2015: A Quick Year in Review.

Christmas day photo. Or an allegory. Or some such thing.

Christmas day photo. Or an allegory. Or some such thing.

Think of this as a poorly timed Christmas letter. Of sorts. Or not. Whatever. I really couldn't think of a good opening line. So. Christmas Letter it is. Get off my lawn.

I started thinking about 2015 as a whole last weekend when I realized that I terminated my employment and that of all my staff on January 24th of 2015. For background see: What Do I Wanna Be When I Grow Up… I'll wait for you … continuing… So it's been a weird sort of year.

What I didn't understand was how much time and energy I spent on that business. How when it was gone I had something called "free-time". How I have no idea what to do in that free-time. How I spent 20 years working on something and then it was gone and I had nothing to put in its place. And it confused… no… confuses me. A lot.

I keep thinking about those 20 years and was it worth it? Would I do it again? … And like most everything in my life, I would probably do it again but not necessarily the same way. (Well. To be honest. I'm not sure that I will ever start my own business again. I'm really not.) I think what I accomplished was great. But If I did it again I would hope I could commit to something but not have it devour me. I have this habit of jumping in completely, regardless of all else and losing bits of me in the process. In work as in relationships. I'm nothing if not predictable. The key is knowing my formula. It's a complicated one and it involves the DSM. Moving on…

I like to believe that I learn. That I make mistakes and that I move on. But the reality is I can dwell in my mistakes a little more than I should. Of course, the other side of my brain will tell you "how will you learn if you don't dwell" and this is, of course, also true. (Are you getting what it's like to be stuck in my head?)

I really don't know what else to say on the matter. Other than I'm still working through it all. I'm still processing. And that I may never figure it all out and that would be OK too. It was a large portion of my life. It was 3 relationships all in the first 10 years of the company… and no relationships in the last 10 years of the company… hmmmm… oh gawd… Something else to think about.


It's been a weird time. It's been a confusing time. It was the best of times it was the blurst of times.

What else happened this year? Point form, I think…

  • closed company
  • emptied office.
  • bought my first suit… didn't wear it for a job interview
  • became a full-time freelancer
  • started going out to a bar… and "socializing"
  • walked… a lot
  • important thing I've blocked out of my memory
  • ate bacon… a lot
  • family reunion (mother's side)
  • Mexico… again
  • grand-nephew
  • important thing I've forgotten; using brain cells instead to remember 1980s advertising.

That's about it honestly. Doesn't seem like much when you point-form it. But there you go. …I'll post a slide show of all of this in another post. Probably. If I remember. Someone remind me in a week or so.

Take care


A Man Walks Into a Bar…

It goes up. It goes down. It goes round and round and round.

It goes up. It goes down. It goes round and round and round.

A man walks into a bar. The bartender says "Hi, It's good to see you, I haven't seen you in ages, how long has it been, are still drinking… was it a Blue… light?" 

I reply "yes, yes it's good to see you too, I've been busy, working mostly." I pay for the beer and move away from the crowed bar to the dance floor in the back.

I am initially disoriented but very little has changed. Everything is exactly where it was. The pool tables are where they always were. Same too the piano and the bars and the TVs and, well, everything. The bartenders are the same people too. The dance floor is the same. The DJ is the same DJ. The music style too is exactly the same. It's new music but the same beat. It's the type of music that I love. I make my way through and stand in the same place that I have always stood. I relax. Everything is the same. Nothing has changed.

It's been eight years since I last stood here.

My eyes adjust to the lighting around the dance floor. I begin to notice familiar faces. They appear much older than I remember. I wonder if they've been here every Saturday that I have not. Everyone I see, that I used to see, looks very old. Weirdly old. I suddenly realize they are probably thinking the same thing about me. All of a sudden I feel out of place. I feel like I no longer belong.

I drink my first beer a little quicker now.

I have not been out to a bar, drinking by myself, in eight years. Eight years of staying at home on Saturday nights and watching movies. Eight years of drinking pots of tea. Eight years of Saturday nights at home on my sofa. I begin to wonder why it's been so long since I've been out for a drink by myself. I look around. I begin to get more uncomfortable. I begin having arguments with myself. I begin to remember why I stopped drinking. Why I stopped going out to bars. Why I stopped. My comfortableness is now gone.

I order beer number two.

I remember eight years ago it was nothing for me to drink 15 beers in a night. And still want more. I remember needing to shut my brain off. Alcohol shut my brain off. My brain was still thinking. I must drink more. Why won't my brain turn off? I must drink more to shut this thing off. Stop thinking. I feel out of place. Still not right. Still can't talk to men. Still feel unworthy. MORE BEER. Shut up. Enjoy yourself. No. Can't. Not worthy. Stupid. SHUT UP Enjoy yourself. No. Can't. … … I used to have to drink until the stronger part of my brain would shut up. That took a lot of beer. And. Eventually. That part of my brain would shut up. I could never silence it. But at least it would shut up for a moment or two so I could enjoy myself. Enjoy the music. Enjoy being.

My brain began to race.

This is only your second beer Tom. You can't handle it. This is not the end of the world. There is no way that you could drink that much again. You couldn't cope before. No way you can cope now. You are not the same person you were eight years ago. Just try to relax and enjoy the music. It will be OK. You will be fine. No you won't. What makes you think you can handle it now?

I order beer number three.

Three beers is not the end of the world. Many people drink three beers on a Saturday night. It's Saturday night. It's only three beers. I try to enjoy the music. I like the music. Why did you even come out? You don't wanna be that drunk again, do you? Just go home. Shut up brain. Listen to the music. You like this song. Listen to this song. Just shut up and listen to the fucking song. I start to sing along with the song that's playing. Hoping that this will help. It always did in the past. OK. It's helping. I continue singing. This seems to be working. Good. Everything is under control. Let's sing the song and everything will be fine.

An attractive man slowly walks by and cruises me. Strongly. Oh. Fuck. Why did he have to look at me? Just pretend I'm not here. There's hotter men over there. Don't look at me. Go over there. One thing at a time. Fuck. There goes all that calmness that I just found. My brain is panicking again. I try to go deeper into the music. It's a song I love. It's a new version for me. I know the words. I sing along. Ugh. It's not working. Why did he have to notice me? I can't deal with everything right now. Just go home. No stay. 

I order beer number four.

I start to panic about everything. I continue to sing along. The man walks by again and cruises me again. I continue to sing along.

I order beer number five.

The bar is surprisingly quiet for last call. I tell the bartender that it's been eight years since I was last here. There's a little sadness in his face. He replies, "It's been too long. Good to see you again. Don't stay away too long next time." He gives me a peck on the cheek. I walk back to the dance floor. My brain natters away to itself. I continue to sing along.

I finish my beer and leave the bar at 2:30. I walk home. My brain is running a mile a minute. Was that good? Was that bad? Did I have fun?

I finally get to sleep at 5:30. I am emotionally spent.

The following night a man walks into a bar again.

What Do I Wanna Be When I Grow Up?

The path to somewhere. I think. But where to? Also. I resisted a fork in the road picture. I would slap myself if I did that.

The path to somewhere. I think. But where to? Also. I resisted a fork in the road picture. I would slap myself if I did that.

Ah. There's a question.  A question that is, slowly but surely, eating my brain.

As you may or may not know (honestly do I look like I'm a mind reader?) I am currently unemployed. Well. I guess. Technically I'm under-employed but that's a topic for another day. After almost 30 years in the publishing industry and 22 years helping to build a company it all came to an end on January 22nd.

I am no longer receiving a paycheque.

The end wasn't traumatic. It wasn't painless either.  But when you remove all of the externals and the cruft it was simply this: employed one moment and unemployed the next. I had finally reached the end of the first road I traveled down as an adult. Well. And again technically. That road hasn't actually ended but I can't think of a better turn of phrase.

The desk of emptiness.

The desk of emptiness.

I still haven't come to terms with things. Anything. I don't truly know what I'm feeling about the whole matter. Nor do I know where to start dealing with it let alone explaining it. There are so many story threads that weave together that to tell the whole tale is difficult. What I'm saying is this: I'm trying to figure out the last 30 years. 

For someone who has spent their life putting someone else's words on "paper", sorting out my own words is a challenge at the best of times. Not the least of which when I 'm trying to figure out my entire life up to this point in addition to what I wanna be when I grow up. I'm no story teller. At least I don't think I am. (Several friends opinions to the contrary.)

But. Let's be frank. (Hi, Frank. It's me. Frank.). If I don't start putting all of these thoughts into a t-chart, venn diagram, brain map, spreadsheet, or something* my brain may literally burst. And nobody wants that. It would probably be quite messy. Tom brain bits everywhere.

So sort it out I must. But this may take a while. So. If you're in a rush and don't want to wait for me (and given my blog writing track record who could blame you) here's the short version: great stuff happened, then things changed, and now there are a lot of possibilities, and I have no idea what I wanna do except continue doing what I've always done.

… and apologies if this post is more rambling than usual. Brain. Bursty-like …


* If you need a t-chart, venn diagram, brain map, spreadsheet, or something get in touch. I'm very good at creating these things. Especially the somethings. I'm especially good at the somethings!


Beast of Burden

I had my last therapy session over a year ago.

There are many reasons why I stopped going…

1) it was too dang much money. There are many things in my life that I wanted to be spending $400 a month on. Tangible items. Things like new furniture and a new washer/drier (my old washer was only working because of duct tape and a chop stick)!

2) I never really liked his style. Having never been to a therapist before I had no idea what to expect. It worked for a while but I got tired of spending $100 to talk for 45 minutes. And although I think "Freudian slip" therapy works for some people, I just thought it was getting silly ("no there is no deeper meaning, I said the wrong word")

3) He could not find a regular space for me, and yet continually kept pressuring me to come twice a week. I kept telling him why I couldn't come twice a week and he kept pushing back. Reasons including: I don't have $800 a month, I can't function properly afterwards, I have a full time job. You know, flimsy excuses. He would simply not listen to me. (Sure he was probably trying to push some buttons, but come on … he began to sound more like a used car salesman.)

4) But, most importantly, I reached a plateau. After Slugging up a hill for 6 months I reached my first real epiphany. And on getting to this level I felt it was a good time to pause.


Am I saying he was a bad therapist? Nope, he was a good one. Am I saying that I regret going to therapy? Not at all. Am I saying therapy is bad? Nope, I'll probably go back at some future point.

So, why then, why am I bringing this up a year later? Because after my stewing in the juices of my epiphany for such a long time I have come to several realizations, but I'm going to need professional help to get to the next level. I need someone to tell me if I'm crazy, just crazy, or crazy with probably cause. I think. It's honestly quite unknown, at this point, if i shall proceed. I'm reasonably certain I shall proceed but, let's be honest, getting at the root causes of one's behaviour can be a scary experience.

Brave heart, Thomas. Brave heart.

(Oh and more on the crypticness in a latter post.)