The year started off on a very sober note. Literally. Just a few days before the end of 2012 I swore off alcohol until my 30s due to a Christmas of competitive drinking with a cousin who inherited the same strong British liver I did. Conveniently my 30s were less than four months away, but that was still a notable period of time to live through a goal like that.
The roughest times to be sober were casual, like after curling Friday nights until March. Those were the last opportunities to order beer from the bartender in the lounge upstairs who often wore black vests and bowties that looked very out of place. The social and cultural nature of consuming alcohol stood out this whole time, rather than physical or psychological dependence on its effects. I can safely say I’m not medically an alcoholic nor do I rely on it as an emotional crutch, as there were very trying times in that initial four month period that alcohol wouldn’t have helped.
General depression is always a minor buzz in the back of my mind – the noise kind, not the feel-good variety that I still had caffeine to depend on when drinking was on pause. There’s always that desire for what’s just out of reach; something internal about myself; a nirvana that’s never achieved. A more specific situational depression affected me greatly throughout the first two-thirds of the year. I was in a dead-end job that sucked the life out of me and took up far more of my time than it was worth without any purpose to buffer the sacrifice. I broke down, almost ready to step onto the highway into speeding traffic outside, and within weeks of that I quit. I got a new job, with much better circumstances than the one before.
The year was filled with extreme highs and deep lows. I mean this literally, in the meteorological sense. For a few weeks in the summer temperatures consistently reached close to 40°C at the hour I trekked on foot for 45 minutes to get home. I sought brief refuge from local weather conditions with a week-long trip to Ottawa-Montreal, where the weather was just as bad and I spent much longer walking much more in strange places. On the other severely frozen side of the coin, the past few weeks have consistently reached -40°C at all hours of the day and I’m frankly quite sick of it. It takes a lot to get me to complain about the cold, because at least my apartment has heat (to regulatory standards) and I can add more and more layers as needed. But really, if I can’t walk to far away lands or run around the block – and I have put myself through cold hell to do that this year – it’s too much.
Running was my way of turning negative traits against themselves for a positive outcome. I’ve never liked running, but I have enough self-loathing to turn that into a cycle of spite. Don’t feel like running today? Fuck you, you don’t deserve the fucking luxury of sloth. I’m still not very good, but I have improved. I just wish it weren’t too cold to bother trying right now so I can keep it up for the winter without having to go indoors.
Major things happened around me. I eventually gave up on blonde. I failed to meet certain goals. People are racist and governments are frauds. I’m still too cowardly to draw comics.
But there’s a lot more Beartato around me now.