Thursday, June 23, 2016

Approximately 13 years ago, before the intrusion of Facebook and other social media into our lives, I had a blog.  At first, it was called "The Jeff T Theory," a very subtle take on the name of the band The Juliana Theory.  What can I say?  I had a soft spot in the early aughts for overly emotional music from Tooth and Nail Records.  Soon thereafter, I parlayed the blog into a publishing deal with the now-defunct Relevant Books to write a book entitled Friendlationships: From Like, to Like Like, to Love in Your Twenties.  Given that I was achieving a lifelong goal at the tender age of 25, I thought this meant the start of a career in writing and speaking.  It didn't exactly turn out that way. 

First, the book only sold ~5,000 copies.  You can still buy it on Amazon right now, if you would like, but fair warning: I have not actually read it since 2005 and there's a better than good chance that re-reading it would make me cringe.  There is probably still some elements of value in the book, but there are things that I was so sure of at the age of 25 that I cannot even begin to consider at the age of 36. 

Even then, I had enough self-awareness to know that I needed to do a little more studying.  As such, I put most of my desires on hold to pursue a Masters degree in Christian Ministry.  I learned about theology, church history, and biblical interpretation.  It was a very fruitful program and I honestly learned a lot.  I learned that denominational differences are significant; but I also learned that many of the differences are informed by historical context and tradition.  As such, I gained a new appreciation for many different denominations and see them as an institutional example of the concept of "many parts, one body" espoused in the epistles. 

But during that time, I was working at a university.  Today, I am still working at a university, having recently completed my Doctor of Education degree in Higher Education.  Throughout my time working in administration, I have found myself inspired, challenged, and frustrated.  I began thinking about the ways in which I used to express myself and found myself missing the connection I had with my friends in the old blog world.  Although these feelings are definitely tinged with a hint of nostalgia, there was something edifying about being able to write out and express my thoughts in a longer form.  For all of the fun that I have sharing pictures of my kids or of jokes on Facebook or Twitter, there is a shallowness to it that I have a growing dissatisfaction with.  Perhaps it is a pressure to share only the positive with people; perhaps it is an aversion to those that share every dramatic detail of their lives.  Maybe I'm just getting old. 

I guess that I have looked at where my life is now and I am looking forward.  I honestly do not know what lies ahead.  I have often used educational programs as signposts in my life.  I have now passed that final signpost and all I see ahead of me is an open void.  The day to day joys of spending time with my children give me the motivation to move forward but I have found that I miss the creative spark that written words provide.  I'm not sure if this blog is for anyone other than me.  I might share some things from with it on other platforms.  I might keep it all to myself.  All I know is that my life is at a point where I need a pressure valve that helps me relieve anxiety and that gives me an opportunity to express via words thoughts that I have had wrestling around in my head.  This might be the only time I ever post.  All I know is that I have some fun things going on in my life; but I do not want to get carried away with the pressures of daily life.  I need a grounding.