Essay

31 in Review, Onward and Upward to 32

I make a point of marking my birthday with reviewing where I’ve come in the past year. I spoke in a prior post about the broader road traveled since I was a teenager, but my actual birthday this past Wednesday was a beautiful reminder of just how fantastic this past year has been.

I can’t say this was a year of self-discovery, or one where I started to hashtag thrive. I don’t need to. The simple, beautiful reality is that this was a year where I was just me. As I mentioned regarding my acting classes: I’m finally getting out of my own way and being fully, comfortably, and joyously me.

That came even with the bumps of life along the way. Most notable was being fired from a job I’d had for eight years back in January, but deciding right from the moment I was let go that: “I can’t wait to see what’s next.”

Sure enough, I found another job- life moves on. This year, I also finished and published another novel. Then I wrote a fourth and decided to move on from it because I didn’t love it enough. I reminded myself, belief in one’s art and the things we dedicate ourselves to matters. If you can’t dedicate yourself, it’s best to move on and devote your energies where they’re better spent.

I took up acting classes for the first time in a decade since talking myself out of the theater years ago because of my anxiety. I rediscovered my love of performing. I’m less than a week away from my next set of classes, this time in improv with the Upright Citizens Brigade theater.

I started recording a podcast with a good friend (more on this soon). More than just the performative aspect, it requires preparation and discipline, but also to learn a new skillset to edit the audio of each episode. Behind all those pursuits and hobbies, I’m still the same guy I’ve always been. I’m just that much more comfortable in my own skin.

I’ve always been a jack of all trades, and this year it feels like I finally moved on from just accepting that, to relishing it and letting it fly, to saying yes to and pursuing the things I care for, whether that’s writing for friends, acting, recording, or just getting out and experiencing art I wouldn’t find otherwise.

I sent about two dozen emails on my birthday to friends who contributed to this year, who made me so happy to not just be me, but happy to be even more me. I didn’t get to everyone, so I’ll say it here: thank you.

If you’re one of the people who reads this blog, or interacts with me on Twitter, Instagram, or knows me personally and offers encouragement, however small, trust that I appreciate you. Believe that I’m continuing to live out my principles and art in all these ways because of your inspiration. I hope I’m making you proud, and I look forward to hearing about and encouraging you in yours. Once more, loudly for those in the back:

We move forward.

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