From 2004-2014 is a drunken stupor...my lost decade.
2014 nearly killed me* and then...
Here's 2015 in my world:
Jan 2: 7:30 AM. Arrive at work. It's been 18 hours since the last time I smoked weed, and I'm hung over, as usual. I spent the previous night watching How I Met Your Mother (I'm only in season 3 at this point), and something in me snaps.
Jan 2: 8:00 AM. I check myself into Ellis Hospital for mental issues. I'm feeling suicidal.
Jan 2: 10:00 AM. The nurse determines I'm not actually going to kill myself if I'm released, and so I am. My parents come down from Willsboro, and the illusion that I've got it together is shattered.
Jan 2: 11:00 AM. I arrive home, and empty 3 bottles of very good German beer in the sink. I now have no consumable alcohol in the house.
Jan 2. I call various psychiatrists, trying to make an appointment. I'm not suicidal at this point, so it's technically not an emergency, so nobody has room to pencil me in. Granted, I'm a mess, and at the end of my chain, none of this is good news.
Jan 2: I find someone.
Jan 3: Extinction burst. I get shitfaced on a bottle of Ouzo and destroy the 2 bedroom doors (since replaced). Concurrently, our Big Computer crashes, and I'm in no condition to help (in fact, the escalation calls fail to waken me from my alcohol-induced coma).
I stop drinking. Skip ahead a while and I'm finally seeing the shrink. He diagnoses me with depression (natch) and anxiety disorder. Zoloft is perscribed.
I spend the next 2 weeks in a fog, as the SSRI pounds away at my system. At the same time, I begin Slaughtering My Demons.
In the ensuing months, I've come to terms, more or less, with my anxiety, repaired my professional relationships, played an essential role in the successful datacenter relocation and supercomputer expansion of Evil Conglomerate Customer (TM), and was rewarded with a promotion in my annual review this past October.
From my point of view, so far, I've got nothing to apologize for.
And now we're in mid-November, and I begin looking to the next phase of my life. I've finally conquered my demons, and it's time to start a family...
I try online dating. Match.com sucks. okcupid sucks. eHarmony isn't much better, but in order to get anything out of it, the upfront cost is around $250 (and it doesn't matter how long you sign up for, 2 years is actually cheaper than 3 months).
And then I meet a wonderful girl**.
And then I blow it.
Frankly, I'm ahead. It was a good year. I suck at people. I'm learning. And honestly, while the impression I gave about my attitude toward money was horrifying, I'm sure the way I explain my thinking in the Money and Happiness post isn't so much.
And when the time came to finally meet the wonderful girl in person, I'm so concerned about seeming optimistic that I say I'm having a great day (which I am) and that nothing could bring it down, because of the bonus.
Missing, of course, was the context. The struggle with anxiety, depression and alcoholism. The seeking of help, of turning my life around, and how the promotion was an affirmation of my effort, and the bonus a reminder of my success in turning my life around. OF COURSE I was happy about that.
And yet, I was too proud, or too embarrassed about where I came from to put my optimism in the truthful context. And that's how I blew it. Shame begets anxiety and anxiety begets regret. But this time regret won't beget shame, as it has in the past, because this time, I actually tried. I recognize where I went wrong, and I'm hoping the various virtual particle interactions that occur in the void between matter compel her to read this post, because I think it will explain a lot.
And she told me not to contact her. So I won't.
So geht die Welt.
(To be completely truthful, I wish I had a few practice dates before this one to learn this kind of lesson, because this girl** is really special, and I don't think I'll find anyone like her).
*And by 2014, I mean "I" and by "me" I mean "myself."
**And by girl, I respectfully mean woman.