This is the end of the road for my twenties. This week the train is pulling into the station and the 30s begin (well, on Sunday, but it’s coming up). It’s been an interesting decade of life – from different ups and downs to strange encounters to things that really, I believe, can only happen to me.
So, as I move forward to a new decade on life and the challenges and joys that awaits the next 10 years, I thought it would be interesting to look back on the twenties to consider where I’ve been and where I’m going. Here are 20 things about my 20s, and we’ll do it in honor of the Oscars (which takes places on my birthday).
Best Encounter with an Athlete – There were many this decade of life, but it ultimately will be a tie between two events. In 2001 at Pocono while in a group interview with Kevin Harvick, a local reporter from Pennsylvania asked Harvick a question about not having the support of Richard Petty to fill the late Dale Earnhardt’s seat. Harvick walked off the interview. (For the record, I thought the question was a cheap shot and I didn’t blame Harvick for walking out). Then there was this incident on the first hole of the 2005 U.S. Open third round for Tiger Woods where Woods told me to keep quiet in a fashion only Woods can.
Best Encounter with a Politician – There were many in this decade as well, especially among local politicians and state government officials. There is a tie here as well. In 2000, I had a chance to meet former West Virginia Gov. Arch Moore, who had been out of public life for years after his conviction for corruption. I saw a different Moore, one who was excited for his daughter, Shelley Moore Capito, and his grandson, who was playing basketball at a tournament I was covering. The second was while covering news for a paper in Clarksburg, W.Va., where I interviewed former West Virginia Gov. Bob Wise after he admitted to an affair. Other journalists might have gone hard after him, but I felt bad for him as you could see he was remorseful and regretted his sins.
Most Embarrassing Moment – Again, there are many. However, anytime you are on a youth retreat and are playing capture the flag and you’re the one that gets taken to the emergency room counts as an all-time embracing moment.
Best Year – 28. Served a church officially for the first time. Delivered my first sermon. Got fired from a job that really allowed me the opportunity to discern where God really wanted me. And, I met my lovely wife.
Worst Year – 24: Separation and abandonment from my first wife. Started a new job. Drove three hours, one-way, for awhile until I could find an apartment. Made a lot of personal mistakes after the abandonment. And began bankruptcy proceedings. I don’t believe I’ll ever have a year as bad as that one as long as I live.
Biggest Educational Achievement – May 19, 2002 when I graduated from West Virginia University and August 2007 when I enrolled at Asbury Theological Seminary. To be able to have the opportunity to graduate from an university that I love and to be able to attend graduate school to earn my Divinity degree is not something I take lightly. It is a privilege and I’m very fortunate to have had the educational opportunities that I have been blessed with.
Best Vacation – The whirlwind, seven-state, 2,000-mile, when will this thing ever end honeymoon last year. We saw everything from the mountains of the Great Smoky Mountains, to the beach, to the farms of southern Virginia, to Gettysburg, to even the old stomping grounds of Morgantown. We were tired. Very tired.
Worst Public Speaking Moment – In 2006, I had the opportunity to speak at a summer program for North Carolina students on Free Speech. It was a bad speech, especially when talking about things that they thought were against the Constitution when really are protected forms of free speech. Oh, bad night. Bad night.
Best Public Speaking Moment – Being able to deliver a sermon at the church that I grew up in as a child. It was a very awesome moment.
Need a Do-Over Moment: Wish I could take back a lot of what happened in 2004 and early 2005. There were a lot of mistakes made and I was listening to some wrong influences. I hurt a lot of people because I was more interested in my own needs and my own attempts to recovery. I regret that.
Best Sporting Event – In 2001, I had the opportunity to attend a game with the legendary Mickey Furfari. It was the first game for WVU after 9/11 and it was against Maryland at College Park. That was a memorable experience not just for the opportunity to spend the day with Furfari, but also for being in D.C., right after the attack. It was a surreal day. (Thought I was going to say the one bowl game I went to that WVU won, didn’t you.)
Worst Sporting Event – 2002 Continental Tire Bowl, 2004 Gator Bowl, and the 2005 Gator Bowl. All wastes of money when you leave during the fourth quarter knowing the team doesn’t have a shot at winning.
Best Decision – Finally realizing that God had been calling me for years and I had refused to listen. And, of course, marrying Abbi.
Worst Decision – I’m not sure I can say just one, but there were many decisions – small and big – that I regret, but also became learning moments in what it means to be a leader, a man, a husband, a Christian, and a student.
Best Self-inflicted Injury – (Note: I’ve had many injuries that are of the Tim Allen of Home Improvement fame variety in my lifetime.) Taking a 9-iron to my ankle last year in an attempt to hit my shoe in frustration for a bad shot. Yeah, that hurt. Really bad. I’m lucky I did not break anything.
Best Place that I Lived – Chapel Hill, N.C. Good memories.
Worst Place that I Lived – Shelby, N.C. Great people, just some bad memories.
Most Emotional Moment – Delivering my uncle’s eulogy in November.
Most Interesting Change in the Past 10 Years – Besides coming closer to God, weight loss, and marriage, I believe the use of the Internet has been the most interesting change. When I was in college, newspapers and TV news were still dominant. However, that is not the case today as more people get their news from Twitter or blog feeds than anywhere else. The Internet in 2000 was not the dominant force that it is today and I believe that people are still adjusting to that fact today and what that means for the future, especially in the church.
Most Influential People of the Past 10 Years (Our Equivalent of Best Picture) – In no particular order, these people have been influential in my life in the past 10 years in some shape or form. They are: Abbi, Andrew Hogan, Greg Arthur, George Esper, George Leef, Christine Pohl, Bill Goold, Todd Nelson, Shay Hall, Loren Miller, Tim Moore, Stephen Stratton, Mickey Furfari, Chris Burkhart, Aaron Tiger, and Jonathan Powers.