This month is a milestone, or at least something I note, of sorts.
The Abilene High School class of 2001 had its 10 year reunion this past weekend. Rather than fly home to reminisce about glory days over high school football then dinner and pints the next day, I took a gamble that the Texas Rangers would make the World Series again. It would be nice to get back home and chat with some folks about yesteryear, but I feel the gamble is worth it.
While I actually graduated in May 2001 from Abilene High School I did move to North Carolina the first week of October in 2006 after graduating from college in May. While the girl and dream I came here with didn't work out I truly believe I have emerged with such an abundant amount of blessings it is ridiculous, even in the wake of the heartbreak which follows telling the girl you dated for five years you don't love her anymore.
You see, it would be simple to just put up a status saying " ... wishes he could have gone to his 10 year high school reunion but man has he grown in the decade since. And he's been in NC for five years now? WOW!" But this would simply put a decade into two brief sentences most of the FB world will look over if they don't have me hidden already.
While it often seemed to crawl I must say the past ten years have flown by, or at least it is seems like yesterday I got my first computer with - get this - fast dial-up internet all of my own, headed off to junior college and first met some band named Cross Canadian Ragweed. I found music that changed me and meant something, friendships that didn't and made other friends who became family. I went to class often enough, didn't apply myself nearly as hard as I should have (which is one of the few things in life I regret), drank a few beers at the Ponderosa Dancehall and listened to amazing Texas country music (think country-rock/Americana stuff) and shot at a lot of dove with my padre and assorted male role-models. I received an education, earned a degree and made some lifelong friends, helped by some silly website I didn't to join called Facebook. I found Potter, re-discovered or dove hard into Star Wars, got lost in L O S T, drank a Bradarita, discovered my geekiness and watched the University of Texas win it's first national championship in my lifetime. I began writing for a newspaper, first out of an interest in motorsports and then music.
None of this, I think, really compared to the life I found after college when I moved north of Charlotte. And while the Carriage Club Apartments are still hard to turn near because of the memories held there, the life I found after the breakup, in my church and with the friends I have made has maybe been the greatest part of my life yet.
It boggles my mind to think I am "assistant youth minister" at St. Therese. Sure I always went to Mass but I still think, "Whoa!" Was spring 2007 really that long ago when I invited the high schoolers to a screening of the Invisible Children documentary? I find myself constantly in awe of what I do there. The people who have become my family and the teens I have worked with are some of the greatest blessings I could ever hope to discover, not to exclude the family of friends I have made outside of church too.
I have loved, been heartbroken and felt the hope of finding love once again. I found a true honest-to-goodness full-time professional job as a newspaper reporter, and lost it because of poor management decisions. Liverpool FC became a passion and the Texas Rangers made it to the World Series, which I was able to attend and experience. This alone was one of the greatest days of my life. And I get to go again! I gained weight from the stress and sedentary lifestyle and now have shed it since July to probably match what I weighed in college. Death and sickness arrived too often, enough to where a random phone call from madre made me immediately ask what was wrong. Tears were shed and there were quite a few funerals I was unable to attend. But they are Home and I remember them here. Some songs will always be hard to listen to.
What I lack in money or a career I more than make up in blessings and friends. And I am ready to take care of that career part thanks to those same friends'-who-are-becoming-family encouragement.
And so I will soon be 30 years old. It's a little of a JD from Scrubs meets Ted Mosby from How I Met Your Mother feeling.
Life is happening and it is exciting yet terrifying at the same time to think of the age mark, especailly since I don't feel 29. I have felt compelled to create The 30 List, a to-do list of sorts to work on before approximately 4 am CST on June 29. Some I will be able to do and some I won't, but it's a realistic goal I will post later.
There is much to be done and even more I don't even about that know will happen. I know one thing. It is going to be one heck of an experience.
"Cause everyday the world is made
A chance to change, But I feel the same
And I wonder
Why would I wait till I die to come alive?
I'm ready now
I'm not waiting for the afterlife"
- Jon Foreman/Switchfoot "Afterlife"