“Don’t you know we’re living in stolen moments
You steal enough it feels like we’re stopping time
These days are gold we’re living in stolen moments
Just grab a hold these days are yours and mine”
– John Hiatt
Those who have worked with me know that when working on a project I regularly stop and review everything that has been done so far. Over the years I have found that it allows me to improve on existing ideas, correct past mistakes, and develop new ideas for the next steps. Not surprisingly, I tend to approach everything this way. It may not be the most efficient method, but it works best for me. Consequently, I see birthdays as the perfect opportunity to review my life and think about my next steps. Since I turned 36 on Sunday, the time has come once again to evaluate and assess. What did I get right and wrong in the past year? How can I make habits out of my accomplishments and not repeat my mistakes? Instead of wondering if I did a “good” or “bad” job, I wonder if I improved. Am I a better believer, son, brother (literally and spiritually), uncle, friend, employee, student, and now, husband than I was a year ago? Did I make the best choices I could in each situation? Always the social worker, I try to assess these things based on the outcomes. What are the results in my life? Am I happier and/or wiser?
I can certainly say that I am happier. The past year has been eventful, chaotic, and profoundly satisfying in so many ways. In August of last year Christine and I joined a new small group at church that has been a tremendous blessing. In September I began my two-day-a-week internship with The Arc of Northern Virginia. It was a great place to work alongside some fine colleagues, serving some deserving clients, and learning about advocacy for the disabled. The internship lasted until May. On top of this, I was working full-time and taking 6 hours of course work each semester. As much as I enjoyed my classes and the internship, I have never looked forward to summer more in my life. In March I bought my first place, which was alternately exhausting and exhilarating. However, moving my belongings (and eventually, Christine’s) was just exhausting. (Being the owner of a pick-up, I have helped many people move many belongings over the years; so I called in all my chits for this move.) Best of all, on May 19th, I stood up, surrounded by family and friends, and married the love of my life. Some year, huh? It was all worth it…I wouldn’t trade a minute (except for the moving).
There is no comparing where I am now to where I was a few years ago. During the Dark Ages (how I refer to my 20s) my life was a seemingly endless chain of failures and disappointments. I took the road less traveled, and ended up in the ditch. While my life now is far from perfect, it is better than I had come to expect it to be. My family is in good health. My friends are plentiful, and I am proud to count them as friends. My faith, battered as it is, is still alive. I am in a line of work that offers me endless challenges and a great future. I am married to a sweet, generous, loving, patient, and beautiful woman whose love for me, inexplicable as it is, is strong and real and evident in so many ways. At 36, I can see how blessed I am that my adult life has not been what I thought it would be when I was 20.
There are things that I would change about the present. I wish that I was done with school, but I am starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. I wish that my faith were stronger, but they say that God rewards the tenacious, so I will stay in the game and accept that struggling with doubt is part of the package. I have nothing to complain about and much to celebrate. Things now are better than they were before; and that is all I can ask. Another line from the song I quoted at the beginning of this post sums it up:
“Well I could’nt dream this life i’m living
Somehow we just survived, and every waste of time forgiven”
Love and peace to all.