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Transitions and Travels
June 2, 2000

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It's been a long time since last we spoke, which is mostly my fault though life had a hand in it too. May 22 to June 2 is a big leap any way you look at it. And much has happened and is about to happen.

In part, we've moved into the time of year where I'm busy enough living life that I didn't have a lot of time to journal or weblog about it. This seems to be a common phenomenon -- most of the regular Journallers seem to suddenly be hit or miss. I like to think of them as growing more active as the weather gets better and one's spirits turn towards Summer. Especially this year, with the growth on the trees and all around us just exploding with life and scent and color. It's inspirational.

And I have been moving through transitions of my own during this time, not too unlike the buds of trees bursting into leaves. Not too unlike the days growing long and languid and warm.

When last we spoke, I was pretty depressed. Which is a bad way to leave off for a good amount of time, and I apologize for that. Depression can be like that, and when you shake depression, you often try to steer clear of the trappings of it. As I bottomed out of my malaise, I didn't want to journal, particularly, and as I swung up I got busy with other things. So it has been a while, as I said, and there is much to discuss.

I'm not depressed now, as you may have gathered. Quite the opposite. I feel fantastic. I'm cheerful and energetic, and growing moreso with every passing day. And this too is a transition, most clearly marked between May 31 and yesterday, the first of June. That was the day I stopped being Handicapped, you see.

There is a certain dark escape to the handicapped placard. Oh, you park in convenient spots and hang the placard on your mirror so everyone knows you're broken. And that's nice and you talk about how convenient it is. But it's also somehow an admission of weakness. It's somehow demeaning to your own soul, even if you'd never find it demeaning in others. I'm in Congestive Heart Failure. I can't walk very far. I'm disabled. I'm crap.

Which is a powerful, dark sentiment for a parking sticker, don't you think.

But now, I'm not. It's as simple as that. So come yesterday, when I made it back to Campus (and more on that in a bit), I found myself parking in the side lot. (Mostly because I had my computer with me, so I didn't want to walk in with a pretty heavy backpack. Besides, Mason, Van and I needed to run an errand at noon.)

Now, it was December, the last time I parked in the side lot. And it was horrid. I had to stop twice between my car and my office, just to catch my breath. I felt weak and breathless and out of shape and horrible.

Yesterday, it was fine. I breezed right in. I chatted with a student en route.

Yesterday, about one-thirty, I went on a long walk with Eileen while we discussed office stuff. It was beautiful and our pace was fast and somewhat hard. Too hard, as I did have a reaction as we climbed a hill. But before, I'd have had one walking out the door.

The day before, in Maine, my parents and I walked the length of Harmon Hill road. And it was a challenge but hardly insurmountable. I only had real trouble with a very steep and long hill at the end, and I would have had trouble with it if I had a good heart.

So yesterday, the Handicapped Placard expired. But more to the point, I knew -- I knew -- a far more important transition occurred.

Yesterday, I stopped being handicapped. Yesterday, I went from a man with heart failure to a man recovering from heart failure. Yesterday, I realized I was honestly, truly getting strong and healthy again.

The week before, as you saw hints of in the Weblog as well as in my last journal entry, I was on vacation. Specifically, I went to Baycon to see Russ. It was an excellent time. I slept amazingly well. I felt refreshed, every day. I never ran into significant problems health-wise. And the con was fantastic. From the movies they projected on the wall of the hotel half the night to the artists' alley where I spent a lot of time (I'm such an art whore) to the hotel room where Russ and I -- and Carol, Russ's friend -- hung out, it was just a darn good time. Russ was sick for part of the Con, but that didn't put a damper on our moods. We marshaled on and had fun, and so did Russ. And that was a transition too, as I went from depression to happiness again. It was a pause that refreshed. A moment's time spent away from responsibility and care, in the company of friends. And that too was good.

I didn't journal during this time, as I talked about before. But I've started a project with the journal. Specifically, I've started migrating electronic entries over into word processing files, to slowly prepare a chunk of the journal for publication. That's right -- publication. But not the journal itself, really, though it too is a good record of transitions, both as a person and as a writer. Rather, the journey the journal chronicles would become the foundation of a book about journalling. About placing a part of your life into the public arena on a daily (or weekly, sometimes) basis. About inviting strangers and friends and family in to be a part of the story.

I think it's a book whose time has come, and certainly I have the journal entries to support it. As of January 10 of this year, I literally have one hundred and sixty-one thousand words I've written in this journal. That's six hundred and forty-four traditional "two hundred and fifty word" pages, and I still have most of the Year 2000 to include.

That's huge. Honestly huge. All of this writing has added up, and it's time to try and do something with it. And I have outlets that would work for it, after editing. A good number of those entries wouldn't make their way in, of course -- especially in the beginning, when a lot of them come across as amateurish. But we'll see. We'll see. It kind of depends on what sort of book this turns into. Besides a book of a year of my life, when I underwent some pretty good, and some pretty harsh, transitions.

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