A year ago today I had a milestone birthday, which I let pass unremarked upon. The reason I passed on the opportunity afforded by my 30th birthday to publicly reflect upon the preceding decade (or three) was simple: turning thirty depressed the shit out of me.
Despite the lack of my public acknowledgment of my birthday, I nonetheless had a great many personal reflections on what entering my third decade meant to me. For instance, when one lives with chronic health complications, it is easy to mark time in relation to them. I have been barking more than half the time I have been alive. In December of 2011 it will be more than a third of my life since I was free from constant pain. Moreover, as someone who’s health has been problematic for so long, I have at times questioned whether thirty represents the same point in my life’s course as it does for others. While there is nothing in my medical situation at the moment that actively shortens my life, there are many reasons to realistically question if I will see the same age my cohorts.
Outside of my own health, there were many other life markers that appeared to me a reflection of the overall tone to this turn of the Wheel. My relationship of eight years had painfully disintegrated, earning me the dubious distinction of following my parents footsteps into divorce. After a mixed run, our company had collapsed under the combined weight of a disastrous economy, our own inexperience, and the departure of one of the partners. For the first time in years the specter of insolvency haunted our family, and we were surviving only on the generous financial support of my parents.
Lastly, in moving east to the Raymond NH area, we had abandoned a vrescht that the Clan had put quite a bit of work into, adding to looming questions about where our magical and spiritual work was going.
In short (I know: too late), I faced the eve of my 30th birthday from one of the bleakest places I have been. There were good and happy times behind me, and I doubted circumstances could develop such that I would see those times in years to come. My feeling crossed dangerously close to suicidality on more than one occasion. Only love for my partner and family, my oaths to The Lady and Tashrisketlin, and the able assistance of a gifted therapist, got me safely passed those feelings.
But then something changed. Some part of me said fuck that and decided to try to make the best of what I could. What followed was a year of change, if not always easy or pleasant.
A new medication gave me some relief from the worst of my odd migraine condition, though sadly not my pain. While in the long term, that medication’s side effects outweighed its benefits, it opened up parts of life that I had thought lost to me and put me on a path to finding a viable medication to replace it. For starters, as I am typing, the Cruxshadows are playing on my mp3 player. In the last year I have rediscovered music, which had been completely lost to me because of said migraine condition. Over the four or so years in which I could not listen to music for more than a few minutes I had forgotten how meaningful it could be in my life.
Also, I decided that at a crossroads in life with so much change, I would allow myself an early mid-life crisis. With a complete lack of experience, but a lot of determination, I bought a 1979 Suzuki motorcycle and declared that within two months I would pass my road test to get my motorcycle endorsement. I had never even sat on a motorcycle before, and in fact until I was thirteen there was doubt as to whether I would even learn to ride a pedal bike. But that is why I did it. I needed to set a challenging goal and fight to achieve it so I could remember how.
Tashrisketlin did establish a vrescht here in Raymond. And while we have not been able to do what we initially intended with it, the experience built our confidence. This vrescht has been a useful teaching tool for our journeyman and our students. Before we leave it in a few months it will be turned towards one of the most challenging masterworks our clan has ever attempted.
While we have not found another partner to become part of our primary relationship, Fire and I have had time to heal the emotional wounds of the break-up with Evan. We still do not work ideally in a binary relationship, but Fire and I have rediscovered what made us fall in love in the first place and have worked hard building solid foundations on which to build our larger family when new primary partner(s) do come along.
Having accepted Brigantian Designs’ failure, I devoted much needed attention to improving my skills as a presenter and went on to a number of joyous personal successes through the year. I also tried my hand at selling cars at a local Nissan dealership, which taught me much needed lessons about the limitations imposed by my health and my spiritual spiritual path. Plus I now know more than anyone could ever want to know about the 2011 Nissan product line.
With fake-it-till-you-make-it confidence I set about actively trying to make friends for the first time in a long time. Along the way, Evan and I stumbled and plowed through the challenging territory of building a meaningful friendship. I also began to date outside of my relationship with Fire, and have embraced a richer poly life than ever before.
Now I sit here typing in the fading twilight of my 30th year (it is my birthday, but I haven’t yet reached the hour of my birth) and unlike a year ago I can see a path through the forest of shadows. It is a dark, twisting and dangerous path, but I can see it.
Our financial situation is just as dire as this time last year, although I have fledgling ideas of how I might contribute more meaningfully than I do now. And there are dark clouds on the horizon for all of us, they tug at the awareness of nearly every diviner and spirit worker I know. I also know that my health is not going to become perfect anytime soon either.
But I have dragged myself up off the mat. I am a Master Vreschtik magician, the White Lady’s shaman, a damn good public speaker, and I have people who love and support me, and whom I support in return. This last year has brought home what Raven meant by wear your scars with pride. Sure this turn on the Wheel has seriously kicked the shit out of me for nearly all of my thirty years, but I’m still standing. As I look towards thirty-one, I find myself feeling ready to get back in the fight.