three and twenty

You wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve sat down to write something here. How many ways I’ve begun. How many angles from which I’ve lined up the shot, only to decide the lighting wasn’t ideal, the exposure too great, the lens too scratched. Or, perhaps, you would believe, because you know: sometimes things happen in our lives we don’t know how to articulate. At such times you make a choice: fret about the words you’ll never find, or give up on keeping chronicles and let yourself get caught up in the moment.

I opted for the latter. Boston was a whirlwind which, having whisked me away for awhile, flung me homeward headlong.

First, what didn’t happen: I wasn’t fired. I didn’t quit. I didn’t hate my job. I didn’t chicken out, and I didn’t lie. Those seeing a homebound Bogert needn’t add another tally (for, of course, you’re keeping track) on the list headed “Adam’s Failures.”

Now, what is happening: I’m studying for GRE (as soon as my review book arrives from Amazon tomorrow; that is, my second review book, because ironically the guy who moved home to focus on test preparation managed to leave his test prep materials in Upton). I’m scouring vast repositories of information in search of a graduate program that will mold me into what I finally, firmly, determined I need to become: a professor.

Lastly, what will happen: I’ll continue to do a small amount of remote work for ten24 under title of independent contractor (because, hey, we liked each other). I’ll take the GRE in early October, and give my professors a heads-up that I’m hoping they’ll recommend me. I’ll see if substitute teaching is a viable option now that I’ve had my fingerprints taken and sent off to OSPRA. But mostly, I’ll write.

Because push has come to shove, and I can’t stand that I spent a year not doing what I expressly believe I was born for. I was created with a distinct proclivity for criticism and curiosity, a need to understand “why” and an inability to simply accept “because” in reply. Where I find answers, I feel drawn to pass them on to others, a trait tedious in conversation but perfect for written discourse. What I lack in generation of ideas I make up for as one heck of a conduit.

Don’t mistake that for pride. At least, not arrogance. Read instead a watch recognizing it was made to tell time, and to tell time better than a compass or a sextant; a tool embracing its purpose.

There is, I’m coming to appreciate, a difference between self-love and selfishness. I’ve exhibited little of the former and much of the latter, and it’s long past time for that pendulum to swing the other way. We are called to love others as ourselves; ergo, to love others more I must also learn to accept who I am and embrace it. That doesn’t mean ignoring faults or flaws, but it does mean zooming out and refocusing on the bigger picture.

In that picture there are three loves: Christ, Geekhood, and Arguing. I know that last one doesn’t really seem like a passion proper, but there it is: I like to be right, and to know why I’m right, and I am driven to establish rightness wherever I see a wrong. Like the metric in last year’s Catherine, I tend to view life as a spectrum between chaos and order, and I’m pushing ever on towards the latter.

I’ve never struggled with not arguing enough (your eyes rolling yet?), but the other two passions seem to ebb and flow a bit too much, so henceforth (hear me, hold me to it) I plan to be extremely intentional about “plugging in” to both.

That’s where you, faithful reader, may have a role in all this, because as it stands I’m pretty much coming from a clean slate insomuch as news, articles, podcasts, and communities (for gaming, anime, devotionals, sermons, etc.) go. If you have favorites, pass them along. If you want to start a dialogue, let’s talk. If you want to set up a game night, let’s play. If you want to organize a Bible study, let’s plan.

Meanwhile, as I begin to write, and as I consider undertaking some sort of professional endeavor, I have become acutely aware of my dependence on friends and family for publicity. Not that I expect you to take to the streets over this blog, but perhaps someday in a month, or three, I will have something I do need shared, at which point it shouldn’t be a chore or burden, but mere reciprocity between friends.

I’m blessed with an extremely talented, creative group of friends. Some write, some preach, some sing, some play, some record. Many do all of the above. And each, carving a niche in the web, relies heavily on people like me to feed and water the seeds they’ve planted, to bounce ideas off of, to reap and sow encouragement. Remember that selfishness I mentioned earlier? That’s me expecting y’all to celebrate my work while I ignore yours.

So that’s going to stop too. Right here.

See that, back there? It stopped.

I’m going to be intentional about investing in the lives and passions of my friends. And if you count yourself among that group, and you have some project you think I should check out? Consider these ears officially opened.

This post is long and rambling and I’m going to draw it to a close in a moment. After saying nothing about turning 23 and embarking on a new year, I felt like a progress report was necessary. But that’s all this is: a report of work in progress, to which I’m merely adding a few to-dos. Other goals are coming along swimmingly. I’ve been consistently in the Word for three weeks. I’ve lost about 15 pounds.

And autumn, my favorite time of year, is already rustling through these New England trees, bursting with promise.

15 Days, Day 4

This is part of a writing exercise dictated by this list. It may benefit you to read it if you seek to know me (or merely someone) better; it may benefit me in the selfsame way. And if knowledge of others is your goal, seek out Anna, whose list prompted mine, and Kimi, whom Anna credits for said list.

Day 4
One passion in your life?

Quite a ways into writing this, I suddenly decided I really love autumn, and that I would finish my brief thoughts and go ahead and write about that. I liked what I’d written, and thought maybe others would too (since, after all, if you’re reading this it’s because you want insight into who I am) so I’d post it below my thoughts on autumn, and that’d be that. But then, as I continued to work out my thoughts on passion and its role in my life, I realized that what I was writing was more important than any pontifications about cool air and colored leaves and pumpkin pie could be. So a passion in my life is New England autumn. The rest follows:

Part of the reason that I had to call it (temporary) quits on this 15-day task was a seeming inability to respond to this question. As one who tends to be over-passionate in all things, nailing down a specific passion has proved fairly difficult for me. I feel a bit like a fruit-of-the-month club member who’s trying to answer the question in a more precise way than “fruit;” or at least figure out how to talk about “fruit” in an interesting and unique way. (No, I’m not passionate about fruit).

At any given time, my passion may be gaming, or cinema, or theatre, or photography, or writing, or vampires (no, but seriously), or politics, or…well, you get the point. And I don’t mean to list hobbies, or general areas of interest; I go through seasons of extraordinary obsession, ravaging the flavor of the month in a way that cannot possibly interest most people. For example, I went through a pretty strong Kingdom Hearts phase a few months back, which led to buying a game, reading about lore, catching up on news, following a half-dozen tumblogs, changing my twitter avatar, etc. In the moment, I was frighteningly fanboyish about it.

And then one day, all of a sudden, it was something else, and I unfollowed the blogs and changed my picture and stopped playing the game halfway through. It was as simple as that. The passion which had driven me for three or four weeks just up and vanished. But it’ll be back, I’m sure, because this is the fourth (or was it fifth?) time that that passion has taken me by storm.

There are few constants (true constants) in my life which can be talked about in a non-abstract way. I’ve pretty much been a writer since I was 9 years old, but I don’t get off on sentence diagrams or crave sonnets or revel in bookstores and cafes quite as much as I’ve always felt I was supposed to. In fact, I’ve spent precious little time in libraries since junior high, and am only now (in post-graduation haze) rediscovering a love for what got me writing in the first place.

Alternatively there’s the Jesus route, but while I’ve been quite a theologian for the past few years my actual faith and knowledge of scripture has floundered (again, things are changing). I don’t have a there-and-back testimony; there’s no before and after. I’ve called myself a Christian ever since I had self-awareness (or at least ever since Mr. Sauder handed me a New Testament and told me that going up to the altar every single time there was a call for rededication was just plain unnecessary), and though there have been crises of faithfulness there has never been a true crisis of faith. God has not so much saved me as He is saving me, and though sometimes I forget to tremble with fear I am still working out my salvation.

Here’s the thing: I’m bad at my passions. I love Christ but go long stretches without serious prayer or devotional. I love gaming but haven’t gamed in weeks. I love writing but struggle with actually, well, writing. I love theatre but I have no plans on seeing a play anytime soon. If this 15 Day Challenge is useful, perhaps it’s because of epiphanies like this: seeing that I don’t embrace life (or facets of it) with the fervor that I ought to, that others do. I have impetus to change, to define myself more fully, to be a more consistent and faithful believer, writer, gamer, photographer, human being.

So that’s not bad at all, is it?