As I approach the end of 2008 I can't help but reflect on what a difficult year it has been for me personally. First off, like a lot of folks, I was hit extremely hard by the economic slump. I lost my day job at the St. Petersburg Times mostly because of budget concerns back in May. I was very hard for me and strange because I saw it coming but still couldn't react in time. Then there was my divorce in July. My now ex-wife and I formally parted ways in mid July, which was way more difficult that I thought it was going to be. Divorce is hard enough, but when you bundle that with unemployment it becomes a nightmare.
After that came 5 months of unemployment. I think that was the worst part of the whole year. I had never been unemployed so long in my adult life and to tell you the truth it was downright scary. Everybody has an idea of how they'd cope with unemployment if it happened but I gotta tell you that it truly sucked.
Throughout this whole thing I started to lose a bit of my self. I remember not being very motivated to draw cartoons. Ironically it was cartooning that help pull me out of it. Doing two cartoons kept my mind occupied so that I didn't wallow too deep into my own self-pity and loathing. It gave me something to do during the day and that was important for the recovery process.
On a happier note the year ended on the rebound. I found another day job at the Washington Times, and I'm thankful for that. I also decided to up my skills by taking Flash and Dreamweaver courses at the Corcoran School of Art. For the first time in a long time I'm actually feeling optimistic. Here's to hoping that 2009 is better than '08. It certainly can't get any worse.