Friday, September 28, 2007

300

And a happy 300th post to The Other Dentist. Wahoo!

You know, I've had a good day today. A lot of great things have been happening this evening. Mutual was spectacular. One of our leaders got his old mission president to come and have a discussion with us, it was just way too cool. Just a lot of great stuff that we talked about.

Levi and James came over tonight and we got to talk for a really long time. It was so nice to just sit back and talk with them. They came over to borrow some discs, but ended up staying for two and a half hours or so. We really just talked about everything, it felt great. I love being with good people. I love being able to just talk, not about anything really in particular. It was the total opposite of stress. We were just there, talking about real things, being genuine. Genuine - that's one of the best feelings in the world.

One of the things that we talked about were journals. Levi asked if I kept a journal, and so I busted out all the stuff I've got down on paper. Six notebooks plus a little journal book thing. The first journal starts Dec. 28, 2007. That's seventh grade! I have a continuous line of journal between that day and now. There are scattered days missing here and there, sure, but it's pretty epic.

Dec. 28, 2007. That's before I was diagnosed as diabetic! That's before I could grow facial hair. It's brilliant, just looking back and reading that stuff. I haven't looked at that first journal for years. I was a wee lad. It's funny to look and see the glimpses of me. It's just, wow, so cool! In seventh grade I wrote more about the nerd team than anything else. I talked about practice and whether or not I had studied, how our games went. Nothing major, each night's worth of writing was really only a paragraph for a long time, but it was cool. It's funny to look back and see how I got along with people I absolutely love now. Apparently the whole month of January I was mad at Jason. He was my classic opponent with nerds, and we did a fair amount of head-butting. It's just funny to see the seventh grade edition of me mad at somebody.

There are a lot of cool things that I remember from it though. Insights and whatnot. I wrote on the 24th of January (03) about a hymn I listened to that day and a certain line I loved. I sang that hymn a week or so ago and saw that line and remembered it, remembered why I loved it. I had forgotten it was in the journal, but just ran into it. Score it.

Seventh grade had some good times. Such innocent times. Me, Kyle, and James, squaring off for the ladies. So funny.

You know, I'm happy to have the journals. I don't look back and read them as often as I should, but it's a great feeling to know that they're there. I know that they're not the most secure form ever, notebooks don't hold up well in floods and fires, but what can you do? Maybe one day I'll start digitizing them all.

The point is, by taking a few minutes every day, I feel stronger. I've learned a lot from the journal experience. I've figured a lot of stuff out. I think it helped out on AP tests. Journaling is one of the better choices I've made.

I mean c'mon, a journal since I was 12?! Do you know how much I've changed since I was 12?! When I was 12 I wanted to be a programmer when I grew up! I learned VB and always aspired to learn Java and C++ but never did. So cool! I was the super nerd. Seventh grade was before I ever ran anything! That was before the first cross country!

It's cool to be able to look back and see me. It's so cool to know that it's me. I've been thinking this week a lot about the things that I've done that have brought me to the place that I'm at now. Working on the homecoming committee meant that I had to help out with the pageant. I got put back stage making things happen. Do you remember, that's what I did my whole ninth grade year? Engineering that year made me grow a lot, it gave me skills.

There have been a lot of great things all building up to make me who I am. I'm a cumulative effort here. It's so cool to see all the different things come together to influence the way I make choices.

I thought of an interesting question a few weeks ago. I wrote it down on a sticky-note because it made me feel good to think about it. I hadn't planned on it tonight, but I'm going to talk about it.

"When did I start being me?"

There are a lot of answers to that question for me. I know that I'm an eternal being, that I've been around a lot longer than this earth and that I'll be around forever. My soul has been me forever. I've seen a lot more days than I can remember.

The answers to that question depends on how you define me. If we define me as an eternal intelligence, then I've been here forever. If we define me as the guy with the body, I've been me for 17 years. If we define me as the person with the gifts and talents that I've been given, I've been me for about the same, roughly 17.

But what do we define me as? I've been me forever, but me is also changing every day. That's something that I love. When I think about me, I think about the person I am right now. I think about my attitudes and my beliefs, and I think about how I want to treat other people.

I feel very strongly that the me right now isn't that same me that was me during junior high. There are a lot of throwbacks, that's for sure, but I have grown. Physically I'm a stronger person. The height of my physical strength was junior cross country season, right after the summer. That was brilliant. I'm not that strong right now, but I know who I am. I think that I'm mentally stronger now than ever before, perhaps with the exception of right before junior year AP tests. Those were brilliant times.

I think that the biggest change in me has been one in beliefs and attitudes. Through the things that life has thrown at me I've had to make decisions about who I want to be and how I want to see other people.

If I were to define me, that's how I'd like to do it. Outside of the eternal identity, I'd like the next closest definition of me to be how I see the world and the great people in it. If there's one area of growth that I feel really happy about, it's that one.

It's odd to talk about "me" so much. It feels a little egotistical. But I don't intend it to be, I'm just exploring thoughts.

Life has thrown a lot of good passes to me. I've had a lot of great opportunities. It's amazing to look back on life and see all those great opportunities. It's been a long time since I've thought about them all. Junior high was a great time for me. I learned so much about everything. Nerd team was beautiful. I credit about half of the success I've seen in high school academics to the nerd team. Engineering was a very stressful job. It irritated me more than anything else in Junior High. And yet, it taught me amazing things. I learned to value stone cold dependability very highly. I learned a lot about hard work. I think more than anything I learned a lot about working with and managing a team. In junior high I learned to love running. I got a small taste of how it feels to win a race. I got a small idea of how beautiful running really is. It didn't come into fullness until high school. There's just a huge difference between running neighborhoods in junior high and running the park way in high school. But I learned to love running, and I made it a good habit. I learned to love people in junior high. I didn't understand a lot of them, and I had pretty confused ideas about people in general. But I learned how to love a few of them, and got a little bit better at showing that love. I believe that that was the beginning of who I am today. Without those important people teaching me the things that they taught, I don't think I would be the person I am today. I had to explore real questions and find real answers with those people. All the sudden everything that I'd always been told meant something. All the sudden I had to find out for myself. How can I help this person if I don't know it?

I can trace one of the best story-arcs of my life back to one decision. I have a lot of people to thank for that one decision. I wouldn't have ever known before that it would be so important. I had no idea, really. I thank my mom for instilling in me the value of doing things I said I'd do, even if I didn't really want to do it. I thank Courtney for being a great friend and having a party.

It's funny how that all works out. How the simple decisions that we make every day can take us places. It's a certainty that the choices we make affect the people we become. I don't feel like it's even an exclusively long-term thing. From the moment we being to make choices we begin to shape the people that we are. Since day one I've been changing. When I make good choices I change for the better.

I think there was a poster right outside the auditorium at Eisenhower that said something to the effect of, "I am the grand total of all my choices". I really like that. I believe it.

So what's the point of all this? Maybe it's just a good opportunity to look back at the way that life has been. More than that I think it's a chance to look back and appreciate the paths that brought me where I am today. There are a lot of good people that have helped me be who I am. There are so many friendly faces along the way. There is much love for my past.

I am so glad that I am where I am today. I really feel like I can't take responsibility for all the opportunities I've been given. I know that that's entirely against everything I've been preaching this whole post, but I feel like a very lucky man. Things have had a tendency to work out for me. Why did Andrew join the nerd team, and thereby inspire me to do it? Why did Sharpe ask me to be an engineer? Why'd Kyle and Tanya get me to run Cross Country? Why did my family instill the values that they instilled? How did I get so lucky, to meet the right people at the right times in my life?

I look back and see Junior High as the great forming grounds of my life. I have a lot of love for Eisenhower, the home that gave me the opportunities to grow. I have a lot of love for the people that helped me along the way. In whatever capacity, the great people who influenced my life. I feel so lucky.

I can't chalk all of it up to coincidence and good luck. If my life has a plan, I know there's someone up there who's very excited about all of this. There's a reason for the paths that I've taken. It has been my choice from day one, and the things that I've learned since day one are suddenly useful. There's a reason for the way we are. There's a reason for life.

I can't look at junior high and not see that. I just can't do it.

When did I start being me? I think I've been me since day one. Me has changed a lot. The me that I am today has got a lot to thank the me I was yesterday for.

We're building forever on tomorrows. Tomorrow's edition of me will have a lot to blame today's edition of me for. How his health is, how tired he is, the responsibilities he has. To a large extent the developed talents and knowledge as well.

Tomorrow I'm going to take everything I've learned from life and apply it to be the best person I can be.

The day after that, I'm gonna take everything plus tomorrow and see what I can make of myself.

And so we go on, forever and ever, upwards and upwards. It's been an amazing journey thus far. I am me for a reason.

2 comments:

Corky Marie said...

you're welcome. :D but honestly, thatcher, i have so much to thank you for. you don't even know. maybe i'll write a blog post on it...

Tsira said...

Dec 28 2007 is seventh grade? Haha... that hasn't even happened yet.