Yesterday was my birthday. I turned 21.

Now that the insanity resulting from that is winding down, it’s time to go back to a sort of… personal tradition that I’ve slowly  been taking up the last few years. You see, if life is a journey and I’m actually making progress on that journey, then each year ought to be a milestone.

So, around this point, I always like to remind myself where I’ve been and where I’m going. I want to see if I’ve actually done the things I set out to do. Since this is my first time really telling the world about this, I’m going to get very personal for a minute and make my way backwards into the past, then share my vision for this year.

20: Strength. The year that’s just ended. It’s so close I can hardly see it clearly. When it started I was just out of a devastating break-up, and that consumed me for some time. I’d go to work, head to class, eat, sleep, repeat. I had the original version of The Third Face out at the time, but it disgusted me. It was the work of a man who’d given himself up for a girl. So, I started over, and created what I have today. In the meantime, I learned how to be more confident and see myself for what I really am: a creator of great things.

19: Her. I don’t want to say her name, because she ended up hurting me almost permanently.  But at the time… I was happy. I met her at summer camp and we knew each other for nearly that entire year before finally breaking things off. Even though I still kind of hate her for the way it all went, I’m still glad we met. I learned so many things about myself by being with her. Really, she was my first love.

18: Pride. My senior year of high school was a lot of things. It was that year where I could turn my friends into a pack of fighting hellhounds just by teasing them with french fries. It was the year one of the groups in my Info Tech class called themselves Team Phil after me (and I wasn’t even in it). And it was the year that, over the most petty thing, I got into a fistfight with my own friend. To this day we know and respect each other better after that.

17: Black. Somewhere in the midst of my junior year I found out that my best friend wasn’t just refusing to talk to me. He was in the crazy hospital. That revelation… was probably one of the biggest shocks I’ve ever had in my life. I didn’t understand. He’s never been a bad kid. I know him. He has honor. He’s tougher than me. Why wasn’t he there? A world without my best friend meant nothing to me. So I did things every day to remind myself of him. Black clothes. Black gloves. Sunglasses. MP3 player blasting heavy metal in my ears. Cutting off the world. My sworn brother needed to come back… and it was a long time before he finally did.

I don’t see the point in going back any further than that. Nothing before that point is really memorable to me, even on the rare occasion that I do reflect that much on the past. Most of the time, I’m looking on to the future, so that’s the part I want to leave you with.

21: Freedom. And no, I don’t just mean that in the sense of being free to drink alcohol (though that is admittedly one small part of it). I’m talking about the freedom to do what I want with my life. One of the worst classes I’ve ever had to take is now finally over with, taking a great burden off from me and my free time. Romantically, I managed to pull myself away from a cycle of going after girls that aren’t going to be good for me–I’m willing to live without them completely for a while.

Most importantly, though, I’ve freed myself from this limiting idea that my writing has to be the only career that I’ll ever pursue. If you know me you can probably guess what that entails, but I’ll go into it in another post.

Do you know where you stand on the road of life?


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