2013 has been an interesting year. Though I suppose all years are interesting in their own way aren’t they? And despite how most people felt about 2013, I had a really good year.
For starters, this year I started my first semester at an actual college. For those not in the know, I used to attend NVCC – Northern Virginia Community College – and I hated it. The place is essentially a dump. I attended the Manassas campus for nearly my entire career there, save for one semester in Loudon. Both places looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in about a decade. It also appeared to be run by morons. Though this year taught me that all colleges are more or less run by morons.
But this year I began attending George Mason University. By and large it is a great improvement over NVCC. It’s huge for starters. GMU is essentially a small city. I’m constantly discovering new areas and buildings. It’s nuts! My first semester was in the spring and consisted of three classes: Korean, Asian Religions, and an English course (I’m an English major at the moment). That went… somewhat well. I don’t think I was completely prepared for how difficult actual college courses were.
This second semester went a bit better. While my second level Korean class seemed about ten times harder than the beginner level, I managed to come away with a higher grade in the class. Weird right? I also took a screenwriting course this semester. This was my favourite class by and large. First off, we had a crazy teacher. Originally we were supposed to have someone different but she never showed up to the first class. The second class rolls around and there’s someone very different there. It turned out to be for the best though as this teacher wound up being a lot of fun. He was crazy, but always honest with you, both about your work and how Hollywood works in general. Taking it with a friend of mine also helped make it awesome.
Unfortunately not all went as well as I would have liked. My English class this semester was taught by an asshole. I didn’t know this going in, but throughout the semester I heard from his previous students that I had made a grave mistake. He had the oddest grading system I’ve ever heard of. And in my opinion, he seemed a tad too strict. But oh well. You can win them all. At least I had a friend to trade sarcastic glances with (thanks Victoria!). Here’s hoping that next spring goes even better! All of my classes are writing and English courses (there’s a difference apparently…) so I should have good time?
Earlier this year I went to PAX East 2013. As always PAX was amazing. Penny Arcade gets a lot of shit – deservedly so – but their convention is phenomenal. It’s one of the few big east coast conventions and one of the even fewer I’m able to make it to. For me it’s a place to meet new friends and reconnect with old ones. This year was no different. I got to see some friends who hadn’t been to previous PAX East years, and meet some new ones. All in all it’s a wonderful time. I would highly recommend it if you ever get the chance to go.
One of the most important things that happened this year had nothing to do with anyone but myself. I finally got myself some medication. For those not in the know, I suffer from depression and anxiety. From what I’ve found out, it’s hereditary so I was bound to get it eventually. I’ve been dealing with it for eight years now. At some point at the end of 2012 though, some flipped switch and I went off the deep end. I was tired, stressed, and anxious all the time. There were some days I didn’t want to get out of bed. I started going to therapy and my therapist recommended getting some medication from my doctor. So I did. It took a few weeks to get through my system, in which I was dizzy all the time, but once it did I could immediately feel a difference. It didn’t change who I was, but it helped with the anxiety, depression, and stress. It was freeing. It’s made a huge difference in my state of mind.
Over the summer I continued working at my current job, which is at my local Tae Kwon Do place. I help take care of the kids during before and after school times. During the summer though we have summer camp. This involves the kids playing at the studio, going on field trips, etc etc. It was awful. For the most part, the kids are brats. The ages range from elementary school to middle school. Things went back and forth for awhile but once mid-July hit there was a large change. There is one particular kid who loved to cause trouble. He was the quintessential bully and would take advantage of the fact that for the first three hours of camp, I was the only staff member present. It was a nightmare. I was actually sick to my stomach the last week it was so terrible. I doubt I’ll be doing it again in 2014.
That all said, something amazing did happen during summer camp. I met my girlfriend there. She was another staff member for the summer camp. I had only known her for a month before asking her out. I was – as usual – incredibly nervous while doing so, but long story short it all worked out in the end. We’ve been together for nearly six months and things couldn’t be going better. I couldn’t be happier.
In August my friend Micah got married. Micah’s only a year older than me. It’s kind of crazy that he’s married now. I couldn’t be happier for him, but man. Life is moving on fast isn’t it? I’ve known Micah for an extremely long time. So long in fact I don’t remember exactly when we met (he doesn’t either in case you were wondering). It was amazing watching him get married, and very emotional as well (what wedding isn’t?). This guy I’ve known for several years is getting married now. He’s got a real job, an apartment. He’s actually living a life. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous, as I’m still in school and still might be for awhile… But at the same time I’m happy he got his shit together enough to start so early (or maybe I’m just late?).
After August was my second semester of Mason, which I talk about above. The one thing I didn’t mention was that during this time my girlfriend was away at her college. At first I was a bit terrified about how that would go. She was only an hour away from me, but we’d only been dating for about a month and half before she left. I also have anxiety about relationships. For the first couple of months I was terrified the next shoe would drop and the whole thing would fall out from beneath me. We did everything we could to keep in touch and keep things going. We’d Skype every night and I would visit on the weekends. In the end everything worked out of course. I had just never dealt with anything like this before. But you learn and you grow, right?
Starting sometime in September I joined a website called elance.com. It’s basically a place for freelancers to put out their profiles and get hired for all sorts of jobs. I – obviously – work exclusively in the writing and editing fields. Surprisingly it’s worked out really well for me. I’ve only gotten five jobs thus far, but most of them have been well paying. I do anything from write short commercials, editing documents, to writing pilots for would-be TV shows and movie scripts. It’s fun and it forces me to write. Just a little bit ago I finished a 92 page screenplay for a client in a week (it should have been 2 weeks but I caught the flu…). In fact finishing stuff like this makes it seem much easier to finish my own projects. Hell, maybe I’ll even send some of them in?
During the school semester I also attempted National Novel Writing Month. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a “competition” where you attempt to write 50,000 words within the month of November. I’ve tried it several times before and failed. This time though, I completed it. I actually managed to write 50,000 words within thirty days. It was crazy and difficult but it felt so good to complete. If any of you enjoy writing I would highly recommend giving it a try. It should definitely be a goal of any writer.
After that semester was Christmas! The holidays resulted in a two week break from work which was fantastic. I was off school, I was off work, it was perfection. My girlfriend was home as well, so we could see each other all the time instead of once a week on the weekends. Alas, all good things must come to an end and soon we will both be going back to school. The fun can’t last forever can it? Despite that, the end of the year was awesome. I spent it with my amazing girlfriend. We ate pizza, I baked a cake, we watched Doctor Who, and then we drank and kissed when the ball dropped. It was the perfect way to end 2013.
And so we venture into 2014. For awhile I’ll no doubt be writing the date as 2013, but hopefully that won’t go on forever. But for now I’ll leave you with a quote that I think sums up this past year and my views of the future. Bonus points if you can guess where it’s from!
“We all change when you think about it. We’re all different people, all through our lives. And that’s okay. You’ve gotta keep moving, so long, as you remember all the people that you used to be. I will not forget one line of this… Not one day. I swear.”