WHAT I HOPE I CAN SAY IN DECEMBER 2008:
I'm further along in school, and I'm happy with my progress with my degree. I got good grades in my classes for spring semester. I enjoyed talking to favorite professors about things that really matter to me. I didn't slack off at work, and I felt helpful around the Writing Center.
I finished my freakin' huge reading list! Also, I finally got around to listening to all those music albums that I could never find the time for. I got into rap and country to see what I like there. I also know (somewhat) what the new U2 material sounds like, since their tour won't start till next year. In addition, I finally finished a couple of screenplays, and got to work on The Dam at Otter Creek.
I've made great new friends. I feel closer to all of them, especially my best friends, and I feel like I'm as worthwhile in each of their lives as they are in mine. I finally made some kind of peace with the friend I lost in 2007.
I've volunteered at an old folk's home, the MTC, and other places where I feel like I helped out and learned more about love.
I'm content with my life. I don't complain as much anymore. I don't need any darkness to help me, because I've learned how to use the light inside of me. I kicked my lifetime bad habits, and picked up some good ones...and some "good" bad ones, too. I've made peace with my past. I have forgiven myself. I can look at myself in the mirror in the eye everyday, say "I love you" ...and for the first time in my life, I can actually mean it.
IF I DON'T GO ON A MISSION:
I'm happy with my choice, and I'm happy with my companion, whom I'm with every day. I make responsible choices about where I go from now on. Those who judge me for my past and my choices are people who I've reluctantly but peacefully cut out of my life. I can honestly say I've never felt so happy.
IF I GO ON A MISSION:
The call was quiet, almost sudden; nobody saw it coming. By the time most people found out, there wasn't much room for me to become one of those "repentant saint" spectacles fortunate enough to be the ward/neighborhood gossip. I can say with honesty that I didn't go to impress, spite, or amuse a single person. I didn't go out of religous dogmatic duty or reckless peer pressure. I went, simply and plainly, because I wanted to have a good time. And I am having a blast.
I don't want to say, "I finally found what I was looking for." I want to be able to say, "I'm content with the answers I have found, and I'll never stop looking for the truth." The year 2007 was the year seeds were planted, and a year of painful epiphanies. 2007 was paradise lost. This year, 2008, was the year of growth and harvest, and a year of second chances. There was more change, and 2008 wasn't paradise regained--it was paradise found. A lot of my important memories are in 2007...a lot of my best memories are in 2008.