We Meet Again

June 9th, 2016
Valdez and Kristen pretending to smile

Over the next couple of months, I’m going to be trying to participate in a summer arts challenge¬†by Lady Square Arts – the #30for90. This post is courtesy of number 14. “Here you are again, and so am I” – Maggie Nelson,¬†Bluets.

Today, I ran into an old college friend at lunch. We actually were quite close for a short period of time – I remember spending countless hours together one summer as we discovered our enjoyment of each other’s company. Was it all platonic? Maybe there was some flirting – but that’s all. Mostly, we just enjoyed being able to talk to someone with a similar sense of humor, a love of geekery and what our lives were at that moment.

Depending on the day, I might choose to think any number of things about this blast from the past. Today was a particularly bad day, so I found myself thinking, “Damn. I’m almost 40 and what do I have to show for my life?” I’m a mediocre web developer with a blog that I occasionally update and a few presentations under my belt. Oh, and a side hustle of trying to convince higher ed that mental illness is not a bad thing.

Wait, what? Let’s rewrite that, shall we? I’m a web developer – mediocre, maybe, but damn, what web developer isn’t? I mean, seriously – how can you possibly stay on top of, in front of, or even at pace with every single trend out there? I build some damn impressive sites, and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Five years ago, I barely understood what CSS stood for – and now I build entire sites.

I have a blog that has been read nationally – dare I say, internationally? And containing content on which I’ve presented both regionally and nationally. AND that helped me provide consulting regionally for a period of time. Lest I forget, I CHOSE to not continue consulting because frankly, I just didn’t enjoy it that much.

And I once told a large room full of people – around 400 to be not-quite-exact – that I once considered suicide…and lived to talk about it. I received a standing ovation for that – the first that night during a series of similar talks. And I’ve gone on to work with my colleagues to develop a series and now a website specifically addressing mental illness in higher education professionals.

You know what? Suck it, college-me. You don’t hold a candle to almost-40-year-old-me. I’ve done some pretty fabulous things with my life, and the future is only looking up from here. So maybe you were here for a few minutes today, but I, I am so much more than that. More importantly, I’m going to continue to grow and be much more than I am now.

Just wait and see.