So here we are, another year has gone by.
Overall this has been a better year than some in recent past, as far as years go.
To illustrate, here’s the rundown of the past years of this decade
2000: Technically this year was the last of the 90’s, but am I typically the kind of person to point out technicalities? Don’t really remember much other than a lame New Year. This was in the middle of my sophomore year of high school. And the later half included my 16th birthday and the start of my last full year of high school (full as in more than just two English classes). Fun fact, I did not actually get my license until I was almost 17.
2001: This year was much better. In the spring I went to Spain/France for three weeks, which was probably three of the most amazing weeks I have had the pleasure of enjoying. Not that the year needed any help being incredible, but roughly two months after getting back from Spain, my family and I flew to Las Vegas and then proceeded to put 5000 miles on a rental car in a little over two weeks by driving it up through to Yellowstone, over to Seattle/Vancouver, and then down the entire west coast to San Diego and the eventual Mexican Border by way of Redwood National Forest, San Fransisco, Los Angeles, and the OC before it was the OC. We also saw a good bit of Las Vegas, but after a previous road trip a decade ago (’99) we already been there, done that. The look on the rental car associate’s face was priceless.
2002: Hard to top 2001, so in a way, I didn’t even try. I did manage to graduate high school, turn 18 somewhat anonymously, record an album of songs I had written, buy my own recording studio equipment, set up shop in the attic, and then spend the better part of the last half of the year writing and recording and unfortunately working at Lowe’s.
2003: Similar to the end of 2002, lots of recording, but a decision at some point was made that would change the course of my life permanently. Sometime in the spring I decided to go to Florida for a year with Steven to go to Word of Life Bible Institute, becoming the first of many rather pivotal springtime decisions. The first of part of the year proved rather lame, but the fall quarter in Tampa more than made up for it; made a lot of new friends and somehow managed to be elected student body president. This was also the beginning of my development of social skills; which somehow culminated rather intensely at the end of the year due to a decision I made while drugged up on hydrocodeine after a vigorous fight with the oral surgeon over my wisdom teeth (which I still keep in a cup on my desk for obvious reasons). The fall had not been my most clearheaded semester of school, a pattern that will further develop below.
2004: Due to said decision above, I made several significant friends the remaining time at Word of Life, and even started dating someone. Not that I hadn’t dated in high school, it just wasn’t as intense, or long lasting at this relationship turned out to be. Had an amazing rest of the year, and again, made a decision that would alter the course of my life by opting out of a full ride to study recording industry and instead embarked on an education geared towards the ministry. This meant a year of school in upstate New York, which proved to be a rather intense year to say the least, jump started by a rather awful fall quarter, continuing a cycle that would take several years to break.
2005: This year started out rather cold to say the least, but in keeping with the cycle would gradually warm up come spring, starting with a fragmentation of a relationship (doublespeak for getting dumped) and a trip to Argentina (referred to elsewhere). Negatively, some of the decisions and determinations made on that trip resulted in later failed relationships, but the determination to focus on developing guy friendships resulted in a focus on discipleship over the summer the high school guys in unit had not seen before. Needless to say, summer of 2005 was easily the best summer of my life, for more reasons than I can list here, and it was at that point that a direction in ministry was solidified, further guiding the original decision made the year before to pursue that sort of training. But alas, the fall entailed an all too inclusive work schedule and a slipping off into spiritual mediocrity that would take more than a year to correct. On the positive side, the jobs at Starbucks and MCR that I started that fall still fund my bank account now (although not to the extent that they once did).
2006: The start of this year should have been a signal that it would be a rather awful year as a whole. While I was the one who ended the relationship, it was really more like my hand was forced by the infamous “non-breakup, breakup” You know, the kind where you have to actually do the formal breaking up because the other party was too irresponsible to verbally end something that they emotionally ended almost a month before. Anyway, this did not bode well for the rest of the year. Positively, I started working on finishing my degree through Liberty online, and then proceeded to do so until August of the next year, negatively I decided to go back to camp to recreate the magic from the year before and even more negatively, decided to start dating someone I knew in my heart was a horrible match for me. But unfortunately I had lost faith in myself to make good intuitive decisions, and being in the spiritual wasteland that I was in, there was no guiding of the Spirit to be had. What followed was the worst relationship to date, the worst fall semester to date, and one of the least profitable or enjoyable years in my life.
2007: Not being able to plunge much deeper into mediocrity, this year could only get better, and in fact it did. Last New Years was rather lame. But fun fact: I had my first beer in celebration of it. Maybe the context with which it was consumed led it to also be the only beer I’ve ever had, but this probably was not the Blue Moon’s fault. At any rate, thoughts of alcohol only bring bad memories, so 2007 was as dry as they come. Not long after this, the spiritual awakening process started at Passion, which then a couple of months later culminated in breaking off a potentially lethal relationship and not long afterwards, having the feeling impressed upon my spirit that I should go ahead and apply to go to Dallas Theological Seminary in the fall, which I did. From this point the year only continued to improve. The summer was enjoyable and I made two really good friends rather unexpectedly. Other than working in a less than desirable environment for the better part of the fall semester, and accumulating a rather nasty debtload, the fall broke the previous cycle of mindless decision making and poor positioning for positive outcomes in life management. In other words, I stayed focused and made the necessary adjustments to stay spiritually on track and mentally alert, thus having a rather promising first semester of seminary and as an added bonus made many incredible friends.
Which brings us to now, New Years Eve 2007, with me, alone, sitting in Starbucks typing this out rather partying like a rockstar. Not that I have ever really partied like a rockstar anyway (although one could argue by being my own band I’ve more than earned the right to); but it seems unorthodox to say the least to somewhat care less about any New Year’s festivities.
In some ways, due to several decisions above, it feels like I am running a different race of sorts. I don’t march to the beat of a different drum, I am the drummer making the beat. In one of my many leather bound books, John Maxwell, says, or probably knowing him, quotes someone else as saying “Its not that nice guys finish last, it’s that they are usually running in a different race.” This fits nicely next to Tommy Nelson’s “Nice guys finish last, bad guys go to hell,” as a nice caveat when confronted with a status different than the rest of the world around you. But maybe it’s just my nature to prefer introspection and refocusing at a time like this, rather than socialization and debauchery. Although one could easily also posit, without anyone else to Carpe New Year’s, it seems rather pointless to do anything that will knowingly pale in comparison. This really is not related to being a nice guy per se, but for some reason that quote keeps popping in my head when thinking through my divergences from the mainstream. It does not necessarily bother me, it’s just something I ponder from time to time, now being one of those times.
I am going over to Steven’s girlfriend’s house in a few minutes to celebrate with them, but part of me secretly would like to go somewhere where nobody knows I am and celebrate in silence. The only real problem with this is the lack of a good place to do so. Unfortunately my secret places are both several hundred miles away, and one is additionally enveloped in frigidity. Anonymity can be a bad thing in excess, hence the trouble most young college students get into away from home and any accountability, but in some instances, when sought for the right reasons, anonymity can be rather empowering and centering, especially for approaching a new year and potential to further ingrain good habits and engender new ones.
So here we are.
It’s been a good year.
I’m not really fond of the number 8, I will miss writing 07 in logbooks, journals, personal checks, and papers. But given the momentum, 2008 could develop rather nicely. I will be interested to see what life impacting decisions get made this spring. The negative part of the cycle was broken this past fall, but hopefully that does not cancel out the positive part that usually takes place late winter/early spring; although the placement of Dallas’ spring may alter the timing of things. I shudder to think what might happen if it just went straight to summer. That would throw all this speculation off now wouldn’t it?
Hope everyone has/had a happy New Year. I’ll be up bright and early goal setting and semester mapping, the perfect way to spend a day off, especially if you include a good dose of college football and all you can eat wings, which unlike tonight, necessitate the company of others to fully enjoy.