Well I’m about to cheat my usual pattern and combine my end-of-the-year post with a little triage about getting older. If, for some reason, you came across this blog of mine through some other means than my Facebook page, it is worth mentioning that I am celebrating my 28th birthday today. And by celebrating I mean I went to work and watched soccer and ate dinner at my parents, which is basically the same thing I have done for the past couple years. Honestly, I never really cared much for a large celebration or party. This sentiment goes back to my position on socializing (refer to An Introspective Reflection and A Retrospective Inflection, as well as this post here, which might be helpful in understanding some of the topics to follow). However, in my ever waning efforts to provide some sort of progress in my writing frequency, and in honor of my double-down birthday (is that even a term? double golden sounded kinda lame), I shall list off fourteen things I have learned over the past year about myself.
#1 I’m getting old- Now I say this somewhat facetiously, as technically at 28 I have probably 2/3’s of my life still ahead of me but I’m really referring to the slow and sure loss of youthfulness. This is visually evident in my gradual loss of hair in sectors 3.8-4.2 (Men in Blazers nod). However I notice more often there are times were I just have no energy, despite wishing to be active or involved. I also notice more minor injuries and ailments, such as pulled muscles and headaches, things I would have never worried about 5 years ago. These signs of aging have prompted me to really consider what I want in my future, as being young forever does not feel like an option anymore.
#2 I’m still not a socialite- But believe me, there were times I really, really wanted to try. I made efforts to get more involved in my church, serving in the children’s ministry and on the setup crew. I joined a new small group and maintained a steady attendance in my young adults group. Yet I still never really became a social person. Even attempting to put serious effort into my dating life over the summer and continuing until now has not really changed me much. I’m still just as happy to stay home and relax on the couch or at my computer. And I’m not entirely sure if this is because people are just too complicated sometimes or I just get bored with how bland the average social interaction really is.
#3 I’m 99.95% sure I’m not a INTJ anymore- That is, assuming I ever was one in the first place. However, it does seem entirely likely that an arbitrary measuring system for personalities such as the MBTI is not one of definitive certainty. I may have been the cookie cutter INTJ at one point, but in all honesty I cannot help to think I’ve always been an INTP, with some very strong J tendencies, especially in realms of life I place more importance on. But across the board I am too casual and spontaneous to truly believe myself a true INTJ. There is also an argument to be made for being an intellectual ISTP, but I feel like I am more driven by competition than I am by wanting to be physically active.
#4 I’m kinda burnt out on weddings and engagements- Now don’t get me wrong, I’m still very happy for my friends and family that get engaged and then married, marriage is a good thing and even a Godly thing. But these sorts of events require time, energy, and resources, all things I have other uses for. Not to mention the general large crowd of people I vaguely know and have little interest in interacting with. Most of them I will rarely interact with outside of this event, so why should I waste my energy trying now? Of course this is an entirely anti-social outlook, but one I have readily embraced as part of my particular brand of introversion. However, it does now stand to reason that I may be falling behind the ball on the whole marriage thing, despite my better efforts, which I shall talk about next…
#5 I’m really, really bad at dating- Once again, let me clarify. My problem is not getting dates, or even always having bad ones, but rather I have a hard time surviving the initial dating period on route to a sustainable relationship. And I know this isn’t due to me necessarily being a hard person to interact with, I can be very conversational and strive to be a gentleman on every date. Yet I also have a difficult time making sure I am eye-to-eye with the person I am dating on the purpose and direction, and any attempt to solidify these topics usually comes across as heavy handed and all too serious. This lack of suavity in my speech when it comes to emotional topics is a side-effect of my position as an INTP, as emotions are rarely my first influence behind my thoughts or deeds. I want to know people at a deep and personal level, and unfortunately, most people in today’s dating culture are not expecting this level of intensity. Maybe my problem is that I have a tendency to flip the traditional pattern of relationships on its head, by seeking a deep connection up front and then spending lots of time together instead of vice versa. Small talk is fine and all, but it lacks substance, and substance is what I genuinely crave.
#6 I’m a very emotional person- I just don’t wear my emotions on my sleeve like the stereotypical emotional person. Rather my emotions are a deep, dark pool within, constantly boiling in fear and rage, sadness and joy, passion and apathy. Just because I choose not to display my emotions to everyone around me does not make me less emotional, I just prefer to keep my emotions hidden from all but a select few I intimately trust.
#7 I’m hooked on podcasts- Seriously, these things are crack in audio form. With an insane wealth of variety and knowledge available in the pod-verse, it is often hard for me to limit myself on what I decide to subscribe to. I do manage to keep in to a “small” list of a couple dozen I listen to regularly, ranging from trivia to history to comedy to culture to theology. The things I have learned from podcasts alone over the past year is perhaps more relevant than anything else I have learned since completing my undergrad.
#8 I’m still really “good” at procrastinating- Something about waiting until the last minute (or hour, or day) supercharges my creative juices and I can just crank out assignments and papers. Now I will admit this strategy does not really work well for testing, as I learned when taking my insurance tests a few years ago. And it might not always produce stellar marks, but rarely do I receive a grade woefully below expectation. My level of intelligence is still above average (if not higher than most) and therefore I have been blessed with success when I put in the work, albeit last minute.
#9 I’m still absolutely in love with soccer- If there is anything that has persisted about my character since childhood, it is my love of sports, but soccer primarily. I relish watching the game at all levels, and have even gone so far as to obtain my referee license and will continue to maintain it for years to come. I also have coached at the middle school level for three years, and while it is uncertain whether I will be able to do so next fall due to student teaching, I hope to continue to coach at the advanced levels for years to come. I also was able to play in a couple leagues again this year, and boy did I love it! I might not be in the shape I was in high school, but I still read the game as well as anyone. However, my love for soccer has it’s dark side. I will intentionally turn down or reject other obligations just to do a soccer-related activity. This has always had a negative effect on my spiritual life, usually in the lack of steady attendance at my church. And it’s not that I don’t like my church, far from it, I am absolutely overjoyed to be a part of this church and its community, but rather attending a church service is yet one in a long list of social outings that I struggle to put much emphasis on…
#10 I’m slowly becoming Reformed theologically- Now some of you might be shocked by this, believe me, looking back on this past year, I was not really expecting something like this to happen. If you had asked me at the start of the year what the biggest changes in my life would be, theologically would not have been high on my list. But this journey is largely in part to the Reformed Pubcast, which I started listening to around the beginning of this year, maybe late in the year past. What initially hooked me were the five solae: sola fide (by faith alone), sola gratia (by grace alone), solus christus (through Christ alone), sola scriptura (by Scripture alone), soli deo gloria (glory to God alone). I have even considered getting the five solae tattooed on my body at some point in the near future. Interestingly enough, many of you may remember I have been signing off each post with S.D.G. for some years now, perhaps this was the very beginning of my journey into Reformed Theology. Basically, to put these five solae into a statement about the nature of my salvation I would say this: I have been saved by grace (alone) through faith (alone) for God’s glory (alone) through Christ (alone) under the authority of Scripture (alone). A statement as simple as this has not only given me assurance of my salvation but has molded the shaping of my view of God’s sovereign and perfect will. However I still struggle with calling myself a full-blown Calvinist, as I am relatively new to this. To wrap my head around every logical argument will take time, but at the very least, I would consider myself Reformed and believe in a sovereign God who choose me to be one of his children.
#11 I’m still really bad at not spending money- However, I am very happy to be “debt” free (I say this because I am still racking up student loans). I have no credit card debt, I have paid for my vehicle fully, and I now have a nice cushion of emergency savings. However my outlook on finances have always been a rather relaxed one. To say I have always trusted God to provide for my needs financially might be putting it rather casually, but simply I do not worry about having riches and wealth. My aim is to have enough to provide a comfortable live for me and mine, and the rest is to use on others. To say I enjoy being generous is putting it bluntly, because I don’t simply give away my money and possessions, but rather I enjoy not having to worry about how much I am spending to do things with friends and family. My budgeting habits are loose, but at the same time I know when to pull the proverbial plug. To be honest, my greatest weakness when it comes to spending is games. I estimate about 5% of my income is spent on new games or gaming transactions annually. This may shock many people, but when your expenses are only for one person, you have a significant amount of “fun” money. Not saying it’s something to be proud of, I’m just being honest with everyone.
#12 I’m looking forward to becoming a teacher- As some of you are aware, I began a certification program to obtain my Secondary Education license in Historical Perspectives at the end of this past summer. This is something I have been looking forward to doing for a few years and after several mishaps along the way I have now begun this transition in my life. I still enjoy working with teenagers, despite the frequent reminders of how much of a nuisance they can be sometimes. Honestly I have found I have a harder time working with younger kids, probably due to the uncorraled amounts of energy they seem to possess while lacking an ounce of rational thought. It is the desire to share my passion for history with others that has led me to this field and this passion propels me to pursue success in my studies to become a full-licensed teacher. My only fear is that I will have to leave my comfort zone here, near family and friends, to get the teaching position I desire.
#13 I’m kinda over Facebook- I have recently come to the realization that besides a few groups/pages I follow and the handiness of FB Messenger to contact people I otherwise couldn’t, I have no reason to use Facebook. It does serve as a handy platform to obtain information and link articles of interest (like this blog, when I actually write posts) but beyond that Facebook has turned into a cesspool of bad tempers, faulty opinions, political rants, and social failure. Were it less than convenient to have Facebook, I would probably go so far as to delete my profile. I’ve slowly come to realize nothing good happens on Facebook, especially after 2 am.
#14 I’m still a huge nerd/geek- Let’s be honest fellow nerds and geeks, we’re being spoiled right now. The acceptance of our culture has become more and more mainstream and hip. Heck there’s a new Star Wars movie coming out this week! The abundance of superhero, futuristic, and fantasy television shows is just another indication of our gradual takeover of popular culture. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is in full-swing and popular sci-fi series from the 80’s and 90’s are making resurgences. And one of my favorite authors (Orson Scott Card) is finishing up his latest series and, as always, it’s stellar. And I cannot wait to see how much better things will get in the future.
So there you have it, fourteen on the fourteenth for my twenty-eighth. Not a bad total, if I do say so myself. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a blessed New Year to all y’all!