2022: Surprise and The Unexpected

It was also better than 2021. Easily.

It feels like I spent all of 2021 spinning my wheels, going through the same unproductive motions, while trying to gain enough traction to move my life…anywhere, in any direction, just forward, even if it was just an inch. Same job. Same place. Same diet. Same problems

But I made a decision. I was going to try to move, to find someplace new to live, in part just to find some place new to live, to do something different, change something in my life, and begin to nudge myself out of my old rut. And I did.

2021 was also the year when I finally discovered the reason for my chronic diarrhea: ulcerative colitis. So, I finally had some change. A new place, a house (well worth it, even though it costs more a month than my apartment), and a new medical problem that increased the number of expected medical visits from once a year to once every four weeks. I am not complaining; my stomach has been at peace since September 2021, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Which brought me into 2022 – healthier, with a bunch of new responsibilities and realities I was just getting used to, and not enjoying: raking leaves, shoveling snow, waiting forty minutes for the bus after work, never getting home before five o’clock. But I had hoped and prayed for change. And I got it.

I was retired from my job in July, retired early with severance, which was what I needed, honestly. The job had run its course, I was burned out and not much use, and the university was about to change and go in directions that didn’t include me or most of my coworkers. We had been employed long enough to make too much money doing work that could be contracted out to people who would do it for a lot less, with no benefits. We were dinosaurs of an antiquated system. But the severance package was expected, and unexpectedly generous. I can’t complain.

I have been retired for six months now, and it is the best thing that has happened to me in the last twenty-four years. Six months of not having to get out of bed at five in the morning, not having to catch the 6:30 bus to work, not having to go to work, not having to work, and not having to do it all over again the next day, five days a week. Retirement is one of the great life-changing events and I wish everyone could experience it. I feel free. The concept of possibilities is real to me, now.

Lavearn, a coworker died, and it was actually the biggest surprise of the year, and the saddest. She sat like a lead weight on my heart and soul for months, the second friend of mine to die (Armando was the first) and the first funeral I ever attended. I am glad I went but I would have traded my early retirement to have her back. I miss her and think about her a lot more than I expected.

I was glad when 2020 ended, and we had survived it. And I was glad when 2021 ended, and it looked like we were seeing the end of Covid-19. But 2022… I look back on it with a smile, a small, reflective one. It was a good year for me.

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