many hats to wear and I forgot how to be a writer, forgot how to make time to write.

One of my greatest failings as a person is my incredible ability to adapt and react (no shortage of self congratulation here). I think it is why I ended up where I did instead of in a gutter. No matter what life threw at me—and it threw a lot—I could adapt and react, endure and overcome. But I never developed the ability to act independently of the situation and circumstances.

It’s basic science: for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. As I alleviated the forces against me, the insanities, there was less and less to react to. Life isn’t a hundred yard dash, where you react to the crack of a gun and expend every ounce of effort immediately. It’s a marathon. –I never learned to pace myself, to play the long game.

And then there was you, my reader. I needed you and I don’t know why. Coffee Chronicles, from the very first column, could never have been a “dear diary” type thing, kept to myself and hidden away. I needed an audience. (I could react to the expectation that something was being written? Hmm.) But then the website crashed, became disused and the web server subscription lapsed. Who was I writing to anymore? How would my columns be perceived? As I established new, healthier relationships did I want them to have access to the older versions of me?

So, who wants to come play with me? Like many columns, I have no idea where I’ll go. Spelunking into the cavernous maze of my mind? Stumbling along a mountain top to feel the pull of the high winds, the powerful winds? A swim, a gentle breaststroke across an azure expanse until the depths rise up to swallow me? Or, as I so often did, just a stumble across the landscape of my past, to search out the old demons and imps and devils, to sip some coffee and reminisce about old times?

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