right now, i should be preparing a spreadsheet of 09 do’s and don’t’s–strategizing and mapping things out–planning the Year of Koheleth–that’s me.

i’m not quite feeling it, though, even though i know that actions inspired by feelings were actions meant to be left behind in my 20s.

i am looking back on all i wrote in 08, one of the most prolific years of journal-keeping, due mostly to setting out on the right foot at the start of the year with an impetus to log as much as possible.

as an editor of me, i am worthless, because i either want to trash every single thing i write, or cherish it all.

this is why i never quite developed my poetry writing skills–every time my brain splats out a wad of words, i consider myself a genius, then return to it later either to feast upon the magic or burn the garbage.

in spite of the latter side of myself, i’ve managed to save most everything i’ve written since the age of 10, (but also keep a steady mentality of “if my place burns tomorrow, so what?”)

the first girl i ever did stuff with contacted me on facebook today, about two weeks after the first girl i ever called my girlfriend contacted me on facebook. both are married with children. both made it rather clear they still kind of liked me or more.

i took little buffy to the dog park, and i couldn’t have a single conversation with anybody standing there.

imani agreed to have lunch with me today in my office, and gave me her number to do something this saturday.

every other woman at the iah i’ve had a crush on is gone or looks at me like i am some kind of special needs kid when they see me coming.

the girl that contacted me today was a little too frank for my taste about regretting letting me go–fifteen years ago. next month, it will have been fifteen years since we steamed up the chevy s10 that would become the instrument of my little brother’s death five years later. i tried to be polite to her without being too cold.

i am drinking the beer i don’t want to drink tomorrow night because i don’t want to have booze in my blood come new year’s day, 2009.

i continue to run, but if i don’t run enough, a lot of demons and shit start to catch up with me, and i’m feeling like i could fall down at any minute. if i run too much, i ache all over.

i read some crappy comment on some random site about how not to social network. it would seem that you are damned if you do…

i think it’s been too long since i regularly listened to the sound of silence. maybe since up until i met olivia, and thought that nothing bad was going to happen, after all. after all, y2k failed to live up to its promise of destruction.

we all got whacked unawares with 911–and we all knew that was the tragedy that y2k was supposed to be and then some. we got whacked because we weren’t expecting anything else bad to happen, ever again. the bliss of the coming of obama will soon be shrouded by the kind of whack that must hit a people only when they are unawares.

what was it about those times i reached out to make a connection and succeeded that separates me from these days?

what is it about me that pulls down this hostility when i just look your way? isn’t there some sweet spot in between being the innocent lamb always taken advantage of and being an angry man with a serial killer’s stare?

the thomas merton book i’m reading is a wealth of insights that yield more insights. it’s been a long time since i opened up a book and got more out of it than some passing entertainment or fleeting knowledge. the writing is clear and simple, as opposed to the tangled mess of philosophical meandering and dated discussion that a lot of catholic writing seems to get into. maybe after you’ve been in the church for awhile, then having discussions about minutae involving some element of communion or some angel dancing on the head of a pin will start to make more sense. God, i hope not. keep me away from church if that’s the case.

the insight i had last night wasn’t especially original, it just came to me in an astonishingly fresh sort of way. how, i could be spending more time trying to be like Christ and less time trying to dig around in my psyche for the root cause of all my ills, and how this is going to be the way change in me takes place. the analogy is with the trip i took back to missouri almost four years ago, where i drove back the same route olivia and i would take to visit friends and family after we first moved down here. where i drove past the two homes i lived in in murphy’s falls, and visited the graves, drove by the nearby lake and high school, and drove the same route i took each semester to go back to school, and walked around the university campus and columbia–looking for some ghost or remnant soul (other than a member of the old drinking gang) to pop its head out at me and reveal something terribly enlightening to me. instead, all i saw was barren familiarity, bereft of any soul or life or ghost–a wine glass stained with the libation that made you grasp it, but now virtually worthless relative to what it once was. you can’t get drunk off of that lightly stained wine glass, you can’t become the social animal you never were by traveling to towns long emptied of all the faces you once knew, and you can’t keep going back in time in your mind to some date just beyond the reach of memory when something must have happened to put the things you wrestle with inside of you.

truth be told, you’ve emptied the wine glass many times over, and poured similar wine back into it, thinking you are pouring from the same vintage when you are really just pouring a similar kind of wine back into it–more of the same from a new bottle. after countless bottles, all you’ve discovered is that you know how to get drunk.

empty the glass, clean it out, and prepare it for new wine that is nothing like you’ve ever tasted. stop being like your dog, who spends almost an hour trying to scour a soup bowl for any last remaining particles of the treat you gave her.

returned to work today, really the first day back since last tuesday, because i worked at home on friday. have to come into work tomorrow, and then off for five days. imani contacted me today–she initiated the contact–so, that says something. i walked around the building to her side to say hi, and i re-familiarized myself with the fact that we are obviously both very attracted to each other. she seems like a really nice lady, too–not hung up on the fact that i am not so full of great wit and knowledge about the latest pop culture thing, or possessed with a need to be hammering away on my blackberry and attending at least five social events a week. i am guessing she’s not Christian, but it’s hard to say at this point. lucy was mostly an atheist who kind of moved toward being an agnostic when i first met her, then finally seemed to be more aligned with Christian beliefs by the time we parted ways (but, my assholish behavior may very well have ended up leaving an impression on her that she was better off just having no spirituality whatsoever). imani said she is babysitting new year’s eve, so i asked her to eat lunch with me tomorrow–heck, i might as well see where this goes, i mean, she does seem to be one of those rare women who is taking an interest in me, and i am interested in her. but, if it goes nowhere, i’m not going to be too concerned. i have my big plans for 09 now, and they don’t really involve trying to impress women.

our tiny little marketing department had a discussion that lasted almost two hours, and then after that and lunch, the day ground to a halt. i didn’t feel like getting started on anything new, and i’m still feeling more than a little defeated by the fact that i lost all of my work due to being stupid about not backing it up and the last it guy purchasing the cheapest external hard drive he could find. so, i kind of just want to hold off until next week, then muster up some final downhill run of a blast there, pouring the last wind i can possibly have in me for web-related work.

also, after five days of just letting my mind roam free–and, really a good month of not focusing on my work too hard–the discipline required to focus on stuff that hardly interests me is quite painful indeed. this must be what it’s like to be reincarnated, if such a thing does indeed happen. you roam inside this lovely ether, a warm bath of gooey angelstuff until one day your number comes up and your mind has to forget it all and be stuffed into a tiny little baby human brain.

a lot times throughout the past few days i didn’t even want to make my mind wrestle with any particular concepts at all–not consider my issues, my past problems, my future struggles, my needs, this reality, the coming struggles of mankind, God’s will for me, etc. none of it. just simply sit or walk or run or lie still and enjoy the fact that i am alive and healthy, living inside a developed country where i have access to a decent paying job and healthcare, and live in a city where the climate stays mostly pretty nice and the people don’t ever get too nasty. but mostly, just enjoy being alive–without any sort of extra chemicals inside of me to help me enjoy it. i mean, why does enjoying living mean you have to go travel somewhere, or watch the television, or shop, or drink, or be talking on your cellphone, or be sitting somewhere with friends, or be doing anything in particular at all?

why should i interrupt my bliss just so i can do something i can tweet about and later tell my coworkers and friends about? that sort of beast is such a hungry one to feed, indeed. the more stuff you do and tell others you did, the more they expect you to do. it’s no longer enough to just occasionally go down to that bar and watch that game or fight. you have to be up on what your favorite athletes are doing at all times and placing bets on everything that happens. you have to scour every site you can find with more information to impress your friends with, and purchase a big screen television and pay-per-view. at some point, you are just completely allowing your life to be run by your friends and the stuff they like, and you don’t have a minute to yourself–if you are even awake enough to care.

maybe it works for some people. maybe it comes naturally to them. i climbed on the back of that hungry beast when i did the whole political thing. it felt nice at campaign camp to be standing in front of guero’s with a few other wonks who knew as much about foreign policy and all the races, and blabber incessantly with analysis that amounted to absolutely nothing. i know it could have carried me someplace special if i’d blabbered more when my candidate invited me to that meeting in january of 07, or to her kitchen in houston to meet a c-list presidential candidate. but, i said to myself. this isn’t me. i don’t want this thing running my life. i like the fact that with my current job i can shut it off completely when i take a vacation.

with a thing that was totally me, a true calling, i could work at it through all hours of the day and not mind it interrupting my dreamer’s head as it expands into the ether where there is no language. i thought for so long that this writing thing was it, but now i feel i am much too old and have done it for much too long–by now it should have popped or clicked until it gelled into becoming my day job. i felt the same way about playing the guitar–i played it for thirteen years of my life, and when i finally reached that day where i realized my ear for music is non-existent, i had the good sense to send the guitar away to goodwill without the tiniest bit of remorse. to be for sure, there is still that itch, and if i were a richer man, i’d gladly throw down a thousand dollars or more for a nice fender tele, but anyone can clearly see that there’s a huge difference between a rich man’s indulgence and a poor man’s passion.

it could be, too, that the only true calling there is, is the one that works toward the day when the Self finally is freed of all the fetters of illusion.

i had a moment reading the thomas merton book i checked out from the public library where i felt something open in my heart, triggered by a memory that felt more like dejavu. it opened up a certain quality of feeling love and being resolute of purpose, and also full of hope for the future–and the feeling has been forgotten. many times i’ve tried to coax it back, and i’ve understood it quite well intellectually, but the feeling hasn’t been there in years. while knowing full well how important it is to let the heart lead (with Christ inside), it’s much harder to KNOW it in a way that cuts beyond the brain and superficial feelings. it’s having something bigger in you open up, and knowing you own absolutely none of it–if you try to own it, you lose it.

i felt peace for the first time in many years for having made the decisions i’ve made when it comes to women. i reviewed all the women i’ve had little crushes on, went on single dates with, and yes the few who actually dated me in the long term–maybe one of them really had her heart open to me the way the heart should be for the one you’ll spend your entire life with, and i kept my heart completely closed throughout that relationship with her. and, even when you both have your hearts open to the promise of love–there seems to be a wavelength of communication that must resonate properly between the two of you. i then reviewed every woman i work with, looking for the ones who resonate with me on that wavelength of heartlove, and discovered maybe one, and she’s married.

it made me feel peace, and made me feel so much better, because i realized that i was wanting some kind of fulfilling communion of love where there is none and never could be any. or, to be more to the point, our hearts were simply not compatible.

no matter how hard i try to run from it, i am my mother’s son, a boy raised in the church. i think i can still be open-minded enough to be friends with people who don’t think like i do, but i can never marry a woman who doesn’t share a similar belief system with me.

for some reason, i still believe i can discover my true purpose on this earth by tracing my way back to it via all of my lusts and desires, with those being the detours and perversions of the true path. is the desire to start a family and pass on my seed and knowledge merely a biological one, or is the biology a metaphor for something grander? is there a Greater Love that i yearn toward once getting past the infantile masturbation and the more human drive to be a father? or, is my true purpose meant to stop with being a father, not a Father? these are the questions i’ve relentlessly asked myself since some time in 2004, when i realized that some new and perfect creature wasn’t going to just plop into my life the way vera and olivia did, and the results being delivered by the personals were rather dismal and uninspiring. i’ve asked these questions all throughout every single state of the relationship with lucy–is lucy God’s final calling card for me to be a regular, earthly dad, or is she just another lusty detour i took on the road to the Sublime? poor lucy didn’t have the answer, and she grew frustrated at my indecisiveness. my mom was certain i was going to make grandbabies for her, but then, she was also certain my little brother would be a priest, and i would work in government, and she would live to ninety.

the answer to the question of whether i am to be a celibate, spiritual figure of some kind, or whether i am to be a happy, suburban dad will be answered this coming year. that is the one promise i shall keep. i may backslide on any other number of self improvement goals, but by the end of 2009, i will no longer be asking these questions.

morning coffee after a night with a bottle of cabernet, some chili, and building the last.fm library, filling it with sentimental favorites and a few oddities and current hip hop titles to make me seem somewhat cool. getting all weepy like a chickflick about opportunities spurned and relationships that have passed. knowing that i have one more night to do it–tuesday night–as i swore to myself that i would enter 2009 without any alcohol in my bloodstream (instead of bygone years where i drank to my heart’s content on new year’s eve and passed out before midnight). so, i will work tomorrow and the next day, get mildly drunk off of a six pack of beer or a bottle of wine, then go experience first night or some other non-alcoholic new year’s eve celebration, as i mark the ten year anniversary of the start of my first real relationship–when it all really started, you know.