Give or take a day or two (you know, leap years)
It is officially over five years since I graduated with my Master of Art’s degree in 2012. I still find it difficult to comprehend how much time has elapsed since sitting in Douglas Hall around tables with eight to 10 other fledgling writers, all discussing the minutiae of our words and story and writing. All guided by brilliant mentors who gave more to us than we knew. I loved college; learning is one of my strongest talents. I can sit in class, absorb, answer, postulate, pontificate, defecate--all the -ates out there. There is something about being on a college campus, about the people you meet, the conversations and ideas, the smell. I don’t know, maybe I’m idolizing and glamorizing the past, but I loved college. And now, five years later, here is what I am doing:
-I taught a year and half at BYU-Idaho: an amazing experience where I was lucky to have students who are now some of my closest and dearest friends, where I was able to feel like I could make a difference in peoples’ lives, a place where I felt connected to the world;
-I have published over 30 stories and poems: there is something special about having someone else tell you that your work and time has value, that just makes it all worth it. I look forward to submitting and publish more in this coming year;
-I have two, healthy children: I could not imagine being a father would be this amazing. Holy crap is it hard, but it is wonderful and silly, and these two are just beautiful and brilliant and teach me more than I can hope to teach them;
-I have been married for almost 12 years: I met the wife when she was still in high school, I fell in love on our first date (true story, I promise I’ll tell it sometime), and I have loved her ever since. These many years have not been easy. I don’t want to give a false since of reality here. I want to be honest. We have struggled financially, emotionally, physically, and personally. We have had great moments, too, memories that I cherish. Through up and down, and below and above, it has all been worth it. She has taught me, helped me, and pushed me in ways I didn’t know I needed, and I will forever be in her debt for all that she has done for on my behalf. She is my love, and I will always belong to her.
-I am more emotionally stable than I have ever been: In the past, I have devoted space here to talk about my anxiety and depression (and there will be more on that in later posts), but I reached a low I did not know I could get to last year. Thankfully, I have family that was willing to help and get me the medical help I needed. I am grateful for the fields of medicine that we have available to us now on earth;
-We are back in California: among friends and family. Our living situation is not ideal, but we are here, and we are safe, and I am excited about the next six months, and years to come. I currently work at a Title insurance company, not ideal, but the best place I could hope for until I find what it is that I am supposed to do;
-I got accepted in a PhD program: I continue to awe that I got into Lancaster University. I believe in the work I want to do, my theories and research topics, and its importance to the literary community, and the world as a whole. But it is extremely validating to have others tell you that your passions and ideas are not only interesting, but deserve space and time to explore. And even more so, I have been fully funded for my three years of school, a dream I did not know would be possible. A true blessing for our family that I do not fully comprehend.
I could gush and go on, but I will leave it there for now. This last year has been the most difficult year in my life thus far. But I have learned more about myself, my family, my friends, and the world in this last year. More than my 32 years of living.
It is impossible to see the beauty of trials while going through them (believe me, I know this from experience). My trial continues, but each day I see more and more why it is necessary, why I needed this to grow as a person, in all aspects of my personality. I needed it be this hard in order to see where my shortcomings were and how to improve. I am grateful to be strong enough to survive this, to survive this long with the difficulties I have faced.
It’s been five years and I haven’t found my calling yet, or gotten my career job, and that’s okay. My life has so much room to grow and improve, and I could not be more excited about where I see this all going.