Lots of personal sobriety-related topics to meditate on this weekend.
Today marks exactly 5 months of clean time for me.
My alma mater is celebrating its biannual Alumni Weekend, starting today.
The weather looks to be pristinely golden for said celebrations.
Roughly 60% of the individuals I have kept in touch with post-grad will be in attendance, including some whom I have not seen in a year or more, and a great majority of my fraternity’s elder statesmen.
Sunday marks Cinco de Mayo. While its true meaning has no bearing on me whatsoever, it has historically been a tradition for young, Caucasian collegiate coeds to binge on tequila and bad decisions.
I had decided weeks if not months ago that I was in no condition for a return visit to Geneseo in the near future, regardless of circumstance. It was a harsh realization, but I knew it was the right thing to commit myself to. Despite having made that promise, I was unprepared for how I’m currently feeling about this weekend.
While I will on occasion nostalgically reminisce of years past, the yearning to attempt to return & “re-create” them as a graduate is assuredly waning. It’s just really, really difficult for me to acknowledge that a sizable majority of my closest friends will be gathering together for a weekend, to share in their mutual company and fondly remember days of old, while also ruminating on hopes & dreams for the future. I’m used to being at the center of that. If there’s one skill I have in spades, it’s unifying a collective of like-minded individuals & facilitating fluid discussion and interaction throughout.
Simply put, it’s a giant drag for me to have to miss an opportunity to reconnect with people I essentially identify as my “second family,” and instead be essentially isolated from exactly that. I’ve visited for two or three alumni weekends past, and I always come away with a feeling of content wholeness, invigoration even. Instead I’ll be spending the next two days downtrodden & filling out yet another round of job applications, while little but the endless tubes of the Internet to keep me company as I burn the midnight oil.
Indiepop duo Giant Drag cover Chris Isaak’s iconic “Wicked Game.”
I know. I know that in a few years, this feeling will be sheepishly looked back on as trivial, and I’ll just have to laugh at my younger self. There’s a good chance that my social interests may have completely realigned themselves by that time. But the point is, right now I DO care, and right now this IS important to me. It’s almost heartbreaking, because I know I have to cleave myself away from something I deeply love, to keep myself safe from…myself.
I suppose I’m grateful enough to have the insight (and the sense to pay heed to it) that the risks far outweigh the rewards here. I feel I’m making a very adult decision with my choice (not that I ultimately have much a choice – I’m still as broke as the economy, so even if I wanted to…but on the other hand, I also have no means to reward myself in a more sensible recreational way). I would be placing myself on the knife’s edge of self-sabotage were I to indulge my instinct for instant gratification. I would be throwing all caution to the wind, betting my 5 months of sobriety in a hand where the odds are stacked against me – and I know it.
Tomorrow marks the one-year anniversary of the passing of Adam Yauch (aka MCA), who lost his battle with cancer. He may have physically passed on, but his spirit will remain immortal in the legacy he left behind. No question as to how important the Beastie Boys’ contributions to the world of music are – “Sabotage” being one of my favorites.
I can also be grateful that while I may not be present to bask in the weekend’s festivities, the reasoning for my absence will be fully respected by those who notice it. My peers understand how much I value our interpersonal relationships, and accordingly will they acknowledge the level of self-sacrifice that is required of me to deviate from what was once my standard path. I have noticed that about 90% of the time, alcoholics or addicts who share in meetings will refer to friends from their past as “only around when the drinks or drugs were; as soon as the money was gone and the party was over, they were nowhere to be found.” I’m blessed to have friends who were there for both the good times and the bad – and always will be.
Now off to organize a portfolio to send in with my application for director of PR at the Rosamond Griffin Zoo in Syracuse (thank you Em for that tip). If my future holds responsibilities that include composing Tweets about giraffes neckin’ and snapping Instagrams of sloths (very slowly) doin’ their thing, the horizon will appear very lively, indeed.
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