Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Looking Back: Has Anything Changed?

I've been reviewing the first hundred posts in this blog, up to the point where I gave up on what was a stressful life and started to hike the Appalachian Trail. I started thinking, has anything changed from then?

I was stressed, I was behind in my bills to the point where I was evicted and I was lost physically and spiritually. I was on the 'Trail' for 10 days and made my way back to Raleigh exhausted and dehydrated. I'm not even sure why I came back to Raleigh. Technically I could have gone anywhere and been homeless, but Raleigh had a certain familiarity. I knew the shelter system there. I expected to find a job and get back into the swing in a short amount of time.

And it seemed to work. I did find a job and I did get out of the shelter. But it was a worse job than the one I walked away from earlier. I was stressed again. I walked away - literally in mid-call. I went back to the shelter and then found it harder than ever to get a job.

I've blogged about that, so no sense in going over it again. I finally found my way to Astadia, and though the job has been stressful in some ways, it is nowhere near as bad as other places.

So now let me take stock of my life anew. I'm still doing phone work, something I swore never to do again. But this time the calls aren't generally back to back, and I can work on other things besides calls. I'm working from home again with a computer supported by my employer and not of my own build. So if something goes wrong I don't have to worry about out-of-pocket expenses.

And I'm making more money, generally. I can pay rent and internet service and I'm able to save a bit for my ultimate computer system. I'm able to afford a rickety car with an over-powered engine and the insurance that is needed for it. I'm able to pay most of my bills and try to repair my credit, though hospital bills that I  may never repay dominate my credit history.

Health-wise, yes, in some ways I'm worse off than in 2009. My knees occasionally hurt enough to make me seriously limp. My shoulder is a constant source of a dull ache with occasional sharp pains. But I'm not as stressed as I used to be. So I can tolerate a fair amount of small aches. I still get the odd migraine, and allergies keep me sneezing.

But overall I'm much better off health-wise than in 2009. Really, I am.

I still play Warcraft. I still enjoy Warcraft. A lot of the people I've known had to walk away from it at one point or another. I've been dragged from it kicking and screaming.

And I've been writing. moving away from Publish America to Createspace, a form of self-publishing. I've written about my homeless experiences and added another novel in the ongoing Simmons/Timmons Chronicles. I've written and attempted to sell screenplays.

Am I successful? Compared to others, perhaps not. But I'm happier now than I've been in a long time, and to me, that's as successful as it gets.