“The object of a question is to obtain information that matters to us, and no one else.”
- Sean Connery as William Forrester in "Finding Forrester"

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Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Looking Forward

It's hard to quantify or qualify this past year of my life. There were certainly some highs and some lows, some big steps forward for myself and some missed opportunities. Overall, a year like none other. There may be some situations I would handle differently if faced with them again, however I would rather look forward with the wisdom from my past.

During my time off last week I spent some time reflecting on the significance of turning 25. The obvious is the quarter-century mark. When described in the context of a century, 25 carries with it a weight not applied to any other age. Sure, when you hit 10 you're an entire decade old; at 20, you're two, and no longer a teenager. You can get your license at 16. At 18 you can vote and join the military. At 21 you can drink... legally. But 25 doesn't have any special designation like the others - well, that's not true, my car insurance rates go down. It's all psychological, really. It's a nice round number, so it must mean something.

At 18 I gained independence when I went to college; I could start really living my life the way I wanted, making my own decisions. At 20 I was a counselor at a summer camp in the care of children - real responsibility. At 21 I traveled around the world accumulating life experience and a unique perspective on where I fit in the grand scheme. At 22 I graduated college and got my own apartment, really growing up now. For the past two and a half years since then I have been growing into the man that I am in a different way than ever before. There were no prescribed steps along the way, no real markers to keep track of my progress.

For as long as I can remember, I've always been perceived as being older than I am and, often, I have felt a year or two older too. So, in some ways, it's no big deal turning 25 other than the fact that I'm now numerically as old as I felt for the past year. In others ways, though, I feel like I need to begin taking a more serious look at the road ahead. It is now when I hope to see my life turn down the path that I will take for the next 50 or so years.

I'm not sure what will come of this next year. What trials will I face? What joys? What sorrows? What triumphs? Will my dreams come true? Will lightning strike? Who will I meet? And when? How can I take the reigns and steer my way in the right direction for myself?

As with most things, there are more questions than answers. But it is these soup questions that drive my quest for true meaning, purpose, and life. I don't know what is out there waiting for me in the fog of my future or what lies over that next horizon. But I live in hope. I know deep down in a place I cannot understand that "whatever is good and right will come" and make all the difference.

I watched one of my favorite movies tonight - Amelie - and I realized, as I always do while watching, that it is the simple pleasures that carry the most meaning, that make life extraordinary and unique. I need to be on the lookout for the little adventures that no one knows about, for the soft and silent moments that mean something to me alone. It is there that I will find true life. And it is there, that I will find myself.

Here's to my New Year!