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2012 in Review…according to Facebook

January 1, 2013

Because this blog covers just a piece of the constantly rising cake of my life (…does that even make any sense?), the last post may have said a lot about 2012 for Irresistible (Dis)Grace, but it certainly didn’t say a lot about 2012 for me in general.

Actually, scratch that. The last post didn’t even say a lot about 2012 for the site. I just relied on WordPress’s data mining and added no commentary.

I feel convicted by the fact that one of my friends has written a really creative look back at his life’s progression during 2012 (even comparing it to his similar year-over-year thoughts from 2011), but unfortunately, such conviction does not really inspire me to create something brilliant. So, this post also relies on data mining — just from Facebook. Here, I’ll look back at 2012 by reviewing everything Facebook has creeped on me in its 2012 Year in Review e-dossier.

First Year as a Grown-Up?

I’ve only been 23 for sixteen days, and honestly, I don’t feel any different from the 22 I was for the majority of the year. But 22 didn’t feel different from 21, and 21 didn’t feel different from 20, 19, or any other age. Most importantly, the imperceptible drumbeat of life has never noticeably shifted rhythms in my mind’s ear…never foretold the distinct bridge that would mark the passage of adolescence into adulthood.

What the hell does it mean to be a “grown-up” anyway? Are you grown-up at 18? 21? I have read some things that suggest that as a result of our lives now, my millennial generation may not become “grown up” until 30 or 40. So maybe I don’t recognize any change because there hasn’t been an appreciable change?

But the first event that Facebook gleaned as important for my 2012 Year in Review file assuredly was a change for me: I started working January 4th, 2012.

I’ll expose a lot of my shelteredness (past and present) in this post, and I’ll start here: this job has been the first and only job I’ve had.

No delivering papers during middle school.

No part-time jobs at the mall or at McDonald’s during high school.

Not even on-campus jobs during college (although I guess part of me wishes that I had applied for a position with the University Writing Center…part of me wishes that I had sought that intersection of writing, editing, and coaching…but I was still…am still…a prohibitively cautious, risk-averse person.)

I recognize that I have been extremely blessed and privileged to be able to say that my first job is also the launching point of my career, a job well within my interests and directly related to my major. A job that I did not have to worry about securing, because I knew I would have it as soon as I had finished my internship with the same firm (oh! so I guess that counts as having worked during college?).

January 2012 also brought other changes. I was moving away from home…for real.

I mean, I am always welcome home. I type this message from the couch in my parent’s living room, after all, while I am on Christmas Break.

But January 2012 was the first time I realized that I would no longer say that the house in Oklahoma was my permanent residency (with all the college dorms and apartments being things that would pass with the seasons).

The introduction of 2012 came with uncertainty, actually. By the time I graduated in December 2011, I actually had no idea where I would be staying in Houston. I had talked with a friend a long time ago about moving in with him, but had never followed up. (I am really bad at follow-up, and if this were a post about new year’s resolutions, then perhaps a resolution to get better would be implied in this paragraph.) When I contacted him in the middle of December 2011, my world almost collapsed. He had thought that lack of response meant lack of interest, and had made different plans accordingly. His new lease was already signed; there was no going back.

This is another place where I realize that I am so blessed, so fortunate, so privileged. I had friends from school who had started working in July 2011…one friend offered to help go apartment hunting with me in the city. But another set of friends capitalized on the option of moving into a bigger unit (but now, the two current roommates splitting rent two ways would become three roommates splitting rent three ways, with cost savings), and I quickly agreed to the opportunity.

But I remember that my first day of work, even, January 4th, 2012, when asked for my address, I couldn’t give a unit number, because we hadn’t yet decided on the larger unit yet.

…if this were a post about new year’s resolutions, then another resolution would be that I need to work on being more proactive with my affairs. At so many points in my life, I have avoided and procrastinated and delayed diving into the uncomfortable, until the uncomfortable drug me in instead. And instead of rising to the occasion, I have despaired, being brought from the brink of disaster by good friends and family.

Maybe that’s what it means to be a grown-up and why I don’t feel like one.

(And here I go…it’s 870 words in, and I haven’t even gotten past January 4th. What is this, Ulysses?)

Wading in the Mormon World

I will skip out-of-order from Facebook’s presentation, because even though Facebook presents the aggregate effect of what happened, I know the start was in January.

See, Facebook will say that I added 111 new friends in 2012. But the makeup of those friends is what I want to talk about. See…the person I share the most mutual friends with used to be my brother. In 2012, John Dehlin (whom I didn’t even meet until January, and didn’t even say anything to him personally until this summer) overtook my own brother (who attended the same university [in the same college, even]), same high school [only two class years apart], junior high, elementary schools, etc.) in that respect.

It started in January, because in January, I stepped out of my comfort zone in probably the most convenient way possible — I went to the Houston Mormon Stories Conference.

I could not rely on the excuse that it was not nearby. It was about 20 minutes away from my apartment, even. And though I was in training for the week prior to it, I would be available for it.

And so I went. With barotrauma from flying with stuffed congestion (something that still affects me every time I fly to Chicago…I think the cruising altitude on those flights is higher than on other flights I go on during the year…), I couldn’t hear half of what anyone was saying, but I was there.

I probably could have gotten actively involved in more things at the local level, but my inertial nature overtook things after that, so I didn’t.

If this were a post about new year’s resolutions, I wouldn’t make any promises here.

…there were, however, some events to which I was committed. Even though Sunstone was extraordinarily out of my way (requiring me to take some vacation and buy a personal flight), I was committed because I was a panelist. So, that led to meeting more Mormon folks offline.

(I recognize that my contact with Mormons online and offline is quite unrepresentative of things, but you know? I like keeping it that way. I like to think that the strange microcosm of thoughtful, passionate, aware and conscious Mormons — whether they be active, inactive, passive, believer, ex-, disaffected, or whatever — is closer to the universe of Mormons than an unbiased approach [or an approach informed by regular visits to any average ward] would probably reveal.)

Beyond those conferences, there were a few other events later in the year…get-togethers are homes, parties, long conversations in the night, those sorts of things. I don’t mean to diminish their value, but I also don’t want to stray even further from this chronology than I already have.

Keeping up with Fencing

During 2012, I kept up with fencing as a nomad. I didn’t do so well most of the time, as this picture will show.

I'm the one in the maroon socks getting hit in a sport where one of the two basic rules is:

I’m the one in the maroon socks getting hit in a sport where one of the two basic rules is: “Don’t get hit.”

But at other times, I went to collegiate tournaments to offer moral support to my old teammates, and to try my hand at snapping some photos. I did not (read: do not) understand white balance, or much of anything else about photography.

Oh yeah, this was the tournament where everyone decided to fence weapons they don't normally fence. The other schools didn't like that.

Oh yeah, this was the tournament where everyone decided to fence weapons they don’t normally fence. The other schools didn’t like that.

…and I even took a few lucky snapshots at non-collegiate tournaments. I still did not understand anything about white balance.

What a touch!

And at some tournaments, I actually did OK. (If only because top 8 is all you need to get to medal…)

Woodlands Fencing Academy June Tournament Medalists


I also took time to photograph cookies, because they don’t move as fast when you’re trying to take pictures of them. Notwithstanding the immobility of baked cookies, the OMEGACOOKIE proved to be a slippery pursuit.

chocolate chip cookies

Odds and Ends

I guess I definitely jumped out of chronology a long time ago, but in August, I did an entire month where every day, I posted a status with five things I was grateful for. It was interesting. I think I had a minor change in perspective after a while, but it wasn’t anything super permanent, and as far as I can tell, all the effects of that have worn off.

There was another time (totally unrelated to that) when I started seeing the future differently…I was more aware of certain adverse consequences…I could see frustrating conversations happening before they even happened, and as a result, I would avoid even jumping into them (whereas my normal state is to try to talk and talk and talk and try to reach some sort of common ground.)

That wasn’t super permanent either. The effects have worn off too, and as recently as this month, I’ve engaged in frustrating conversations.

If this were a post about making new year’s resolutions, I think the one resolution of all the ones I’ve written about that I would actually try to work for…is to have that altered awareness of possibility and of the future.

I had a dad talk on the issue just a few days ago, and I should have written a post on it, but I haven’t yet.

But I can tell you how I walked away from that conversation now, even though I haven’t written the post. Even if I would like to have that different consciousness, I don’t know how. I don’t perceive that I choose to change things, and I don’t perceive that I choose to change it back. And in my normal mode, I feel like I have to mourn or grieve or regret so many things…it’s complicated…I’ll get to writing that post so you’ll know what I’m talking about.

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  1. Are you still in Houston? (If you are, we have started up a monthly Houston exmormon meetup…)

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