My Year in Review: 2010

As I sit here writing this I can’t help but reflect on all the “Year in Review” things I have seen over this past week. And you know what? It annoys the piss out of me. Everywhere I turn it’s, “Let’s look back at moments of 2010.” Everyone just has their own style of doing it. Most basic channels are playing the best episodes of whatever shows they have.

Some less creative channels are literally playing marathons of the same shows over and over and over again. I can only watch so many episodes of Ace of Cakes, The Little Couple and Pawn Stars before I feel like I want to beat up every chef, little person and pawn shop attendee I can find. Marathons should only be reserved for “Great Shows” that the public needs to see; nay, yearns to see on such a regular basis. That’s right; I’m referring to the only show that matches that description, any and all varieties of Law and Order. Cops can also be substituted in cases that Law and Order cannot be found.

Then you have cable channels (with their annoying-ass hosts) reviewing clips of just crap from 2010. VH1 is the worst offender by far. Every damn show is, “The best outfits of 2010,” “The Worst Celebrity Scandals of 2010,” “All the people Paris Hilton banged in 2010,” or “The Best Facial Expressions from Joan Rivers of 2010.” Oh wait, Joan has had so many plastic surgeries she can’t make facial expressions, lol. The capper for me was just 2 nights ago when my world was finally overtaken with this crap when my last bastion of hope was ruined with “moments of 2010.” Sports Center ran the best sports moments of 2010, and a good portion of them were from this NFL season….you know, the one that hasn’t even ended yet. (SIGH)……I give up.

So, what better way to show how sick I am of watching “moments of 2010” then to truly embrace hypocrisy this one time and write my own look back at 2010. I know, this is not my style, but as annoying as that shit is, it does get you to thinking. And for all of you out there reading this that “know me” on a personal level, know that once I get to thinking about stuff, that’s when trouble starts, lol. So, on that note, I present the Good, Bad, and Ugly of my 2010.

The Ugly:

So I thought I would break from the norm and do this in reverse order. You may be wondering why. And probably thinking, “Oh great, here we go again with another one of his bitch-sessions,” but just bear with me on this. I got a method to my madness people, trust me.

So yeah, the Ugly of my 2010. I am going to keep this section brief, as I “really” do not want to focus on the negative any more than I have this year. I would prefer to end the year on a semi-positive note, but before that can happen I want to dump the crap of 2010.

To no one’s surprise my Mother is bat-shit crazy. She has continued to try and make everyone she comes into contact with as miserable as possible. Fortunately, I have taken many steps over this last year to put further distance (literally and figuratively) between us. It is unfortunate though because while she has failed at continuing to try and torture me, she has turned to other members of my extended family to try and make them feel miserable. But the good news on that is that they are strong people, and she is failing there too.

Next, my job sucked rectum…..no seriously. I have come to believe that my job (not the company as a whole, but the very place I work) is the 5th ring of hell. They treat me (and a lot of other really good people) like shit on a daily basis. They try everything they can to break your spirit and push you farther down the rabbit-hole of depression.

And you know what? That’s all I’m going to say on these two topics. More breaking from the norm people, lol. I’ve spent enough time this year talking and fretting about these kinds of negative forces. On to happier thoughts for the remainder of this blog for me.

The Bad:

Lol…..I know, I know. You’re probably thinking right now, “I thought you said onto happier thoughts.” The words The Bad are misleading in my opinion. The things I’m going to talk about aren’t necessarily “bad,” they’re just areas I think I struggled with this year, and plan on improving in 2011.

I received some advice from a trusted friend recently to stop with the “self-deprecating” talk I usually exhibit. I half-jokingly told him that if I do that I’m going to lose all my funny material. A lot of really funny comedians use that style of “to get a laugh by laughing at themselves.” The problem with me doing that right now is that I still have a lot of issues to work through that sometimes the jokes leave residue and I dwell on it too much, thus blurring the lines of what’s a joke and when am I being serious. I just wanted to tell this quick story to say that all the stuff I say in this section is not self-deprecating at all; it’s just an honest reflection on me, as I see it.

I’m not so sure I did the best job as a husband in a year and a half of our marriage. I know that sounds like a harsh statement to use on myself, but hear me out. I know I’m a good person (for the most part); I know that I am a good man, and I even know that I am extremely good to Stephanie and adore her with every ounce of my soul. On all those things I am tops. I know this. But there are certain areas where I feel I have, not failed, but come up short if you will. I know my wife is not going to like reading that last part, and you’ll have to excuse the sexist way this sounds, but there are just some things a man feels like he should be doing; that he’s supposed to do to provide for the ones he loves, and when that is not happening, it’s hard for that man to feel like he’s doing right by his loved ones. Most of the things I am vaguely referring to are things that are out of my control, but it doesn’t stop me from fretting over them any less. There are things that are within in my control. Like the things I am going to list in this section.

Sometimes I have trouble expressing myself emotionally. Not in the way you might be thinking either. Most times, when people say that statement about themselves or someone else it’s more along the lines of being closed off or distant from others. My issue is more along the lines of thinking that people (most times my wife) already know how I feel; therefore I feel that I don’t need to be thorough about expressing what’s going on inside me, which usually leads to others saying or doing something different then I expected and then me getting frustrated because it didn’t turn out the way I wanted. I fully realize this is all on me.

On a similar topic that ties into the last statement, I might have also been a bit naive in my thinking in what marriage is supposed to be all about prior to Steph and me getting married. I guess I kind of always assumed that when you’re in a relationship your problems become your partner’s problems, and vice versa. But I’m learning that’s not always the case. In fact, it’s rarely the case. I have grown frustrated at many times throughout this year when I felt like Stephanie was not “supporting me” or “wasn’t on my side” when in fact she was, she just handles things different than I do. I’m more of a boisterous kick down the door if you mess my people type of person, where Steph is more of the quiet and….well, just quiet type. I usually mistook the quiet for not listening, or not caring.

She would also say to me that she was trying to understand where I was coming from on things (mainly work issues, as that was the bane of my existence this past year) but that since we just saw things, and handled things differently, it was sometimes hard to always be on board with my train of thought….or rants at times. It took me a bit to kind of get where she was coming from. This is definitely something I continue to work on, because Lord knows I owe it to her after all the complaining I’ve done this year.
Ok, what else? I’ve had some struggles with my faith this year too. I guess it’s only natural when you face the kind of adversity I have this year. I feel like there have been times where I was at my lowest and when I went looking for that spiritual support to help me through it……I just felt “spiritually alone” at times, I guess is a more accurate thing to say. To be honest, I can’t really believe that I’m even writing about this topic at all, as I am pretty private with my faith and my struggles in general. As I write this right now I can feel my hands tremble with nerves. I guess the things closest to you are sometimes the hardest things to express to others.

Anyway, though I felt alone, I always knew I was not. I have a great community of friends and supporters at my church (and at home obviously), but I will get more in-depth in the “Good” section about the people I’m referring to.

The Good:

Alright, now for the fun part everybody. I know you may not be able to tell from the above sections, but there have been some really good times in 2010. Though I have had my struggles this past year, I still can honestly look on 2010 with a smile and see a year filled with good times and even better people. I feel so blessed to have the wonderful people in my life. I do have to admit that I am sad that I don’t say that enough, and I don’t focus on that fact enough. That is definitely something that I plan to change in 2011.

First and foremost I am so thankful to have celebrated my 1 year anniversary with my beautiful bride Stephanie this past July. Though July was 1 year married, this coming January of 2011 will be 5 years spent with the most wonderful woman I have ever met. I promised Steph when we got married that I would let her still bring up the “when we started dating” anniversary as well as the marriage one. It makes her happy, and you know what they say, “Happy wife, happy life.”

As an added bonus, a few months prior to our anniversary, we finally took our long awaited honeymoon. We spent a wonderful week in Barbados, and let me tell you what people; I was about 2 seconds from never coming back. That island was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. The Wife got an added bonus the day we left to come home. She spotted her childhood crush Jonathan Knight (from New Kids on The Block) in the Barbados airport and got a picture with him.

An event I was particularly fond of in 2010 was a trip we took to Boston for family members wedding. While in Boston we were able to celebrate our 1 year anniversary with Steph’s parents, and take some much need relaxation time up at the family cottage in Maine. But, selfishly, I was happy because one of the of the days we were up in Massachusetts I was able to break away from family events and drive down to see a very dear friend of mine from my time in the Army. I went to see my good friend / tattooist Ryan McNamara. Ryan is one of the best people I have ever met. Warm and kind, and did I mention he’s a kick-ass tattooist, lol. It was so good to see him after 10 years. He hasn’t changed a bit….except being married, have a beautiful daughter, oh, and growing one of the most killer goatees I have ever seen!! Plus, the man took some time out to do some work on me. I almost forgot how awesome getting a new tattoo feels. It’s like you’re adding this symbol to you body to express an important chapter in your life. I loved it!!!

Another cool event from 2010 was Steph and I got to be part of the Hope UCC Luau. Every 2 years our church does holds a Luau in conjunction with our Hawaiian brothers and sisters. We do this as a fundraiser to help our Missions Team budget, which in turn helps us reach out to areas of the community, or globally where we feel called to help. But most of all it is a rockin’ fun time, with great food and kick-butt live entertainment from the Hawaiian school that shares our church.

This was also a year of milestones in the Cruse house. Though I found the milestone exciting, my wife might have another take on it. This year Steph turned the ripe age of 30. I have to admit she took it better than when I hit 30. I think I complained for weeks. Steph just whined a bit for a couple days, and then moved on, lol. It was a wonderful birthday weekend though. I arranged for Steph’s other life partner (aka her best friend Alexis) to fly into D.C. and spend the weekend with Steph. It was a good time.
Tonight is the last night of 2010, and I firmly believe we are going to do it up right. The Wife and I are headed out to a nice dinner; a little dancing, and we might even get to see a Flamenco Show. How cool is that? All in all it’s going to be a fantastic send-off to what has been a year filled with worries, trials and tribulations, but most of all wonderful memories and even better people. Though 2010 had its ups and downs, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Here’s hoping for a wonderful 2011.

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