Belated Happy New Year! By now, I’ve probably lost a fair bit of attention given that I haven’t posted in over two months. That’s okay. We’re going to try to get this started again. Not much has changed in 2017, but I have some positive things to share nonetheless.

To start with, yesterday was my two-year kidney donation anniversary. The recipient, Stephen, and I decided that we’d celebrate by going to dinner at the same place we did last year, a lovely little Italian spot called Oregano. While last year’s anniversary evoked heavy emotions in me, this year’s anniversary remained a little bit subdued. Part of that has to do with how much has changed for me in the last year, and I also think part of it merely has to do with the passage of time. Still, it’s a happy day, both for Stephen and for me. Stephen of course is happy to have a functioning kidney. I’m happy to have saved his life.

That’s a phrase that’s been hard for me to accept. When I think of saving a life, I think of pulling someone from a burning building or performing CPR or something like that. Donating an organ is much less dramatic, which somehow makes it seem (to me) less heroic.

But it is heroic, and I’m learning to be proud of that. Since donating, many people have said to me, “I don’t think I’d ever be able to do that.” When I chose to donate, I thought I was just doing what anyone would do. That is (understandably) not the case. Donating is a big deal, even bigger than I realized before I did it. Now, I understand. And now, I’m proud to say I saved a man’s life.

The next life I need to save is my own. I adopted a dog in October. He brings me joy every day and gives me someone to focus on besides myself, which I think is an important step in emotional healing. Still, loneliness hovers over me like a storm that never passes. It made the holidays difficult as well as the dark, cold days of winter. Then suddenly, a light…

I don’t know what happened exactly. It started after Phish’s New Year’s Eve performance at Madison Square Garden. I attended all four nights of the run as I have for the past few years. This year, however, the run ended on New Year’s, which means the entire run led up to a climax as opposed to having a peak somewhere in the middle. And as usual, Phish did something special to ring in the New Year.

What was unusual was the way the performance moved me. I’ve been to a lot of Phish shows. I don’t usually have emotional responses to them, though I thoroughly enjoy them. But New Year’s was different. New Year’s 2017, Phish put together a piece of music and dance that was simply beautiful. They (almost) literally made it rain inside Madison Square Garden to the tune of a new song called “Petrichor.” They added horns and additional percussion, as well as a squad of amazing dancers. You can watch the performance below if you like. (Skip to 6:20 for the dancing and the rain.)

The joy I felt at the moment of the ballon drop, the pure happiness was something I hadn’t felt in a long time. Stranger still, it hasn’t gone away. I wish I could explain it, but I’m happy to accept it without explanation. That joy has empowered me to take one day and one moment at a time. Through it, I’ve experienced a calm that keeps me level and gives me hope.

How long will this last? I don’t know. Part of this new outlook is refraining from questions in the first place. Today, I feel hope. That’s all that matters.

And today, I hope this joy will fuel more writing, better writing. Paid projects, unpaid projects, any sort of creativity at all. I’ve made a few entries on this blog where I pledge to keep it updated more often. I’m not making that pledge today. I’m only saying that right now, in this moment, I’m happy to be here. I hope you are, too.