On the passing of my Towel Year

Today I celebrate my 43rd orbit around the sun, thus concluding my Towel Year. What’s a “Towel Year”? I like to think of it not just as a 42nd year of life, but also an opportunity for those heading into their mid-life crises to break away, go out, and do something truly great, insane, adventurous, terrifying, hilarious, life-changing, introspective, and so forth. (If you don’t quite understand this reference, I suggest you read Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.)

My Towel Year didn’t end up that way. I had many hopes, and several (loose) plans. None of them came to fruition. In the end, the only appropriate superlative for it that I can think of is “painful”. My Towel Year ended up overflowing with stress, culminating in a complete mental breakdown and clinical depression.

I now understand what depression is, and how much it truly sucks: the mood-altering drugs, the therapy, the doctors, the dark thoughts that hound you during the day and the nightmares that keep you from rest, the self-loathing and doubt. I cannot appreciate enough those who have helped me, and I deeply regret for not being as supportive of others when they were in the same boat. I didn’t understand then, and now it is all too clear.

There will be more on that in the future. For now, this is my explanation for where I’ve been the last many weeks. What I can offer is that I am recovering, that it is taking quite a bit of time, and that my family is amazing and has been so helpful through all of this. Many changes are coming, and many of them are truly frightening. But they are as necessary as breathing.

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