Let’s make no mistake — objectively speaking, my life situation is absolutely enviable. I live in one of the most stable Western democracies, I have enough money to not have to work for quite a while, my parents and I are all healthy (as far as we know), and yes, even though I am single without wanting to be, I don’t have an ex-wife who’s making my life miserable, and there are no children who have to split their time between a distant parent and me. Every day I am doing pretty much precisely what I want, and for the coming year I have hired someone for my little company, who I love working with, and with whom I can carry out the projects that I want, and even if we don’t make a dime of income all year we can still keep doing what we’re doing for the whole year, because those budgets have been set aside. I have bought a beautiful apartment which I will move into in a few weeks, and the budgets for furniture and the kitchen are solid, and will allow me to create a space that will be really nice to live in. In other words, from a “Let’s look at the average situation of all of mankind”-point of view, I probably belong to a tiny percentage of people who have it all, pretty much.
Yet my year was really hard.
And that’s because this was the year I stopped looking away. It was the year when the state of the world, and mankind’s disastrous effects on the planet and all living beings on it, and our obscene behaviour towards each other really hit me.
In other words, this was the year when I took the red pill.
And there is no undoing that.
Which is why what sounds amazing in the introductory paragraph does not feel quite as amazing in my life. Because even though I may have had success, and I am one of the lucky ones, how great can that be — when I realize at the same time?: The world you live in is entirely broken, and it’s not through fairness or justice that you are where you are, and others are where you are not, and the haves and have-nots are not divided by a fence of achievement, or a moat of greatness, but by heaps and heaps of inequality and fear and injustice and crime. And besides, this world which I have (somewhat) succeeded in is on a collision course with the very survival of humanity, and of most species that make this planet the marvel that it is. Or rather: Used to be.
This was the realization that hit me this year. And it hit me with a vengeance.
I spent much of this year in some form of depression. Not the “I cannot get out of bed”-kind. But the kind that puts a constant cloud over your head.
In the last two to three weeks, things have gotten a bit better, slowly but steadily. I have begun to realize emotionally (not just rationally, rationally is not enough) that life happens on two levels. One is the mundane everyday level, and we can only stay sane if on that level we keep our spirits up and enjoy the small and the ordinary and the beautiful and the human. On that level, we cannot solve the problems of the world, and we cannot keep allowing them to enter. Because then life becomes meaningless and dark.
And then there is the strategic level. Here, my means and my position and my abilities force me to somehow try and have an impact. I am not allowed to sit back and chill and not care and carry on regardless. I cannot and I must not.
But this necessitates a plan that allows me to move the needle, to have an impact, to effect change — because if I don’t, the frustration becomes too big, too depressing, too heavy. My project with Maik felt like it could be that plan for a while. I am not so sure right now, we’re still searching for the right way forward, but I am hoping we will find it. And there are other projects that I am pursuing, and I am hoping that one or more of them will have an impact, and help create change.
What change have I helped create this year? Not as much as I would have wanted to, but still some I can be happy about: Our show was seen by 200 people, and I am sure that every one of them must have felt something, and for every one of them, their sense of how to live better lives and how to help save our planet must have gotten a boost from that show. My blogging and online writing and online videos must have also affected people. Maybe another 800? (One of my videos was seen over 30,000 times.) So let’s say I made a change with 1,000 people this year — that is better than nothing.
Let’s see what I can do next year.
And let’s also not forget: I am not alone. There are thousands of us. Millions.
What else happened in the last month and a half, since I last wrote? I had some dating unhappiness — one woman, for example, I’d been on two dates with her, but then she told me she saw only friendship as a possibility. But also another promising encounter now towards the end of the year — I met someone at a party, and that felt promising, and we want to follow up on this early in the new year. Then, we had a rather remarkable editing weekend with Brandon, Ian and Chuck in the little country house. And that got a little out of hand because Muffins with some weed in it were had; it was my first time, so I thought I would be the one who’d create funny outcomes for everyone else, but ultimately Chuck had a paranoid episode which really kind of messed with all of us … And yes, I did sign the paperwork for buying that apartment, and the man who’s building it for me continues to be an absolute delight, and I am more than convinced that I am doing the right thing buying it. I am working with a kitchen planner who’s going to cutom-build my kitchen for me. And I am having a big long dining table also made to order by a guy. Further, I have tried helping an association in Scotland that’s trying to organize a new and alternative economic summit that I am very excited about. Then, I have joined Brandon’s comedy night as their “in-house” musician, which I am very happy about. And I have formalized my agreement with Ian, to have him join my company, so we can truly join forces at the beginning of next year. I also attended my political party’s national convention in early December, which was incredibly interesting, because of the strange political situation which we currently have in Germany. And I reconnected with my old friend Joe, who’s more often in town now, and it makes me really happy to see him more often. Also, my relationship with Nana has gotten stronger this year — she has truly become my little sister, and one of my best friends, and a source of lots of light and happiness in my life. And she gave me the most amazing advent calendar this year! Improv has moved a little to the side, but I am still pursuing it, with the odd course here and there, and with a small group that has formed to try monoscene work.
It has been an intense year.
And now I am with my parents, and it’s the first time in a long time that I came home and was not afraid of a Christmas that would be sad because I don’t have a family of my own. This year, I am coming and just want to have Christmas with them, and be happy about them, and: Me with them, and that is all. It’s not easy sometimes to spend extended amounts of time with them, but it’s not easy for most children and their parents, and we’ll make the best of it, and they are amazing at 80 and 81, and so I am really hoping that it will be a beautiful Christmas. And that I can forget the red pill for only a few days, and also have a happy New Year’s skiing trip with the group I traveled with last year (I even bought new ski boots for the trip!), and then after that, in the new year, I’ll face the problems of the world and my evolving life, head-on.
And I will find a girl-friend next year. I am fairly certain of that. It’s a gut-feeling that I’ve been having for a couple of weeks now.