Thursday, January 20, 2011

Need a New Start

I can't believe I haven't posted since Christmas. It's probably because right after Christmas I was preparing to go to ALA, and since then I've just been working a lot. This is the first day off I've had after 8 days straight of working.

Not much to say about ALA. Nobody recognized my cosplay. I told people it was fun and it was, but in many ways it was just like most large social gatherings I go to - I didn't know anybody, nobody knew me, and I was more concerned about what I wanted to do than actually trying to meet people (which had been a goal of mine for that con). The only person I had any sort of long conversation with was Gina Biggs, and that was because I was interviewing her.

Maybe I'm just in a bad mood - I am a bit tired and I'm getting over being sick (I think I caught whatever bug is going around work, because a lot of people at work are sick). But the con just didn't meet my expectations. There were a lot more negatives than positives. I wrote a long feedback post about this on the ALA forum at already so I'd rather not go into it here.

I considered going to Anime Conji, a con they were promoting at ALA, which happens here in San Diego at the end of March. But I'm just not feeling it. The more I write about ALA the less I want to go to an anime con again, at the very least for a while. I may feel differently later. I'm still going to go to Comic-Con as usual, and probably the writers' conference again in September if, like last year, lack of money doesn't prevent me. But that may be it for me this year.

I am at, like a lot of people this time of year, in a state of contemplation about my life. Even more so I think for me because, assuming I get into this one class I still need to graduate that I'm waitlisted on, I'll be graduating from CSUSM this semester. I still have classes to take for my web design certificate (because I started that late and also wasn't able to take any classes for it last fall) but, Lord willing, I can be done with that by next spring - even sooner if I take a class or two this summer. (That depends on availability and on whether I'll want a break from school after this semester, which I probably will). I wonder if there's a way to get that certificate but not have to go through a second Mira Costa graduation ceremony (I went through one for my A.A. already). I'll have to ask.

Speaking of computers, I just watched The Social Network, a.k.a. the movie they made about how Facebook was founded. They portray Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook's founder) as kind of a jerk and portray him as having stolen the idea for Facebook from these three guys who'd approached him about creating a site called HarvardConnection. The frame for the film is Zuckerberg's depositions for the two lawsuits filed against him in regards to Facebook - the lawsuit filed against him in 2004 by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss and Divya Narenda for stealing their website idea and the lawsuit filed against him in 2005 by Eduardo Saverin, Zuckerberg's best friend who co-founded Facebook with him and Zuckerberg's roommate Dustin Moskovitz, after Zuckerberg diminished Saverin's stock holdings in Facebook to less than 1% as well as his influence in the company, which it seems largely went instead to Facebook's main investors, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Napster co-founder Sean Parker. The movie was all right but I had trouble believing that things were not overdramatized. I will say, though, the acting was good. Justin Timberlake, who I've never seen before in a movie (that I remember), does a good job playing Sean Parker.

At any rate, I'm planning to watch the other movie I got from Redbox - Ramona & Beezus - with my mom tonight because she really wanted to see it. So for now I'm just hanging out at home. I figured that since I'm getting over being sick I should rest a little. Tomorrow though I will probably go out. I'm going to order my textbooks tomorrow also as I have to wait till I get paid to order them, because my bank won't let me transfer money from my savings to my checking right now, since I seem to have reached the limit on how many transfers you can do between share accounts in a certain amount of time (probably a month). I had to transfer money from my line of credit just to give me a cushion when I went to enroll in the Flash class I was waitlisted for after the teacher sent me a permission number (Mira Costa requires that you pay the same day you enroll), and I really don't want to have to do that again.

(Now I owe more money toward my line of credit because it transferred money to cover my tithe, which automatically comes out of my account. Shoot).

So anyway, as I was saying, I'm in a state of contemplation about my life. And I do not like my life. I'm 26 years old and I live with my parents. I don't have my own place or my own car - I don't even have a driver's license. (And getting my license was a goal of mine for this winter break - which due to lack of money and having to work so much failed miserably). I'm working at a grocery store and I'm been in college since 2003 (almost EIGHT years) just trying to get a B.A. Some people spend 8 years trying to get a master's or become a doctor. Online, I am involved in a gazillion and one things and popular at none of them, which for some stupid reason really bothers me. It's like I can't feel like something I'm doing is worthwhile unless I get some recognition for it. And in my head I know that that is just the stupidest thing ever! Life is not about being popular, gosh dang it. Life is about leaving a legacy - doing something that matters for eternity. And although I know that, I have a hard time getting myself to believe it.

I think I was always wanting to be accepted one way or another, but when I was younger it didn't seem like such an issue. I think in high school I was okay with my small group of friends and with being different. Ok granted I did want more friends definitely. But I wasn't obsessed with the idea, as I seem to be now. What happened?

I think a lot of things happened. That teenage identity crisis that apparently skipped me in high school hit me in my college years. Finding out about my Asperger's didn't help; it was just something else I had to figure out how to deal with in my still emerging identity. When I started at Stater Brothers in 2007, my work schedule became so unpredictable that it was hard to plan anything, and my church attendance began to become less regular as I was forced to accomodate my work schedule, which sometimes required me to work on Sundays. After the first few months at Stater Brothers, I'd pretty much given up going to mid-week group, since schedule-wise it wasn't working too well for me or my parents (my chauffeurs to this group). I was kinda getting burned out with the college group anyway now that most of my friends had moved on. While I haven't given up on Christianity, I think it's become less and less dynamic by the year. I got burned out by InterVarsity and am not sure about Chi Alpha, the new Christian group I've only had the chance to go to once. InterVarsity seemed to be more about witnessing (not a strong point for me) than about strengthening those who were already Christian, and Chi Alpha seems to be more about hanging out then getting into the Bible (though they do have speakers, and I haven't been there when they had one).

But I know that God exists, and I believe that, and that is a big part of faith in God - as Hebrews 11:6 says, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him" (ESV). And seeing the recent change in my brother since he got involved with Campus Crusade for Christ up at his school in San Luis Obispo makes me see that people can change, even after years of not really living for God. If he can change, I can change.

I want to change, but I hardly know where to begin. So many things are wrong with my Christian walk. For one, I'm not witnessing, nor have I ever to anyone. Sadly, I'm not one of those on-fire Christians who tries to talk about God to everyone I see or relate every topic to God. In fact, people who relate everything to God annoy me as much as people who are uber-happy do, maybe because they are often also uber-happy. I mean, there is nothing wrong with being really happy and joyous about being a Christian - more power to you if you are. You've got something I sure as heck don't have. But people who are just TOO happy annoy me, I think because they don't seem real.

Secondly, I have next to no prayer life, and I don't really know what is the best way to pray. Almost all the time when I pray I feel like I'm talking to the ceiling.

Thirdly, I don't feel like I'm getting much from the Bible, other than the occasional moment of insight where a verse stands out. I'm still stuck on the Old Testament and how much of it applies to us. In a recent sermon from North Coast that I listened to via podcast, they said that the Old Testament laws don't apply to Christians unless they're repeated in the New Testament. They're meant to show us we can't measure up to God's standards and thus we need a Savior. I guess that makes sense, but why am I still stuck then on the idea that I must somehow apply the laws in Leviticus or the genealogies in 1 Chronicles to my life?

On the other hand, there are some great stories in the Old Testament that have lessons for us today, from the patriarchs all the way through. I've always found great insight from the Psalms and also Proverbs to a lesser extent. In the last few months, as I was finishing up the "Read-the-Bible-in-a-Year" thing again in my ESV Bible, I found verses jumping out at me in some of the prophetic books - Isaiah particularly - in words written to be heard by people either in exile or about to be.

Right now I'm using this devotional I bought called Faithbook of Jesus. I'm not sure about it because it just dives right in, with nothing on how you're supposed to use it. So I'm confused. It gives you verses to read for each devotional, but they're often just a few verses, which makes me feel like I'm spending less time in my quiet time than I was when I was reading whole chapters of the Bible for my read-the-Bible-in-a-year plan.

Fourthly, I just am not feeling close to God at all. There is no deeper connection there, it's pretty much all mental, with maybe the basest level of non-mental connection. And it's sad.

Ok my laundry's beeped like five times, and I'm hungry. Maybe I should continue this later.

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