Hello everyone. It's now early afternoon on New Year's Eve. The calm before tonight's gathering here at my apartment. In a way, I've keenly looked forward to such a gathering since I first went to a New Year's party held by a friend of mine from grade school. It was at that somewhat wild party where I met Ron. Hard to believe it's been close to fifteen years. Now, I'll be starting off this new decade hosting a gathering of my own. There'll be plenty to eat and drink. I believe I've got the whole transportation thing covered. This morning, I got a couple of parking passes for two cars which will be staying until after midnight. It would royally suck for someone to get ticketed. Another thing I made certain to do was inform Peal Housing about the guest who will be staying overnight. I still resent having to do that. I ought to be able to have people stay over without risk of violating my lease if I don't tell them or it's a last minute thing. It just seems like such a slap in the face when I've been as responsible and conscientious as I have over the years. I'm certainly not one to abuse my place by renting it to someone or anything like that.
This past year has certainly seen a lot of changes. It didn't take too long at all to get into the rhythm of living on my own when it comes to chores. I seem to have mastered as much cooking as I've ever know how to do. The place has remained intact and quite clean with the exception of when the old vacuum stopped working on me. The motor still worked and nobody who occasionally visited briefly ever said anything about stuff on the floor so how the hell was I supposed to know? At times, I've been overwhelmed by how hard it's been to find new friends interested in doing things together. Without a context like church, it's been a nearly completely futile exercise. I'm in a building chalk full of people living mere metres away and don't really know any of them well enough to have invited them to this New Year's gathering. Learning to get anywhere new on my own takes disproportionate effort on my part so it seems all the more ridiculous when your neighbours don't even come and introduce themselves. I can now see that it'll take years of small casual encounters in passing to chip away at the fortress mentality that goes along with apartment living. Shirley and I have gone for numerous enjoyable walks but that's all we've really done together. I met a whole bunch of people while walking around the lake and to the mall this Summer but none of them have ever really followed up on initially good meetings. I feel like I could offer a ton if I could somehow just break down the social barriers.
And yet, a few days ago, Jeanette, a lady who found me on an online dating site I had nearly given up on completely, came to actually visit me. Being two hours distant, I don't expect it'll ever go beyond hopefully long and stable friendship. However, having her come and actually want to be friends with me has lifted that utter sense of social dead end I've been living with and striving against for months. It's good to have some proof that virtues like honesty, optimism and depth of thinking actually still count for something in this world. I have some of my hope restored that there are some good people out there who still have time for friendship and perhaps even something more. Here's hoping one such lady lives a lot closer. While I've regained my ability to enjoy the single life I now lead, there'll just always be something missing without a special lady to share it with. Thanks in no small part to the friends I'll be seeing tonight, I've made what peace I can with the reality that it'll likely be a very long time before that need is met. Solitude won't be quite such a paralysing thing this year now that I've found my stride. Having some big changes to look forward to in the new year certainly helps. New technology, a new volunteering adventure, and a new niece not too many months from now. Mainly though, it's been more of an internal change; a coming to terms with how things are. God knows I need more life experience and interaction with people. Now that I've done damned near everything humanly possible to effect that change myself, I can more patiently wait for things to happen naturally.
Christmas was an absolute blast this year. We ended up celebrating at mom and dad's house. Ava and Amia were in fairly good spirits, at least until we sat down to dinner. They wanted to play with all their new stuff and leave eating delicious food to us silly idiots who knew no better than to waste time in such a foolish confined fashion. I got a splendid digital recording of us opening our presents. Definitely a keeper.
I've spent a good deal of time looking back at the past year over the last few days. If I had to sum up in a word what it's all been about, that word would be calibration. I had to come to terms with my new circumstances. Although much of my hope for making strong community connections didn't pan out, I've at least become a known figure around here. That's a start anyway. Volunteering at The Dam will hopefully also help in that regard. Even if it doesn't, I'll at least be out of the apartment and doing something with people once a week other than church. I'm also starting to regain a sense of the value of online contact. While I'll always seek out a more offline life and circle of friends, some of that sense of empty hollow futility has been removed by some key events and people. Not the least of which was being able to hear the Chilean miners being rescued live thanks to Twitter and an old friend from my days at Meadowvale secondary school. I even have room in my heart to hope that Facebook will prove that it's worth sticking with by bringing someone from my past or perhaps someone entirely new into my life here. I start this new year with a hope which is less fragile being based more on experience and less on wishful thinking.
Looking forward at the start of this new decade, I wonder what the next ten years will bring. Perhaps, someone will actually come along who's willing to go all the way and take a real chance with me. I'd like to think that this is still a possibility. At the same time, I feel better able to live and enjoy life even if this doesn't come to pass. Eventually, I'll accumulate more friends around here who will attend future gatherings like the one I'm having tonight. Joseph, the man who takes me to and from church most weeks, will be a new addition to my happy group of mainly guys. It didn't used to be so unbalanced. Poor Wendy will be the only woman, married or single, present with us. Other ladies all seem to be too busy, too distant, or otherwise not inclined to spend New Year's eve with us. One of my friends has never managed to find a steady woman. Another is gay. Another , like me, has been through that painful divorce process. He knows that fifth-wheel feeling that never quite leaves you once you've been married and are no longer attached. Adam is going to be there. I figured he'd be with his girlfriend but I guess that didn't quite work out as expected. It'll be an interesting evening. Joseph has never actually visited me and has no idea what he's in for. What delicious fun that'll be. It's always interesting bringing in someone new and seeing how they interact with people I've known for so many years. And then, after a day or so of recovery, 2011 will take us all in its clutches and proceed apace. My first full year in my own apartment in a community where I can at least get to a few places independently. Despite all my insomnia and writer's block, I seem to have found renewed hope of finding inspiration, or perhaps, merely the patience to wait for it while searching. Slowly, I am making progress in connecting with the good people around me who can help make my life more connected and meaningful. It'll just take lots and lots of time.
One of the last movies I've taken in this year was Inception. I don't think I've ever been more thankful for audio description. I would have been hopelessly lost amid the three levels of dream without it. The sound and acting were quite exquisite this time around. The story, though full of jumps, is solid enough and well put together. Two new games, well, one new game and a game with a major face lift, have occupied my spare moments over the holidays. Q9 has received a splendid update. You can now get monsters to fall into pits among other changes. A free offering called River Raiders is a fun little time-waster which I plan to have people try at tonight's party. It's both simple enough to control and short enough not to have one person take all evening to play. We'll see how everyone does. On that note, I believe I'll sign off here and get the last blog entry of 2010 up and posted. Happy New Year everyone.