I wanted to write a note (which I'm doing right now) about finally landing a job. But as I was starting, I noticed that it was just over a year ago that I wrote my "Reboot" note on Facebook. My tears welled up while reading it because it seems so so far away. I had such hope, such a positive attitude moving forward. There was some trepidation about moving to the Bronx, but I knew I was going to be alright then.
But a year can change you. I admit to being at really low points, really angry points, points of almost utter despair. I agree with the phrase that your job should not define who you are. However, being without a job defines you more than anything else in your life. If you're married, you're still jobless. If you're gay, you're still jobless. If you have all the money in the world, and you don't need a job, you're still jobless. It permeates every aspect of your being, from the time you take a shower, to the clothes you wear, to the food that you decide (or decide not) to buy. You are defined by this status. It, in every aspect of life, absolutely sucks!
And maybe this is the lingering anger in me, but I do wish this on my worst enemy (not that I really have one). I want mean and nasty people to feel the negative emotions, to not know what to do on any given day, having your best intentions shrivel in the corner as you do the same in your bed. And worst of all, have the feeling that the place you live is not your home, but a prison... an exile from the real world and all it has to offer.
Okay... enough of that crap, because during this time, I have found some amazing points of light in my life. My family and friends (some of whom will get a shout out here in a bit) both far and near who at different times rallied around me, told me of my value in this world and urged me to never give in. There are so many to mention, but time and space will only allow me to mention a few.
First off, Christina Sommers... she's not on Facebook so she'll probably not know of this. Chris and I are friends and former colleagues at GlaxoSmithKline. She left before I did and still works and lives near Philadelphia. She called me up after us not catching up with each other for about a year and tells me that I must come to Philadelphia to see Scissor Sisters with her. I did and it was amazing, cathartic and for about two hours, I was me again. I never danced so much at a concert, but it was the perfect venue and what can I say, it was Scissor Sisters. They are one of my all-time favorite bands. Having a point in time like that can provide you with so much hope, so much invigoration... a place to start from. This final push to keep going did come an awful lot from that.
Gotham Volleyball.. what can I say. You've always been there for me since the day I joined. Providing me with fun times, great people and validation. I was unemployed, but still elected a captain for my division for the last two seasons. I had some people who relied on me and my guidance. For all the work that I put forth, I was rewarded many times over. I'm so proud to be on the board of the best sports league in the world.
Dennise Paule. The summer of 2010 would have been awful, but your generosity and love made it bearable and even happy at times. If there is a man in this world who deserves all the great things in life, it is you. Your kindness knows no end.
Next, my family.... Mom & Dad, my brother Bob, my niece Illona, and my sister Peg. How can I thank them enough?
Mom and Dad.. just for the strength that you taught me, the positive attitude that you gave me through both nature and nuture, they kept me going. Your words of wisdom guided me and kept me going. I love you both so very much.
Bob, fourteen years separate us and sometimes that time difference has kept us from getting to know each other, but as I told you when I saw you yesterday, I am so grateful to you for thinking of me when you needed an "as-needed' courier. Those "nickels and dimes" that I got paid as I traipsed around New York literally saved me from having to dig into reserves that I didn't ever want to go into. And honestly, I kinda liked doing the job. I got paid to explore New York like I never did before. Now as I go to work for the very first time in New York City, I have you to thank for knowing the city better than I ever have before.
Illona, I still don't believe that we're uncle and niece... you are really my younger sister and my kindred spirit. We were each other's sounding board as we both went through this hell. I hope that you're next in the job game, you'll find something and I will be there to give you the connections when you need them.
Peg, you are truly a light in my life. You say that I was a gift from God for you. Well, it's the same for me. We have our history and use it to anchor our love for each other. I got my job and my life back. Now it's your turn. Tell me what you need and I will be there to support you, now and always.
Next, Sharon Kenney (Becker). One of the hardest things I had to ever do in my life was leave West Trenton. I knew that it would change my relationship with my sons and my most-awesome ex-wife. But we kept it going. You have been a great cheerleader for me and one of the people who I could turn to when I needed support, because she knows me so well. And last week, I was able to return that favor. You are starting the journey that I did 18 months ago, and I pray that it won't take that long. As you've said, "If it weren't for the fact that we have too much in common, we'd still be happily married." You are so right and although, we can't stayed married forever (we officially still are), I have a great friend... and the best co-parent in the world in my life. I could never ask for better.
And then there's Andy.... Mr. Andrew K. Luke. Wow!! If you asked me that the song "I Want Candy" by BowWowWow could ever be sentimental, I would have laughed, but it's your song. Going through what we went through together, becoming such amazing dear friends. From the Staten Island ferry to Rachael Ray.... to you having to make one of the most heart-wrenching decisions of your life, I am so glad to be able to stand by you and to call you "friend." I am blessed. You will always be in my heart, and you can always call New York home as you will always have a place to stay when you're here. And we will have to do 2-person Karoake again. You allowed me to sing in a way that I've not done in front of anyone ever.
Last, but hardly the least, Tony.... you always say that my English is great, but I cannot think of the words to write to tell you the feelings that I have. You took me in, even though you weren't ready, you supported me in more ways than I can imagine. You truly have seen me at my worst and still love me and care for me. Maybe that's why I can't think of any words to say there, they simply haven't been created yet. I have not been the best partner this past year. As I said before, being out of work defines you more than you can imagine. Now that I'm starting work in just over 10 days, I promise to be the man that you remember, the one that (for some insane reason) you fell in love with, the one who wants our paths to remain together. I love you. I always will... and in the most humble way I could ever say, "Thank you."
So with that, the year-long reboot is complete. I end by saying thank you again to all of you. From the quick post of encouragement, to the reference that didn't pan out, to the hint to tweak the resume, to the drink you bought me, to the love and friendship that we share, I cannot thank you all enough for being the amazing people in my life. I am so incredibly lucky... and if I can say that after these past 18 months, I know that Brendan, the guy that I think is the best version of me, is still here and ready to live life again to the fullest. You're all to take credit in that. You all rock!!