Well, this is it. After today, there's only one more piece left to write in this retrospective piece. And you know, on one hand I am feeling bummed because this mini project has almost come to an end. But on the other hand, I'm happy that the conclusion is almost here because I've had time to come up with some fantastic ideas for the rest of June (and possibly the rest of summer as well), and I can't wait to show you what I have planned.
Let's just say that it'll feel like we went back in time to 2011...well, a little bit anyway.
For now, we have another year to look at.
Oh look. Another palindrome year. Thirty-three! I remember it well.
Mainly because it happened just last year.
And what a year it was at that. It was a year filled with highs (such as finally becoming one hundred per cent debt free) to a year filled with lows (such as losing my last remaining grandparent in January 2015, and having to deal with my mom getting very sick at the end of 2014 - thankfully she got better). But it was also a year in which I learned exactly what the value of friendship really was. And in order to learn that lesson, I had to make some really tough choices.
I'll get to that story in a moment. For now, let's see what was hot a year ago in pop culture.
Of course, we have to kick things off with a recent picture of me. Have a look!
Don't I look dashing? This photo was taken at a wedding that I attended in October 2014. It's incredibly rare that you see me dressed up like this, but now that I know how good I look, I really should do it more often. If only I had more chances to do exactly that.
Maybe in another year or two.
#1 SONG THE WEEK OF 5/18/2014
"All Of Me" - JOHN LEGEND
I suppose you might consider John Legend a bit of a giant slayer. The song he dethroned was Pharrell Williams' "Happy" which topped the charts for practically the whole first part of 2014! It's a nice song though. I like it.
#1 AT THE BOX OFFICE THE WEEK OF 5/18/2014
No surprise here. This movie was one of the most hyped of the summer blockbuster season. Unfortunately, it didn't quite hit the mark. Although it was kind of funny to see Bryan Cranston's over the top acting post "Breaking Bad".
#1 TELEVISION SHOW FOR THE 2014/2015 SEASON
"NBC Sunday Night Football"
"NBC Sunday Night Football"
Though I have to say that "Dancing With The Stars" and "The Big Bang Theory" were trying to dethrone the football players.
Okay, so before I begin with this entry, I want to direct your attention to this video posted by "The Jimmy Kimmel Show". Let's just say that this video is linked to the point of this post.
So, we're still a few months away from "National Unfriend Day". That day falls on November 17, and was invented by Kimmel as an excuse to unfriend annoying people on social media.
At first I laughed off the idea. Who would celebrate the ending of a friendship? I've had friends who have come and gone, and I know the hurt that can come from ending a friendship. It hurts, and you feel as though there is a huge void after walking away from a friendship that has gone bust. Making someone feel that way is not something that I really want to do. And besides, I like seeing Throwback Thursday posts and finding out which Frozen character I am!
I'm this guy, by the way.
But if the friendship is one-sided, it's not a friendship. It's someone taking advantage of someone else. And if you're at the receiving end of the one-sided friendship where you put forth all the effort, and they take and take, it's not worth keeping.
Nor is having a friendship where the person verbally harasses you or plays mind games with you to make you feel inferior to them. Those are not friendships either. No friendship ever thrives on emotional or physical abuse.
And don't even get me started on fair-weather friendships. You know, the people who only come out when you have something they want, and disappear into the night? That's a problem that began when I was in grade school where kids were only nice to me for me to help them do their schoolwork, and then at recess they were the ones pushing me on the ground and shoving snow or sand in my face - depending on the season.
Unfortunately, by the time I was 33, I had formed "friendships" with quite a few people who were exactly like this. Friendships where I was doing all the work trying to keep them together. Friendships where I was being manipulated or abused. Friendships that were only convenient when the other person was interested.
I don't do friendships like that.
I take friendships seriously. Probably more seriously than most other people. I don't tolerate people who attack me. I especially don't tolerate people who attack my real friends. And when I say real friends, I mean people who I will have their back and they will have mine.
And yet somehow I had let some people slip through the cracks, both in my professional life and my social media life.
Do you have any idea how annoying it is to post something on Facebook that you worked really hard on (like say a blog post, or a photography project), and you share it for all of your friends, only to have those friends make fun of the project or say comments like "I feel like I'm a psychiatrist and you're my 10:30 appointment". They might think it to be the wittiest thing they've ever typed out, but it really causes a lot of unnecessary hurt to the recepient.
So, people like that were given the old heave-ho on National Unfriend Day last year. I didn't want to do it, but if I'm going to move ahead with life, I can't have people bringing me down.
I also unfriended a couple of people who only responded to my statuses just to make snarky comments, or to make me feel bad about choices I've made. If all they're going to be is counter-productive, why would I keep them around?
Another type of person to watch out for is the one who calls you out on something that they deem irritating, and then they go ahead and do the exact same thing that they themselves called you out on. I am not a huge fan of hypocrisy in any form. Thankfully, I have no such people in my social media contacts list. At least, not anymore I don't.
Ah, but here's the tricky part. It's easy to cut ties with toxic people on sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. All you have to do is unfriend them (and block them if they're really poisonous personalities). In real life, it gets a little more complicated, especially if you're in a situation where you have to see them each day.
But you know, in a way, I've kind of put that theory into practice in those kind of places.
You see, ever since National Unfriend Day, I've started bringing my iPod to work with me. And, the reason I do this is threefold. First, it allows me to listen to music I actually want to listen to and not an endless loop of Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" album.
(Seriously, I swear that's all my workplace plays over the loudspeaker.)
Secondly, it allows me to block out all of the gossip and rumours that can be prevalent inside of any given workplace. As someone who has been the victim of workplace gossip in the past, it was a lesson that I learned the hard way. Now I don't involve myself in it at all. And frankly, I'm a lot happier because of it.
And finally, it allows me to distance myself from any toxic people at work - the ones who get pleasure in making other people miserable, or the ones who couldn't be bothered to say two words to you unless they deem you worthy (not a good attitude to have, in my opinion), or the ones who leech onto you like a parasite to get you to spill your guts, only to have your entire life story be the topic of conversation at the coffee club table of co-dependence. Again. Lesson learned the hard way.
Seriously, I'm a fun-loving guy who loves to laugh and who loves to tell jokes and who wants to make his life better. Surrounding myself with people who love me and who I love will help me get there.
I guess if there's one thing that I am sad about, it's that it took me 33 years for me to realize that toxic people have no place in my life. Not back then. Not now. Not in my future.
Of course, some people are tougher to figure out than others. Thanks to my past experiences, I have a pretty good instinct on who I can and can't trust. But there are some people who are like anti-freeze. They might give off the appearance that they are really sweet and lovely, but if you get too close, they'll try to poison you from the inside out.
Best stay away from the anti-freeze and go with some genuine candy hearts instead - preferably those coated with natural sugar. Not that artificial stuff.