The idea of going to my 10 year high school reunion seems foreign to me. While I’m excited to see where friends and classmates have gone since graduation, the idea that we’ve been out of high school for 10 years eclipses all that excitement.
As I chatted with my wife in bed last night, I wondered how I could summarize my last 10 years in 1 minute. What have been the biggest joys, changes, achievements, and surprises that took me from where I was to where I am now? If I had to list 10 items for the 10 years, these would be the 8 (because I can’t think of 10 =P) in chronological order:
Learning to Ballroom Dance
Social ballroom dancing gave me new confidence in life. I’m still a fairly shy person (working on it, see #8) but through dance, I built up my self-confidence and made life-friends. I’m thankful a female friend recommended ballroom dancing to me when I started at Oregon State University. I’ve grown much as a person through dance and from the people I’ve danced with.
I joined a dance performance group my last year in college which helped me with stage fright, then competed regionally in west coast swing to meet even more friends from all around, and now I’m serving on a board of directors for the Portland Swing Dance Club.
Working at a Fish Cannery in Alaska for a Summer
My foreman told me that I would become a man after a summer working in Alaska. In many ways, he was right. It was the first time I was truly alone. My friends and family were far away and I was left to fend for myself. I made a lot of mistakes out there (e.g. crashing a dump truck into a building) but I learned valuable lessons on work ethics, the value of a dollar, trusting my instincts, and perseverance.
I came home with a greater appreciation for family and friends. I also came back with a renewed tenacity for higher education, something most of the workers in Alaska were not as fortunate to have had.
Buying a Digital Camera
I had a passion for photography when I worked on my high school yearbook staff. But the passion was expensive with film cameras so I never went very far. When digital photography was in its infancy, I purchased my first digital camera with 1.3 megapixel resolution with the majority of my summer earnings working at a warehouse. I used that camera extensively to capture much of my college memories. Five years later, I purchased a digital SLR, the original Canon Digital Rebel, and my world of photography has expanded leaps and bounds since.
Building a Web Yearbook for My Dorm Floor Friends
Working on web pages was a fascinating hobby for me during college. I first started working with web my senior year in high school when I built a web yearbook for my high school senior class. After that experience, I continued to dabble with web design. For my third year in college, I lived on a floor with a great group of people who were like family to me. They were very clever in pranks and activities, so we often took pictures of our adventures, and I put together a web yearbook to chronicle our year together. The project gave me great experience in developing a project with others and I learned much about web development.
Getting a Job at Vernier Software & Technology as a Webmaster
A year and a half after I graduated from Oregon State, and six dance conventions later, I was down to the last $30 to my name. I was fortunate to have graduated debt-free and $6000 in the bank so I danced, danced, and danced for a full year before taking a job to do tech support for a major graphic software company. I took the job because I needed to, but two weeks into the three-week training course, I was offered a job at Vernier and I took it immediately. I had been searching for a job in web development and Vernier fit the bill. It has been the biggest blessing working at Vernier. I believe in the company, in its products and philosophy, and I’m surrounded by hard-working people. It’s not a surprise that it’s one of the top 15 companies to work for in Portland.
Accepting Jesus as Lord and Savior
After several failed relationships and friendship fallouts, I wondered if someone out there had written a manual on how to relate to people and how to live life. In my year of unemployment, I spent a lot of time thinking and observing people’s lives. Through dancing, I met three young gals who had a joy in their life that attracted me to them. As I befriended them, I learned about Christianity. I had reservations of their beliefs, but most of it was misconceptions and bad impressions of people who claimed to be Christians. As I saw God work in their lives, I found the life Christ wanted for all people; the life I wanted to strive for. Someone had written a manual on how to live life abudundantly after all; no one better than the Creator Himself. And His advice on how to relate to people is something I had felt all along: to love others as you love yourself. Who is God and is He real?
Jennilyn is one of the three gals I befriended through dance (you did read #6, right?). It all started with a dance. A not-so-good dance actually. The first time I danced with Jennilyn was for a local competition. It was the first time I’ve known that she didn’t place in the top three because she danced with me. On the bright side, that dance gave me a foot in the door to ask for a future dances. On one magical evening, we shared some spectacular dances, and at the end of them all, I dipped her, looked into her eyes, and never felt the same about her again.
Over the course of the next seven months after that providencial dance, we developed a strong friendship that grew to a committed relationship. Now, married 653 days to this blog post date, we’re still growing a deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus and each other.
Jennilyn brings so much to my life that I need a blog to write it all down ;P
Serving as the Portland Swing Dance Club President
Having been blessed by dance (friends, self-confidence, health, and a beloved wife), Jennilyn and I joined the Portland Swing Dance Club Board of Directors. I became the club’s fourth president and am currently progressing with my second term in that office. I’ve gotten a bigger perspective on how to lead, work with people, and connect with fellow dancers through service. The best quirk about #8 is now I can tell some of my high school friends that I did go on and become a president =)
Unless I speak at the rate of an auctioneer, there’s no way I can get through all 8 of those in a minute. And that’s a good thing. It has been a great 10 years. So, how’s your 10 been?