2009: The Year In Review

2009. What a year.

In many ways, this was probably the most tumultuous year of my life.  I’ve had some harrowing experiences in previous years, but this one just kept ’em coming, one after the other.  I’m amazed I got through it with my sanity somewhat intact!

But there were a lot of really great moments, too.  They were special moments that I never could have planned for.  I started the year in a bad place, and I ended the year in a pretty damn good place.  So 2010 is starting out on a better note than 2009 started.  I think that’s progress.

So here’s a timeline-based review of the year, with a little rating system, just for fun.


Barack Obama Inaugurated as the 44th President. After all that hubbub in 2008, our next President was now official.  Everyone waited with bated breath to see what would happen next. A year later… well… we’re still waiting.  I’m not saying I’m 100% disappointed, but I would like to have seen a few more  tangible results.  The economy is improving, and that is probably the best thing to happen since last January… but we’re still at war, we still haven’t passed health care reform, and the rights of LGBT people are still being infringed upon.  Let’s hope 2010 sees some more of that change.  I’m still hopeful.

Rating: Thumbs up for the change… Thumbs down for the progress.


RcktMan’s Launching Pad shuts down… for a while. I was really ready at the time to just say goodbye and let that be it.  I talked about going out with “dignity,” but what I didn’t express was how much stress I was already under.  I knew I had to move out of my apartment, but I was afraid of how that was going to go, and I didn’t know how to deal with that fear.  So I started to shut down.  And I wasn’t just doing on the blog… I was doing it elsewhere, too.  Eventually I formed a plan.  I thought it would work.  I would be wrong.

Rating: Thumbs down for jumping the gun entirely too early.

Plans to move are made. Things were looking pretty good with the moving situation in February.  I found a roommate and we started to explore options for our new living situation.  I was getting more and more excited about moving.  I started to pack and make plans.  Little did I know what lurked around the corner to dash all those hopes and dreams.  I couldn’t have written the story any better than it actually played out… and it was playing out like a souped-up melodrama.

Rating: Thumbs up for the initial good news.


Moving Plans dashed, panic sets in. Here is where things started really going to hell, and fast.  On March 1, I received an Email from my potential roommate, saying he was backing out of the plan.  My moving date was April 1.  In that moment, everything went sour.  I never felt such panic.  I knew my financial situation was bad, and my prospects of finding another roommate was even worse.  I blanketed every possible connection with Emails, looking for possibilities.   A few came in, but none of them worked out.  Finally, toward the end of the month, when my stress levels were at their absolute highest, I decided to go it alone.  I looked at some of the most dreadful apartments I have seen in years, and the ones that looked hopeful were way out of my price range.  I settled on a place I hated, just for the sake of having something.. and that went sour, too.  I was at the end of my rope, and finally asked for an extension to stay another month.  It was the best thing I could have done.

Rating: Thumbs down… WAY down… for a lot of really bad bullshit.


Blog resurrected… for the sake of my sanity. After a tumultuous March, I was a wreck.  My stress levels were unbelievably high. I wasn’t eating.  I couldn’t concentrate on anything.  But I did need to vent… so I resurrected the blog.  By now any semblance of a readership that I had probably left because they thought I was cuckoo.  They were probably right.  I was cuckoo at the time.  I needed to pour out all of my thoughts, and I did just that.  It was the best thing I could have done.  I formulated a plan, and stuck to it.  And then… good luck finally struck.

Rating: Thumbs up, for doing what I should have done two months earlier.

Apartment FOUND! Thanks to a chorus friend on Facebook, I found a place.  It meant moving further away than I had hoped, but I couldn’t pass it up.  It had everything I needed and much more… including more room… for less.  In addition, the neighborhood was nice, attractive and quiet.  I couldn’t be happier with how things ended up.  After some dealings with the landlords and lots of questions and answers, I signed a lease.  All of the panic I had felt instantaneously vanished.  Next step… moving day!

Rating: Thumbs up, for the kindness of friends and good fortune.


Moving Day! The weather really blew… and rained… and blew… and rained… but I really didn’t care.  I was moving, and that’s all that mattered.  Thanks again to incredible friends and a couple guys I hired, we finally got everything– well, almost everything– in.  OK I lost my sofa, but I didn’t care.  It was just good to be moved into a new place.  A new beginning.  I never felt so optimistic.

Rating: Thumbs up, for finally feeling settled.


I meet a boy! All the while everything was going on at home, I was still active with the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, attending rehearsals and serving on the Membership Council.  In February I was elected Membership Council President, which was a good thing… but added even more work to an already-full plate.  I was concerned how things would go, considering everything else that was happening… but once everything got figured out, I settled into the job.

In May the chorus started rehearsing for our Pride show, “Over the Rainbow,” and we decided to take new members, which we don’t normally do for that show.  There was one in particular I thought was really cute, but I didn’t really think anything more of it… until he made a move on ME!  Talk about unexpected.  So we started dating.  And it was really quite wonderful.  It was especially fun being with him at the Pride Parade.  June was definitely busting out all over… and I was having a really great time.

Rating: Thumbs up, of course.


Apartment broken into, computer, camera stolen. Yeah there were a few too many green, happy thumbs for a while there.  July was a very rough month for me.  If you have never been burglarized, it’s hard to describe what it’s like to discover that a stranger has been through your things; been in your house; and taken things that belonged to you.  It’s one of the most awful feelings one can feel.  I don’t want to necessarily equate it to being raped, but that’s as close as I can come to that violated feeling.  Thankfully, nobody was hurt, and everything taken was replaceable… but that feeling of safety can never be replaced.

Rating: Thumbs down for assholes making other people’s lives miserable.


Rebuilding begins, while other things fall apart. August was a very transitional month for me.  I replaced the computer with a laptop that was generously donated (and soon to be purchased from) a friend, and I got back on track with everything else in life.  I wasn’t going to let the situation at hand break me.  I’d been through too much and was too happy with things to let that happen.  I did, however, re-secure my apartment, and became much more aware of my surroundings.  I wasn’t going to let what happened in July happen again.

But some things were not meant to be, and I once again became a single man.

Up until the last week, I thought things were going great.  But then I noticed the silence on the other end of the line.  Phone calls weren’t returned, Emails and texts were not responded to… I knew something was up.  To make matters worse, I was nearing the point where I was either going to totally fall for the guy or end it; and I realized I was totally falling for him.  So when I finally got in touch with him, I told him we had to talk, and I didn’t care that it was on the phone.  You see, we never officially said anything about our dating situation.  We weren’t boyfriends, and we certainly weren’t in a relationship.  We were just… dating.  And that’s how we both wanted it.  But after all that had happened and as wonderful as it had all been, I knew I wanted more.  He didn’t.  And we talked about it and agreed that it was for the best.  No harm was done, no bridges were burned.  And we remained friends, which makes things even better.  In the end, while it still hurt, I am glad we went about things the way we did.

Rating: Thumbs up, for the rebuilding; and Thumbs down, for the ending.  Final rating: A wash.


Chorus starts up again. The beginning of the chorus season is always a positive thing in my life, because it means I get to see all my friends at least once a week and I can get back to singing again, which is always a positive thing.  September was a busy month, particularly in terms of the chorus, because of my position on their Membership Council.  But I always have said that I like being busy… so that was a good thing, too.

Rating: Thumbs up, for a continually positive force in my life.

Also during September, I finally let my account lapse with DreamHost and The Launching Pad was gone for good. Although I had already copied all of the posts to this site on WordPress.com, I still hadn’t transferred my domain name, rcktman.com.  So I kept the blog quiet until everything was in place.  That wouldn’t come for another two months.  So I took that time away and paid attention to everything else for a while.


Rick’s Launching Pad Opens. It seemed like it took forever– and it took the better part of 2009– but by November I finally got my domain transferred and the new blog was officially open and online once again.  I still had a few bugs to clear up (like that crazy ping echo… thank goodness I figured that one out), but getting rid of that hosted account was worth the wait.  It would have costed me $140 to renew that site, and that was money I simply did not have; and it just wasn’t worth it when I looked at the small amount of traffic it generated in the first place.  So I transferred my domain to Network Solutions for a much smaller fee and applied it here.. and viola, rcktman.com now leads you here.  And if you read this paragraph and cared about what it said, you are obviously a blogger, too. 🙂

Rating: Thumbs up, for one more thing falling into place.


A crappy year ends on a high note. December is always a very busy month for me.  Of course there’s always Christmas to contend with, and that’s usually enough for any one person, but I also have my birthday, my annual holiday/birthday party, and a chorus show.  I read a post from a few years ago where I also had ANOTHER chorus show to prepare for in addition to the CGMC show and I almost died all over again just thinking about what a crazy year that was.  I don’t know I survived it.  Thank the Lord I came to my senses and cut a few things out!

But all those things are good things, and they helped me realize that no matter how bad things get, my family and friends are there to help me through it all.  I can’t help but think how lucky I am to have those people in my life.  They are truly the best.

Other good things– I replaced my stolen camera; the first stolen item to be fully replaced since the burglary.  Finally, it seemed, I was on the road to recovery from that nightmare.

As 2009 rolled to an end and I looked back on the year (and I started writing this post, which has now officially taken me three weeks to complete, and probably took YOU three weeks to read!), I realized that 2009 wasn’t as bad as I thought.  Sure, the bad moments were REALLY bad… so bad that I almost resorted to prescription medications to deal with the stress… but in the end, things came together, and all was well with the world.

So what’s ahead for 2010?  Well… keep reading and find out!

Rating: Thumbs up, for looking ahead and keeping things positive.

2 thoughts on “2009: The Year In Review

  1. What a nice way to summarize–lots of growth and mastery there, too. Makes me want to write something like that! Best wishes for 2010!

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