Friday, April 7, 2017
Every year I say it, but every year it's true; I can't believe how quickly the time has gone since I began writing here on April 7, 2008. I was nineteen years old then, and a college sophomore. My brother Thomas was only twelve, my sister Pie only four. Eighteen-year-old Powell was still a senior in high school, and my parents were still married, still living in the same Mountain Town house to which they'd moved two years earlier. George W. Bush was president. Everyone was getting excited about this hot new underground artist named Lady Gaga. The economy was slowing down, but the bottom had not yet dropped out. And I was a child.
Now Thomas is twenty-one and contemplating a return to college himself, thirteen-year-old Pie begins high school in the fall, twenty-seven-year-old Powell is still struggling under the burdens that have weighed him down for many years now, and my divorced parents have both found new relationships, while I am 4,000 miles away from all of them.
So many changes.
In looking back, one of the most bizarre things to me about this entire blogging enterprise is how serendipitous it was. A routine Google search on an unrelated topic brought me to Writing as Jo(e), a remarkable storyteller whose warmth and compassion were exactly what I needed during a deeply hurtful period of my life. She encouraged me to commit my thoughts to digital paper. And I did.
For the last nine years, this blog has been witness to the most consequential chapters of my life, to the joys and growing pains of a young person transitioning from boy to man in the context of substantial obstacles--but also of amazing victories. I began this blog carrying so many demons, and nine years on I can look back at a long list of personal and professional accomplishments that have been enriched by the self-reflection and community this place offered. Who ever would have thought I'd get a master's degree, or move to the Far North, or teach history in a village of 400 people and get paid a damn good salary to do it? Who would've thought I'd be an openly gay man who accepts himself and arranges dates in Iceport? And a group of wonderful bloggers have been with me every step of the way. I've always been so thankful for that Google search.
Nearly a decade on, I have no doubt there are many more twists coming in the plot. But for now, a year in review:
April 2016: I turn 28 years old.
May 2016: I complete a difficult student-teaching assignment and begin a well-deserved month off of school.
June 2016: A two-week sojourn at a Northern State monastery teaches painful but needed lessons.
July 2016: I begin a summer course, the last class of my graduate career.
August 2016: I finish my master's degree in education, move in with my grandmother, and start work at Native State Public Relations.
September 2016: I weigh whether to enter teaching or continue in the public relations field.
October 2016: I decide that I will apply for teaching positions for the spring 2017 semester.
November 2016: I begin applying for jobs, and also commence research on teaching in Arctic State. The 2016 presidential election results give added impetus to my job search.
December 2016: My time at Native State Public Relations ends.
January 2017: Most of this month is occupied with job searches--and with some much-needed rest after four hectic months.
February 2017: Following an unexpected opening, I interview for and secure a teaching position in Arctic State.
March 2017: I fly north.
For the first time since you've known me, I am doing that thing I've been talking about since we met: standing on my own two feet. Paying my own bills. Earning a steady paycheck, and in a field that gives me fulfillment. I still have problems, sure. But who doesn't? And being in a stable financial place means that the handling of those problems can proceed way more smoothly than happened when I was twenty and my whole future hung in the balance.
I've done a lot of heavy lifting these last nine years. Now, professionally at least, I can do some settling in. Knowing that feels so incredibly good.