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November 14, 2017

I haven’t really updated in awhile, because life the universe and everything has kept me pretty busy on account of a piece of news that can be filed under “Life-altering.”

I have been accepted to a Masters of Special Education program at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I will continue to write, hopefully prolifically. My ultimate goal here is to teach Lit & Comp to high-schoolers with emotional disabilities. So that’s something that fills me with a cocktail mix of excitement, joy, anxiety, fear, hope and regret. It’s a long island ice tea of emotion, to be sure. I got this acceptance letter two weeks ago and reality has a tendency to sink in slow. As I sat here this morning shopping for my plane ticket home it started to become very real. Which I think is the biggest factor in why I had put it off for a couple weeks. I need some plans to be settled first, sure. But really, it was because by buying that plane ticket, it made it official: this stage of my life is over.

It’s been a hard stage to end. I’m the happiest I’ve even been, and it’s hard to want to mess with a good thing. But I have a tendency to become complacent. If nothing ever changed I’d be just fine, and that’s a good place to be. I’ve kept my options open and it’s lead me to some pretty groovy things. I’m not getting younger, I’m just getting grey at the temples, and I should start locking into a secure career path before I look like Reed Richards. Before coming to Korea i was stagnant. For years. I was dealing with some inner demons, primarily depression, primarily genetic. I came to Korea after righting my ship just enough to cast off. And I can say, without a doubt, that I “found myself” here. I use the term loosely. I believe that existence precedes essence, so maybe “built myself’ or “grew myself” is a way of putting it more that’s more in line with my existential world view.

Look at that, I have digressed, as is my wont. But yeah, I grew here. I grew a lot. And I think a large challenge of going back is going to be maintaining the person I’ve become. Which shouldn’t be too hard, at least for myself. In the sense that the person I was before could never win in a fight against who I am now. He wouldn’t have the confidence. I’m more concerned about going back and all the people I knew before still seeing me as I was. And, with Hell being other people and all, we have a tendency to see ourselves as others see us, or at least how we perceive they see us. I’m really worried about, not just the reverse culture shock, but the whole readjustment. Things I had here;  the small, tightknit punk scene; the local foreigner community; my girlfriend won’t be around. And I’m returning to my country while things are the most tumultuous they’ve been in my lifetime. I’m going to need to see someone, professionally, when I get back, at least for a while, of that I have no doubt.

Fuck, man. I still don’t know how I feel. I have a goal. An actual long term goal, and I know what I gotta do to get there. I’ve typically survived so far by taking things a day at a time. Jumping on opportunities and keeping options open. I won’t say it’s yielded me nothing. I’ve got a novel and my band released recordings. Most people don’t do the small scale DIY version of their dreams. And who says it’s too late to do those things again somewhere else? As my checklist of things to do to get ready for going home gets more ticks than blank spaces, I can starting finding time to be creative again. I’ve taken the time to do this now because I need the therapy of hitting the release valve on my head. Pressure was reaching critical mass. I’ll probably doing a couple of these over the next few weeks. But I’m getting dangerously close to “TL;DNR” as the netizens say.

To be continued...