What the fuck happened to 2015.
I feel like I can capture 2015 in three stages:
- Jan-April, where my life was dominated by work; I was working (solo!, since it was confidential, rather than in the team of 8-10 the project should have had) on the engineering work to produce the first draft-stage of my new pilot plant
- May-September, where my life was nothing but work: this was the site shutdown, which happened for some very serious reasons I won't blog about, in which I was given a strict budget and a strict deadline and told that if we didn't have the plant running by X our ability to, well, stay here in Akron as a place of employment would be severely hampered, and had to work a miracle with only one other co-project-leader and some contractors. Literally I did nothing but work during this time period, 60-80 hours per week maybe, evenings and weekends all morphed into additional office hours. Health suffered; house suffered; I drank a lot, picked up a life partner almost by accident, and in the end we saved the site. It's 20% of what it used to be and lumping along slowly on broken rims and superglue, but it's running.
- October-December, during which I realized just how much my own health - physical, mental, spatial (my well-being is severely affected by the state of my own home), emotional - had suffered from the previous 9 months and started the long slow job of digging myself out of a black hole. Also, child care, as my second niece was born and both she and my two-year-old niece (and their parents) needed my help and love and time. Have you ever had a two-year-old as your best friend ever? It's quite nice, she's fucking hilarious.
2015 was also an odd year personally;
- My grandmother passed away in August. She was the greatest. She was my best friend. I miss her so much. We all knew her health was failing - it had been for 5 years, acutely in the most recent year - but it's still a Hell of a Thing when someone goes. She and I had a special bond: she was what I will be like when I am 92; I was what she would have been like born into a different generation; as the sole grandparent and the sole single grandchild we spent most family gatherings together, and she was just my favorite. She was horribly tactless, incredibly impatient, occasionally directly rude, insatiably stubborn, very demanding, overbearing, sometimes overemotional: and I fucking loved her for it, because she was me in so many ways, and also because she just didn't give any more fucks. I'm still reeling from the loss.
- As I said, my second niece was born late this year. In the process of helping out there I've become much closer to my first niece, and I like it; I love all my aunts, but wasn't ever really close to them in this way, and I've realized that I really do need to be in her life (their life). Family comes first. Our relationship is something special, because I'm not a parent or a grandparent, so I'm... exempt from a lot of the expectations there, so I just get to be whatever I want to her and with her. I'll do the same for the younger one as well. Realizing how important this is was surprising, but shouldn't have been. I'm quite keen on kids even if it seems cooler to hate them these days; they're more honest than adults and usually more fun. (What I hate, I'm finding, are shit parents, but that's neither here nor there.)
- relationship - hmmmm. Not sure if the word applies. I have a something. It's complicated. And private. But there. Something very odd happened during the Shutdown Months and I found someone I quite like and enjoy who feels the same about me -- and that's enough for me, for right now.
Every year I say "this is the year I got my ass kicked by work" but this is the year it really truly happened: I hit my limit, I found the edge, I have located rock-bottom and I have absolutely no intention of ever going back there again. Working in a 72-year-old chemical facility doesn't make this easy, or a thing I have control over; but I do have control over my own energies and I have always been very. very good at saying no.
I'm looking at this year as a real learning experience: a lot of it was, frankly, awful as fuck, but I know I've learnt and grown from it. I like who I am right now, even if I'm still working on portions of my life that aren't great (social life, for example, what the fuck is that and who has time for one with all the working and the sleeping). I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that fibromyalgia, immunodeficiency, arthritis, asthma, anxiety, OCD, depression - that these things need to be considered, that I can't ignore them and plod stubbornly forward: so instead I'll stubbornly deal with them and balance my life better as I go.
That was a very, very odd year. I'm proud of what I've done, but I miss my life.