The Turning of the Decade and Prime Numbers

This is not only the first month of the new decade, but it’s also my birthday month. As these are new starts for the calendar and another trip around the sun for me, it always feels like my new start to things is always a little bit after most people have abandoned their New Year’s Resolutions. That said, it does give me a bit more time to consider what is important and how I want to forge forward in my life and what changes I want to make.

Shark Girl, Buffalo, NY, August 2019

As many of you who know me personally have learned that the past few years have brought a lot of challenges. I haven’t shared a lot of this in social media, but now that I’ve got some distance on it I feel I can let people know a little bit more of what happened. 2017 was a particularly challenging year, where it seemed like the main pillars and supports of my life all came apart. Usually, when I tell people everything I went through at once, I get about halfway through they are already overwhelmed. Here’s all the challenges that I had to deal with in just a few months:

  1. First, my therapist, whom I had been seeing for five years, announced that she had stage 4 brain cancer (glioblastoma) and would be starting chemotherapy and radiation. This is all to put in the context that I didn’t have that resource as I was dealing with the other issues.
  2. Shortly after that, I had my own yearly physical, and after 2.5 months of six specialists visits, two bone scans, and numerous blood tests, I was diagnosed with two chronic diseases (immune thrombocytopenia and osteopenia) that really don’t have any particular treatment until you get really sick. It’s a “wait and see” approach.
  3. Then, I, along with 20% of the graduate school at Babson College, were all laid off. I was not expecting this as I was the only one who supported a particular population of student programs. This was my 6th layoff, so I at least had dealt with it before and sort of knew what to prepare. Regardless, it was a shock as I had just been celebrated a couple of weeks before for making the college look so good by being one of the name readers at commencement with a 70% international student population. One of the big things with this is that my health insurance would be ending and I was still in the middle of doing all of the tests to figure out what was going on with me physically.
  4. Additionally, my father, who had just recovered from cancer treatments in his 80’s, began to show that he could not handle his finances and that started a pattern of my taking on more and more of his paperwork, as well as the physical decline.
  5. As I was dealing with all of these issues, it became clear to me that I was in a relationship with a really great guy, but it wasn’t the right fit. As difficult as it was, I needed to make the break for myself, but that in itself was a very trying experience.
  6. A little later, I was swindled out of a few thousand dollars by a con man. A trusted colleague had his LinkedIn profile hacked and I was presented with what appeared from all my research to be a legal endeavor, but fell apart all at once. While I tried to do my due diligence, there were a number of factors that contributed to this happening, and if any one of them hadn’t happened, I would have caught this early.
  7. Finally, the door in my parking garage came down on my car and tore off my roof racks, causing thousands of dollars in damage. As there wasn’t a motion sensor on the door, I was caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

As you can imagine, this combination of occurrences has been one that has been very challenging. It’s been like the Universe decided that I needed a shift in my life and upended every support structure I had. It’s made me go inward a lot more and try to figure out what I’m doing and where I’m going.

In this time, I have rallied in many ways:

  • I have a new therapist
  • Through taking CBD oil, calcium, Vitamin D, ashwagandha and tart cherry supplements, my osteopenia has been stopped and my platelet numbers have risen from 68 to 126 (150 is the low end of normal, and below 100 is when they start worrying).
  • I have successfully gotten all the paperwork done and have seem to have gotten all of my father’s finances in order.
  • The con man was captured and found guilty and I will hopefully be getting some of my money back.
  • My car has been fixed (even though the garage door came down on it again).

I’m still dealing with looking for permanent work, and coming to grips with the fact that I will probably have to make a career transition out of higher education career services into the for-profit sector, and the ongoing issues with my father. As you can image, I haven’t been putting a lot of energy into looking for another relationship, but I’m open to it now!

That be said, it feels like I’ve started a new chapter in life, and I don’t yet know what the story will be. I’m much stronger mentally and emotionally than I was before, and I’m looking to be surprised by what the Universe has in store for me. I’m looking to be a much bolder Ken in the 2020’s and move forward with things even if I don’t feel like I’ve got support from everyone.

So, what’s this about prime numbers? Well, all my life I’ve always felt like prime numbers are very unstable. If you think about a table, those with 3 or 4 legs are more stable than those on a single leg. A number like 36 can be broken down to 2x2x3x3. There’s 4 legs there. 2017 was a prime number, and my age that year was also a prime number. The double prime made me feel very uncomfortable (as well as the tearing apart of our democracy that started that year also). Now that it’s 2020, that’s a much more stable number (2x2x5x101), and my age is also not prime.

Over all, it just feels like I’ve got more of a base to jump off from and I’m more secure that I’ve gone through the fire of change and I’m coming out the other side. I have some ideas of projects that I want to do for the next chapter in my life. Now is the time to be bold and make things that I want to see in my life and in the world happen, and trust that the Universe will be there to support me and catch me if I fall.

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