365 Days

March 19, 2005

It has been one year since I lost my contract in Illinois. As I sit here this morning it is hard to believe it has been just a year. Seems more like ten years.

The past twelve months have been unbelievably hard for both of us. Depression has been our constant companion and nemesis. For every small triumph there has been a constant nagging feeling that we were just throwing bricks into the Grand Canyon.

Throughout it all we have had each other; and without each other Michele and I never would have survived this ordeal. Even today, with a contract on the house (87 days or less until it is off our backs), my career looking up, and Michele's teaching taking off, it is hard not to feel a sense of loss. We are living in an apartment not a house. We have no savings left and will owe a considerable amount of money once the house is sold. We are literally starting over at ground zero.

Only, we aren't starting over with nothing. We have each other, and we have a lifetime's experience to guide us. Some of the lessons we've learned were costly and painful; but they were learned. We are older and wiser and focused on ourselves.

Personally I have come to realize that I have no control at all over anything. I can't control my job, my family, even my wife is 'beyond my control.' However, and this is the important part, I can control how I choose to react to the stimulus's in my life. For example, I can choose to be upset about happenings at work, or I can choose to be serene and not fall into the trap of thinking I can control what lies outside of me.

One the first postings I ever made to this site has been figuring prominently in my thinking lately. Our Four Agreements is my version of the serenity prayer. The last 365 days has been a post-graduate course in not taking anything personally.

366 days ago my world was safe and secure. I was unaware of the coming turmoil and stress. I don't know what I would have done had I been given a chance to look ahead - knowing what was coming would have made this all the harder. Today I have no idea what tomorrow, or the next 365 days, holds for me. I can choose to dwell on the future and worry about it, but I know from this past year that all the worry in the world can't control the world. Instead I choose to live in this moment; I choose to accept this moment for what it is and nothing more.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.