So here we are again. From the number standpoint, 38 has a few things going for it. The 38th parallel is the boundary between North and South Korea. There’s a gun and a band called .38 Special. 38 is the lowest jersey number not retired in any of the 4 major American sports, which makes one wonder why. The reverse is 83, meaning that everyone born in 1983, myself included, has this as a numerologically significant year.

To write this post, I had to look back at last year’s, and it has me thinking. Specifically, I’m thinking, “I really didn’t accomplish anything in the past 12 months, did I?”

That’s how I feel. If anything, I’ve regressed in a lot of areas. The therapy I tried hasn’t helped like I hoped it would. Politics got even worse, from the massive fraud in last year’s election to the continuing violations of basic human rights and a looming economic crisis, and this combination of factors has only increased my depression and anxiety. On the family front, my cousin was killed in a car wreck a few months back, and we only recently learned that he wasn’t driving—one of his so-called friends was, a 21-year-old addict on enough drugs to make Hunter Biden jealous. To top it off, if my relationship was on the rocks last year, it’s run aground now.

The one possible bright spot is my job. I’ve had that for six months, and it’s…strange to say the least. I wake up every weekday wondering if this is the day I get fired, then often spend the afternoon listening to my boss praise me for the work I’m doing. The pride I feel at building something is almost perfectly balanced by the fear that I’m not pulling my weight, or that I’ll be exposed as the impostor I know I must be. On the plus side, I am getting paid, but I’ve been so poor for so long that I honestly have no idea what, if anything, I should be spending that money on.

The job took away most of my free writing time. That’s no great loss, as my depression meant I was barely using it to begin with. Since the beginning of this year, I’ve written about 150,000 words. Go back to 2017, and that was a month’s worth of output. I’m still hoping to do Nanowrimo (it would be my 10th in a row), but this is going to be the hardest one by far.

I still hate what I’ve become. I still don’t hold out much hope for turning things around. My 38th year of life ends, and I wonder how many more I have. This last one has been a waste in every respect. I’d gladly take it back, but I can only believe that it would turn out exactly the same. Nothing I do seems to change anything for the better.

Some people wish for material things on their birthdays. Some instead treat their wishes as prayers. All I truly want, though, is…a reason to go on, I guess. And a reason to believe I should.

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