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Entry 4 – The 4,000 days

September 14, 2009

So…let’s dive into those approximately 4,000 days I talked about in my last entry.

Life in my 20’s was part extremely challenging, and part extremely exciting. I moved from my home in South Carolina far away to a city in the western U.S., where I knew no one, to start graduate school (Part I) when I was 23 years old. This is the first 365 days of the 4,000 mind you. The “Part I” moniker will make more sense in just a bit.

The year before I started graduate school, I met a young philosophy major from my undergraduate school that I fell in love with, and subsequently spent the next four years together in various states of relationship bliss. Graduate School Part I lasted about 2 years, and ended with no degree, only coursework in various scientific disciplines. I basically ran out of money, and needed to put higher education on hold to enter the work force, full time.

Fast forward a year from there, and I’m 26, employed full time for a bank, and contemplating a move to another western U.S. city to follow same young philosophy major as she has decided to move to said other city to pursue her own graduate career. I take a huge risk and complete the move to said western city. The relationship abruptly ends soon thereafter,and I reel for the remainder of that year.

A number of job mishaps follow, and I end up coming back to the same city I started Graduate School Part I to start Graduate School Part II. I’m now about 1500 days (about 4 years) into my 4,000 and I make up my mind to finish the degree I started. I finish Graduate School Part II with an incredibly fortuitous St. Patrick’s Day party I throw at my new apartment. I meet the woman of my dreams, the woman I eventually marry 2 years later.

Fast forward another two years, and I am extremely happy in my relationship with my new wife, but quite miserable with my education and career outlook. I decide to go back to school with the support of my wife. It is now almost 3,000 days into the 4,000, and, mind you, this is right after we got married.

Important Safety Tip (thanks, Egon!):

If you contemplate marriage and going back to school at the same time, let me spare you the hardship. Don’t! Release the urge to multi-task in this way. Unless you are very lucky, this scenario has a high likelihood of not ending well.

I was lucky as my wife and I somehow managed to stay together during Graduate School Part III. It was a huge risk to take on additional schooling in my early 30’s, but in the end I think it paid off. I now am in a career that I love and I still have a wife that loves me. We have a child now, and I sit on the precipice of 40 feeling like things are going in a decent direction.

The point of all this recounting is simply to provide a basis that life presented some serious obstacles to me in those 4,000 days.

Things could have ended up very differently during that span of time. Some situations I handled well, others not so well. In the process though of figuring out how to live my life, I was also, although not aware of it so much at the time, letting go of my supernatural world views that I’d stored up over the first 23 years of my existence, and on the road to being a recovering Christian.

This “storage” if you will is in no way a ‘dig’ on my parents, or any of my upbringing to age 23.

Without the years leading up to 23, I would certainly not have been able to ‘weather the storms’ that came. My point is that my 20’s and early 30’s provided the “lab”, if you will, for rapid development as a human being because I HAD to make my life work. I wasn’t at home anymore. I had purposely taken myself out of my comfort zone of family and friends, and wanted to prove to myself that I could do something entirely on my own (i.e. Graduate School Parts 1 through III).

A final caveat is that I think regardless of whether I’d left home or not, I would have had experiences that tested my resolve. A lot of people have these kinds of tests in their 20’s and 30’s, and sometimes the resolve tester comes even earlier if you consider victims of war and the like.

So what was it during this 4,000 day experience that began tapping out the supernatural thinking in my grey matter, that started me on the road to recovery, you ask?

We’ll get into that question next time.

Until next time, thanks for clicking on me,


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