These three words seem to sum up all of my experience in 2008.
Every year, around this time, I ponder my mistakes, regrets, grudges still held and fleeting moments of enlightenment.
I usually send out an email in lieu of a picture of myself, alone, inserted into a classic "Holiday" card. The one year I did that it costs me nearly $50 so I vowed not to do it again until I am married - so at least I have someone else to talk about and be in the picture with.
This year I will still email - but due to the downfall of the economy, I am merely attaching this post on my blog to people I love and care about. (I know, lucky them)
As it is with tradition I will run through this year's past events and milestones - some of them you may not have heard of yet - so it's like a gift.
A new year, last semester of school and I just ended my internship with the GA Secretary of State - I was looking for a smooth 11 weeks towards degree completion. I went back to work for The Art Institute of Atlanta, where I was attending, in the Accounting Office. I continued to record my piano music with friend, Phil Hall. I applied for the lucrative MTV Networks Summer Associate Program but was later told I was not qualified or acceptable - ouch! I said good-bye to Jennifer - my girlfriend - as she went back to Columbus, GA to prepare to leave for the MTC. President Gordon B Hinckley died - I still miss him.
Jennifer left to the MTC. Another Single's Awareness Day (Valentine's Day) goes by me. I bought a new laptop - my first! LEAP YEAR! (really, I don't know why that's exciting for me)
My 10th anniversary of March 1st - I can't believe how fast times go by. Joined forces with the Clark Howard team to help Habitat for Humanity finish 5 houses in one day. I finished my BA Advertising degree from The Art Institute of Atlanta. Within a week afterward found out I was accepted into Milano The New School for Management & Urban Policy in New York City. I would be pursuing a Master's of Science in Nonprofit Management degree. I moved in with Jacob Terry - great guy!
General Conference - first solemn assembly I remember viewing - but I was sad because I could not be counted. (I am hoping I will be able to next time) Started a PT job at The Fresh Market in the bakery - remember the posts earlier this year? I brought my family history out of the dust and tried to get some work put together - thanks to Jeff Babcock. I broke my silence once again and wrote an essay to North Star - a website for LDS people dealing or wishing to help those who struggle with same-sex attraction. Nate Mortensen, Geoff Davies and I journey to the Jacksonville, FLO-RIDA to chill with Lt. Cliff May before he departs to Japan for his military duties flying helicopters
Jennifer completes her stay at the MTC and leaves for Mongolia to begin the end of her mission. My brother Steven gets engaged to girlfriend Katie. I officially accepted my acceptance into graduate school - which was terrifying. I started working for friend, Mindy Spritz, at the Spruill Center for the Arts. I opened up to my friend at church, Clint, about struggling with same-sex attraction - we become better friends because, well, we share the struggle and he's awesome! I start my new blog - duh - THIS ONE!
I walked across the stage of the the Georgia World Congress Center and graduated - just after they cleaned it up from a tornado that rushed through downtown Atlanta. I attended Journey Into Manhood - it was quite an experience. I am finding out a lot about myself - the way I treat myself and how far I have come in this journey called life.
My 29th Birthday! I found out I could help produce/have children someday despite being HIV positive - I was shocked! Friends said temporary good-byes to Cliff & Jill May as they left the US to live in Japan for three years. (I am planning to go to Japan next summer) Spruill Summer Camp ends - it was so fun and such a great experience. I stopped working at The Fresh Market as well.
My grandmother Carole's health is still declining but she turns 81. My mother turns 60 despite struggling with AIDS for over 15 years. Amazing 2008 Beijing Olympics takes place - Michael Phelps wins eight gold medals and I saw it happen. My awesome friends join me in my farewell to Atlanta party that was just too wonderful - words can not express. I played one last song for the North Point Ward sacrament meeting, "Because I Follow Thee" - parting is such sweet sorrow - I really do miss my Atlanta friends - I feel I have taken them all for granted. I moved to New York City (Brooklyn) with acquaintance Martin Harwood and within a few days I lost my new phone and pair of Rx glasses in a cab. Welcome to New York City!
Ty Mansfield comes to NYC and a few of us enjoy Long Beach on Long Island on Labor Day - a day full of riptides and lifeguards! Classes start - I must be so used to art school that I forgot to bring a notebook and pen to class - too funny - I felt real stupid. Within a month of living in NYC - I get mugged on a Sunday night but am not hurt - my new laptop and passport are taken from me, sadness. Again, welcome to New York City!
Martin & Mim get married and I move out to a temporary apartment in Manhattan while my permanent place gets renovated. General Conference felt different, but sweet. Visited Atlanta for a week to get some of my belongings. Enjoyed a day with friends at an Apple Festival and Pumpkin Patch. My doctor tells me it's time to start medicinal treatment and I finally have to face the fact that I am not invincible.
Finally moved into my NEW semi-permanent apartment on Madison Avenue. Senator Barack Obama elected first black US President! (I voted as a New Yorker!) Watched the NYC Marathon from my livingroom - love my Central Park/5th Avenue view. Special Stake Conference with a visit from Elder Jeffrey R. Holland - awesome! Thanksgiving Day celebration with Seth Hill - "Enchantment Under the Leaves" - what a great time. Held a special World AIDS Day fast - over 40 people joined me.
Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin dies - another spiritual giant gone. Completed first semester of graduate school - somewhat unscathed. Looking forward to my first NYC Christmas and New Year's Eve celebration, (though without family) while starting medicinal treatment this week despite doubts and fears.
I guess that's all - it still amazes me that so much fits into one year. Here's to the new year 2009 which will, undoubtedly, bring with it opportunities and challenges to face and learn from and maybe a few revelations along the way.
I love all of my friends and family wherever you are and hope and pray that each of you continues to celebrate the life you have with those you cherish so deeply. I hope that as we tread forward into the dawning of a new era - we can all face the opportunities and challenges we are given without forgetting to remember He who walks with and watches over us has provided a way to that eternal joy we all seek.
love always, your friend and brother Jey
You have been caught Jey Walking (like an Egyptian!)