On August 12—two weeks after the unexpected death of my cat Pixel, five months after the death of my grandmother, and three weeks before the death of my grandfather—a car crashed through the front wall of the bar in which six of my friends and I were celebrating several of our birthdays. Two close friends, my fiancé (now husband), and I were hospitalized with several serious injuries. The three remaining friends were less injured and, thus, able to pull the four of us out before the building went up in flames. I'm told the elapsed time between impact and inferno was less than three minutes. Those three friends and a few good hearted neighbors saved our lives. It sounds weird every time I say it (especially because I often hyperbolize) but it's true. Nearly a year later, all of us are still nursing some lingering issues.
I'd be lying if I said it wasn't annoying or difficult. My jaw broke in three places and that recovery has been a bitch and a half. But honestly, I'm so effing thankful we all survived that it doesn't bother me too much. There are a thousand (hyperbole) micro moments of that event that added up to us making it out of there alive. A shift in any one of them could have ended very differently. That's not lost on me.
But where does that leave us now? Where does that leave me? I'll speak for myself. All seven of us are processing this thing differently. I won't pretend that my experience mimics someone else's, though Josh (my husband) and I tend to agree on the major points.
I'm thankful for my full time job, but I continue to hate Corporate America.
I started working full time again in June of 2022. Having that job in place meant that I had a fully functioning health insurance plan to deal with all the medical shit coming out of the accident. Had I still been self-employed with my crappy, marketplace plan, I'd have had to spend even more out of pocket than the 10k+ I spent with this one. I also wouldn't have had the salary to back it. Basically, it would have sucked.
That said, working for a large company continues to be annoying. Doesn't matter what company it is. So far, with this one, the pros outweigh the cons—and 80% of those pros are humans. I work with awesome people. But Jesus H Christ, corporations are the worst.
Anyway, after nearly dying, it's a bit easier to let things go. Hard to get upset or worried about anything design-related when you have a fiery inferno and dozens of injuries to compare it to. Any time someone talks about "putting out a fire" at work, I say (either in my head or out loud depending on who it is), "Iet me tell ya about fires. This is not one." There's no shortage of annoyances, deadlines, or executive pressure though, so I find myself more stressed than I should be given my new outlook :).
Ah well. The people make it ok.
Coming out of this accident, I have absolutely zero interest in making art that doesn't interest me. Especially now that I have a full time job, there is no need to take on client work—so I am being VERY selective about what I agree to. I was already leaning this way before the accident. After the accident, I am just like "Nope—we're done." The day is today. The time is now. I draw what I want and I put it up for sale. I will find my people. Like you. You are my people.
I've been considering starting a new, big project but I'm not ready. I need more time to chase my curiosities and create whatever I want as the motivation moves in and out.
Speaking of curiosities...
I've spent a lot of time chastising myself for having too many interests and not enough specialization throughout my life. This is over. I would rather strive to be a polymath than a highly-specialized expert. I get too bored and too restless to spend my life focused on one thing.
So I'm embracing my interests. All of them.
- Running (just started trail running recently)
- Strength Training
- Spinning (got a Peloton bike in December)
- Reading (mostly mysteries)
- Interior Design
- Woodworking (we have a big garage in the new house—oh, yeah. we also bought a house.)
- History (just started a world-history course with the ultimate goal of taking a deep dive into the history of religions)
- Guitar (this is the 4th or 5th time I've tried learning... let's see how long this one lasts)
- Spanish (I've been using Duolingo on and off for 3ish years and all it's gotten me was the ability to direct our cab driver back to our hotel in Cabo haha—"Izquierda aqui!")
- Baseball (I once again live within Philly sports territory so I'm able to watch the Phils and have been having a good time being a baseball fan this year)
- Video games (I've been playing some games on and off for the last year. I'm terrible but it's fun.)
I have about a hundred projects started at this point. Whatever. As long as I finish some of them it's fine. Right? It's fine.
Anyway, now that things have largely calmed down from all the chaos, I am figuring out what the new normal looks like and trying not to be too prescriptive about it. I'd like to show up here a little more consistently. We'll see how it all goes. There aren't enough free hours in the day to do everything that interests me so I'm going to have to prioritize.
For now, life is good. Being alive is good. And that's really all that matters.