2011, as I have mentioned several times before, is the year wherein the proverbial slate has been wiped clean. It's also my final year in my 20s, and if there's one thing I know how to do, it's to maximize every second of life, especially before the dreaded 3 and oh. Every thing is quite different now, especially since most of the old faces have been replaced with eerily familiar new ones.
Starting off with a bang.
One of the things I've always been proud of is that I've accomplished everything in my bucket list before I hit 30, and the year started off with the last thing on my said list: attending Li's wedding. I initially didn't want to go, but things kinda just happened. Lost a job just to host the damn reception, but I guess, in the long run, it was worth it.
The one aspect of my life that had taken top position when it comes to personal importance is stand up comedy. I started doing stand up late 2010, and 2011 is technically my first year as a comic. In that respect, 2011 was a big year, from popping my comedic cherry at Votre, bombing at Merk's, getting my reality checked at Gossip, warmed up better comedians at Kebab Bob, even earned a couple of TV stints, including doing a set at the country's premier stand up comedy show (which isn't actually as cool as it sounds, but it was an honor nonetheless). Of course, the culmination of that was getting to perform on an international level. Competing in HK's Takeout Comedy Club for their annual comedy festival is undoubtedly the highlight of my year, despite how much I abhor traveling. I've taken a short break from stand up, but I will be back in full swing come 2012.
Despite the therapeutic benefits that come with being able to make a roomful of people laugh, 2011 also saw my supposed mental problems go into full swing. The anxiety, the depersonalization and at times the depression got so bad that it had affected my work, the one avenue of my life that was never affected by any personal matters that ever got to me. I saw it coming from the start of the year, but the early part of the year showed that I was also lacking in a strong support system. Eventually l, with the help of Jo F'n Regis, The Salesman, the Therapist, The Girl Who Saved My Life, The BIg Man and, most recently, The Breakfast Club (unbeknownst to them of course) I survived another year without seeking the professional help everyone thinks I need but don't really want.
Love matters and loose ends.
Everyone has weaknesses, and if one would ask my closest friends, my biggest weakness has always been the fairer sex. The year started out with me in what seemed to be finally a long term relationship that, surprising no one, turned sour. The break up occurred through text, while I was in the office on a Sunday, having another anxiety attack. It was around June or May, and truthfully, with my escalating personal problems, I never had a chance to mourn that particular break up. In fact, while writing this, it's the first time I actually gave a lengthy thought to the events of the break up. If it wasn't for the people present at the office at the time of the break up, I'm guessing I would've handled things differently. I no longer had strength at that point, but they, shall we say, lent me theirs.
Shortly after the breakup, I had some very confusing feelings for a long time friend of mine, but that didn't last, thanks to the Life Coach's insistence that it shouldn't. (This was also the year I decided to start listening to other people, hence the Life Coach and the Therapist).
The year also marked the return of the Island Girl, with whom I had a relationship that wreaked havoc in our respective lives back in 2009, but somehow has provided some form of bittersweet solace from time to time in 2011. Her return reminded me of a lot of things, particularly of things that I have lost and wish to regain in the coming year, provided I don't die.
Other faces from the past have sprung up from time to time. Ex-girlfriends and former potential lovers who I never had a chance to speak with one on one reappeared to establish the end of our time together.
Yes, I have loved and lost several times. More so than most people, according to a work colleague of mine. But the thing is, as the Salesman reminded me, I should not stop pursuing the ideal just because certain opportunities didn't pan out. Truth is, after the break up, I was supposed to stop dating, but in the Salesman's exact words at San Mig, "so number 13 didn't work. Time to look for number 14, or 15, or even give someone a second chance. Point is, you should never stop looking for happiness, because you deserve it". I needed someone to tell me those words for a change.
Fortresses new and old.
Another year, another set of addresses. I tend to move around a lot. This year saw me with only two glaring dwellings. The year started off with me moving into an apartment that I needed the Cheerleader, another ex girlfriend, to acquire. It was ideal for me. It was like a smaller version of my Fortress of Solitude back in 2009: big, empty, and detached from the outside world. Shortly before the Hong Kong trip, I had to move back into the mother's house, as per her request. She had purchased her own home, and left me the old one to share with the brother (who rarely stays there since I moved back in) for reasons, at the time, were unknown to me. Now, I obviously now, and it has been a great source of both excitement and stress, as I was requested to rejoin the family to "take over" the family business. That's still up in the air, and a matter for the coming year.
The Big Man also made strides in his profession, becoming a manager and acquiring the services of yours truly, along with a few others. It didn't last, and while I could list several reasons why I didn't, I'd rather dwell on some of the good that came out of it. I have proven that I still, despite the failing physical and mental health, had the ability to juggle three different lives at once. Working with the Big Man, regardless of the circumstances, was fun. And of course, like with any endeavor, successful or otherwise, it was an avenue for growth, another "battle scar" to tell the grandkids about.
The Think Tank.
This year also marks the first time, in all my years as a freelancer, I have found a company I'm comfortable enough to plat my roots in. I applied to the Think Tank in February, and at that time, I also had the chance to work for a former company I had worked in. That other company promised a bigger salary, and the proximity to where my girlfriend was at the time. Usually, that kind of decision would be a no-brainer, but there was something about the Think Tank that drew me in. I love where the location, the flexible hours, and just recently, the people.
I never got the chance to bond with a lot of the people of the Think Tank in my earlier months, initially, due to the girlfriend, and eventually due to my time working on the BIg Man's project (it took up my nights). After the office was renovated in the middle of the year, and after the trip to Hong Kong, and the dissolution of the Big Man's project, I became witness to the formation of the team I like to refer to as the Breakfast Club (or at times,The Expandables, given the average waist line of the team). This particular story is just beginning (or, as Whoopi mentioned, the first season has just ended). Any TV fanboy knows the second season is usually the best season in any series.
Match Making at its best.
While my love life remains an atrocity, I have managed to get to couples started in 2011. One, out of admitted selfishness. The other, out of hope that I regain some measure of the dreamer I once was.
The first one was The Gadgeteer and the Cheerleader. He just got out of a relationship (a wild, short one with someone I also introduced him too). Once it was over, the Gadgeteer, it hurts me to say it, has been a tad clingy, showing up at my house and inviting me to drink even during my anxiety attacks or bouts with hypertension. I've always had the inability to say no to friends, so this had become something of a problem for me. The Cheerleader herself had become overly friendly with me, and as I mentioned, helped me get the apartment I've lived in for several months. I didn't mind hanging out with her from time to time, but the climax of this tale went down on the very day I moved into the apartment. She called me up, asking if we could get back together. I had a girlfriend at the time, and the solution seemed simple. I set them up, and they've been together. I'm not exactly proud of that, but it all worked out for the best. (I think.)
The second one was with The Salesman and his longtime friend. They've been in love for ages, and just needed a nudge in the right direction. That nudge came in the form of a six foot, borderline alcoholic comedian, and after losing a ton of money (the Salesman did, I've ever had enough money to justify calling it a ton) at the casino, we drove over to the girl where he professed his love and intention to commit while I ate fried chicken. (True story.) Being introduced to people as the "guy who saved my life" is always a reason to smile. I wish them luck and I hope they grow old together.
The year, in so many words.
All in all, while it wasn't a "perfect year", it was all in all a good one. When the year started, I wanted to ensure that I didn't have a single bad day for the entire year, and I did that. A lot of bad shit happened, but I never went to bed before I could do something that cancels out the bad shit. I broke new ground, and the number of people in my life has been cut down to a more manageable size. I had the usual crazy nights that had been the norm since I was 16, and I have managed to survive without compromise or apologies. Now, I belong to a new circle of friends while still retaining some of the more important old ones, working the yin yang jobs (one job I hate, but love the company, another job I love but loathe the people I work with), pretty much in love once again (yes, the elusive "Erin Hannon") and I made the most of my final year in my twenties. I'm proud to say I'm almost home. Not quite there yet, but getting there in my own way.