So back on my 32nd birthday (32, by the way is 2 raised to the 5. Which is kind of kewl because most people are never going to reach the next number raised to the fifth, so it's really the only time in your life when you'll be anything to the fifth. but I digress) I posted the negativity avoidant 4 minute version of my first 16 years. So my lovely sister Rachel asked "when do we get the next 16 years?" I'd been planning to do them on my half birthday, may 6, which passed a little over a month ago. Here they are at last.
My second 16 years, the 4 minute version
So when I was 16 years old I was home schooling for high school, and had a pretty mellow schedule. I finished all my high school maths by the end of 10th grade and then had to slog through all the other subjects with no more maths to look forward to. Alas. I was done with 11th grade when I was sixteen, and then I mostly goofed off for a whole year so that I didn't graduate until I was 18. I got lots and lots of boomph from tons of universities all over the nation because of my rather high college placement exam scores, and then I foolishly decided to go off to the $30,000/year Seattle Pacifica University, where I entered the honors program and suddenly found myself surrounded by other people who were as smart as I was, a very unusual experience for me.
So at 19 I was working 40 hours a week at domino's pizza, going to school full time, and commuting 100 round trip miles a day between my parent's house and university (staying on campus would have bumped up the cost to over $40,000/year.). Plus I believed back then that it was a really really bad idea to go into debt for education, so I wouldn't take any loans. All this led to a running out of money, motivation, and energy at about the same time and I dropped out of school.
I worked a series of dead end jobs for a number of years, kind of ... drifting. I was also gradually working my way into rather a lot of trouble, which I didn't realize at the time. I was also increasingly involved in the sect I had been involved in since the age of 12. I helped us transition from hymnals to overhead projection of song lyrics. I had a little voice training from my pastor's wife (who has a music degree) and her daughter (who is quite the vocalist, actually), and I picked up a guitar somewhere and taught myself to play.
I had a terrible awful crush on a girl for the first time, and I never told her--just tried to avoid it somehow. I wrote a few songs. I learned to square dance, and my lovely sister and I used to go to square dances with some other friends. My sister and I became pretty good friends. I became the go-between for my parents and my sister when they couldn't seem to communicate. Everyone thought I was really.... "godly" and maybe even "mature". I got really really good at pretending--two faced--one face for my church friends and family, and one rather lonely and evil face. I both hated myself and thought I was better than other people, all at the same time.
I got involved in political campaigns for right wing republican candidates. I memorized the whole book of proverbs, in the king james translation. I went on fishing trips and hunting trips with guy friends. I learned to speak in public, doing 3 minutes on world missions every Sunday morning at the sect.
I went off on a two year missions trip on MV LOGOS II, and learned to keep watch over big generators and enormous main engines. Every Wednesday morning I cleaned out the sewage filters and Mateus told me that’s what Jesus would do. I visited some 20 countries and met and befriended people from more than 30, and lost my tiny little sectarian worldview without even realizing it, and when I got back I didn’t fit in anymore.
I met and fell in love with a beautiful Australian girl and we wed on a beach in Australia. I got 4 new brothers and 4 new sisters.
I found out that my granddad is a pedophile. I worked as an auto mechanic for 4 years. We had two beautiful daughters. I got into recovery. I got sick of being hurt by churches and stopped going. I integrated my two faces. I became real. I found my no. I started to find my yes. I stopped being a Christian. I went back to university. I came to understand the fundamental theorem of calculus. I started learning how to be otherly. I started blogging. I started listening to people. I started to get over being afraid. I started to move toward being happy.
Names from second 16 years (I could tell stories about all of them). Matt and Karen, and John Z and John Sheunemann, and Peter, and Rachel and Tom and Sam and Seren, and David and Gretta and Meg and Eowyn and Coco and Chad and Shawn and the Thomases and Brandie and James and Stephen and Mike and Tom and Bill and Wendy and Doug and Robin and Dennis and Judy and Danica and Joe and Simon F. and Myles and John Ramey and Simon and Eva and Dirk Jan and Jason and Kathy and Kat and Buddy and Bruce and Ellen and Val and Tiffany and Jake and Andrew and Sammie and Mateus and Andy Juliff and Andy Kiwi and Dileep and Cliff and Tracy Lai and Estafania and Tom and Alex and oh golly I could just go on and on and on but I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by all the story.