Anniversaries: Looking back from 2017
Even at the end of 2017, I am still unsure whether this is the light of the dawn, or just a false light. The 7th year of the decade marks many periods, and these milestones would not be remembered again until a decade later. But for what it’s worth, those two years—1997 and 2007—formed the flawed, imperfect being that I had become today.
A Year-End Review
I have no idea what to make of 2017. The year before, I knew where I stood: 2016 had been a fucked-up year, in all aspects. It was a nightmare year where everyone decided to commit self-destruction, and all the dark, tragic transit points converged into those 365 days. I knew that much. But I had no idea what to make of 2017, because I don’t know what its purpose was. Did it serve to perpetuate the darkness of 2016? Was it supposed to be this shining beacon of hope? Or was it just another “dawn-less” year?
But 2017, for me, has a far important value. Ten years before it was 2007. Ten years before that it was 1997. These years were so pivotal, and so life-altering that by the start of the 2010s I had carried a superstition that every 7th of the decade a watershed moment would happen in my life that would shape years to come.
This post celebrates the anniversary of the two pivotal moments in my life: 1997 and 2007. I have said enough and written enough literature to explain them and the years that they defined, but this is my final written dedication to them. As I begin and end this post, I will also hopefully close these chapters, carry whatever values they have in them, and cast them to oblivion. Then, I will say some words about 2017, and assess whether it really did follow the two 7th years that preceded it.
Part 1: Anniversaries
The Beginning of the Cycle: 1997
This was the Genesis of my story. While the events that led to 1997 went as far back as 1995, the true defining moment in my life was this year. As all the 7th years of my life, 1997 was defined by one person. And 1997 was the year I chose to define myself in the world as that of that one person.
Mind you, the choice made in 1997 was not some epiphany or lightning-inspiration. In 1997, I was trying to make a choice of who would define my life. Nothing happened with that person of 1995, since I really wasn’t committed to it, but 1997 was defined by choice. Not serendipity, but choice. 1997 happened because I chose to act on it.
Mistakes, missed opportunities, and a whole lot of mess thereafter (at one point involving letters), the period and the true end of 1997 came in March 2000. That was the point when I chose to definitively turn back from it.
But if it only had been that easy to simply turn away from it, my life would not have been so… broken. Inspired by a memoir I was made to write in Freshman year, and brought on by nostalgia, I decided to make contact and try to redeem what was lost in 1997. Once again, mistakes were made, and the whole thing dragged on for many years, when it should have ended long before. The truly definitive moment of its end was in 2012… decades after its inception.
Point was, 1997 shaped my outlook in life for a long time. It defined an era, and all the women in my life from that point on I compared to that gold standard. It ended, of course, but not before many years and landscapes in my life had been turned to barren wasteland in her name. It began a destructive cycle, inspired by and begun in that year.
The Year the World Turned On Me: 2007
My God. I have attempted so many written pieces explaining what actually transpired in this year. Attempted but abandoned out of fear. This year had been about “phantoms real and imagined”, of clandestine affairs, and well, madness. When 2007 began I had just abandoned a place and a people, brought on by the stigma of 1997, and was perpetuating a destructive cycle of falling and obsessing for people I had no hope of ending up with. 2006 was particularly ironic, as in trying to surpass the psychological obstacle of 1997, the person I thought as my salvation was actually engaged. This reality existed long before my narrative, but the value here is in the discovery, which was directly preceded by the obsessive hope of trying to overcome the stigma of 1997.
So yes, I entered 2007, having abruptly abandoned something that itself had its strange moments. Actually, the events of 2006 would be significant foreshadowing of what was to come. But I digress. 2007 had been fated to be another year of failure. Another cycle of trying to overcome past stigma, and finding a wall blocking my path. Nothing remarkable about it.
Except that, events of 2007 got weird. Looking back at it now, I don’t know if any of the things I remembered actually happened, and if it was all a straight narrative, complicated only in my own mental narrative. Or if it all did actually happen, or at least some of it happened, and the rest was further complicated by my own interpretation. Either way, 2007 was the second important milestone that shaped how I interacted with the world, and how I perceived the world interacted with me. Because where 1997 was a limited, personal setback, 2007 involved a larger world, a world that I thought I waged a protracted war against. For me, it felt like 2007 turned the world against me, and consequently I turned against the world.
What was 2007 about? A person? A group? An idea? It was all of it, and none of it. Personally I attributed 2007 to one person. She was so important because she was the first, or the sole person who did not turn away. Who actually reached out (or so I thought—nothing was certain at that time).
In a broader context, however, 2007 was a group of individuals with their own intent, and out of their converging paths was born an idea. To this day I am still living the aftermath of 2007: medication; broader mistrust of the world; a darker, more cynical look in life. Things did subside in 2012, the year another milestone occurred, but I never truly recovered from 2007. At least, not at the recent times.
The year that came early: 2013
Since 1997, every 7th year of the decade a milestone occurs that alters the course of my life. This has always been the case, except in 2013. Though its true beginning was in 2012, the events and the person behind 2013 was so influential that unlike 1997 and 2007, the aftermath of the year left me truly fractured, and far from recovery.
2013 opened a year before with little fanfare. Owing to the perpetuating cycle of 1997, and the chaos left by 2007, I had a pretty cynical outlook on life. I thought that any one I would meet, would either be the continuation of the 1997 cycle, or end up as a chaotic aftertrail of 2007. In either case any hope I had, if there was still any, I pretty much dismissed as another potential failure.
So what happened in 2013? She perpetuated the cycle of failure begun in 1997, and had pretty much similar conditions as 2007. Throughout 2013, I was torn. I had no idea where I stood, but I thought that I had hope. I had so desperately wanted to redeem myself from 2007 and finally break the self-destructive curse of 1997, that I clung to the hope of 2013. As I had done maybe a thousand times before.
How was it then, different from the others? When 2013 ended, something, somehow snapped. It finally broke me, and more than pulling me to final despair, I fractured. It convinced me that there was no escape from the stigma of 1997 and 2007. That no hope awaited me from beyond. The emptiness of her loss was so great, so unfathomable, that in the years I followed, I tried to look to fill that abyss in my life with not one but multiple persons, each year multiples of 3 or 4. Something broke, and in that year I made far-ranging plans (see Part 2).
Year Zero: 2017
I don’t know how exactly 2017 figures with the milestone years of 1997 and 2007. Does it perpetuate the cycle first begun in 1997? Is it just another event that highlights the inescapable doom that 1997 presaged? Is it a milestone, that it is what 2007 could not be? Is it the final vindication for those two years?
The beginnings of 2017 were auspicious enough: 2014 was in the direct fallout of 2013. At that time, and within the period of 2014-2016, the void left by the loss of 2013 led me to look each year towards multiple persons. There was an inherent imbalance; the stigma of previous years and the exhausting ordeal of 2007 culminated in the blow of 2013. The period of 2014-2016 was merely a struggle to regain that equilibrium, and to find some sense of redemption.
2017 came as a surprise, because the 2014-2016 period wasn’t expected to have produced something fortuitous. That period was simply the inevitable collapse that 2013 aggravated. That period was supposedly just a transition point towards the vindication of the “Firewall Year” (see Part 2). But in 2017, a light from a seeming unending darkness peeked from the sky. I had not seen such clear light for a long time. Not even when I proverbially searched for it in 2007. Not when it first faded in 1997.
But even at the end of 2017, I am still unsure whether this is the light of the dawn, or just a false light. The 7th year of the decade marks many periods, and these milestones would not be remembered again until a decade later. But for what it’s worth, those two years—1997 and 2007—formed the flawed, imperfect being that I had become today. And 2013 could have very well paved the way for 2017. But as I bring the curtain down on those two years, in commemorating them I wish also to finally escape their specter; I wish to be finally lifted from self-inflicted curse. And I wish to finally find salvation in the darkness of 2013.
I give a final salute to 1997 and 2007. I acknowledge 2013. And now I turn my back and walk away from them all. Please let me be saved.