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Hello. I'm Sean and I live in Japan. I'm glad you've come because I need you to do something for me.

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Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Prime of My Life

The reality that this post, which I meant to write with all good intentions weeks ago, has now come to feature prominently on the first of the new year may belie the constitution with which I made the resolution to post more frequently. Broken resolutions aside, this post is meant to be a summation of the year past, a review of the body of time referred to shortly as twenty eleven.

As a consequence of my birthday, the revolution of the Earth around the sun from one January to the next has always paralleled fairly closely with the passing of my age, give or take 24 days. The result has been that every year gets a defined age value, a set denomination of my longevity for every wall calendar purchased. As it turns out, the age for 2011 was twenty-three, which was, as the old idiom goes, effectively the prime of my life.

Now I say this affectionately, as it is inherently based on a corny joke that I continued to make throughout the duration of the year. If you, like me, possess a rudimentary knowledge of baseline public school math, then the concept of prime numbers (those which can only be divided by themselves and one) is something that you know of, if not have forgotten as it lost its need to be retained in the real world.

Now by no means is twenty-three the first time in my life that I was prime, as 2, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 17 and 19 may take offense if I was so inclined to exclude them offhand. Yet, I will say that it is the first time I've been so outside the range of the milestone birthdays, which can be defined as any increase in age that earns you the right to a societal privilege. Compound onto my bad joke that 2011 was the first time I really felt like I was living my life how I wanted to, and the true reason for the goofy pun emerges: in a year that was hallmarked by economic crisis and the death of countless evil societal figures, I finally reached an operational baseline for my existence that I was content with; my prime.

The year began with Africa, which introduced me to the harsh reality of the world outside the west. A world that desperately wants to join the future, grasps at new technology, but implements and relies on it without the infrastructure or resources to make it dependable. A world easy to forget, where your dollar a day builds a water pump or school that goes derelict in a year when they run out of money to pay the upkeep. I was put in a place where consumerism couldn't be viable, lived in it, with it, adapted to it and then wrestled with my own conscience as I returned home to slip back into old habits. I realized how weak people are when faced with comfort, how weak I am when faced with what's easy, and hoped that acknowledgement of a problem is the first step to a solution. Twenty-eleven was a year of shifting comfort zones, from home to the extreme, and then back in a blink of an eye. I won't bore you here with stories out of Africa; there are many posts dedicated to that trip that are easy to access and give you a better idea of my attitude at the time.

The second half of the year was a stark contrast to the preceding months, and predominately featured me jumping through the hoops to lock down another piece of my hazy and steadily shifting future. It was a time of relative ease, relative fitness and emotional annoyance. The end result however proved to be fruitful, and those fruits have turned out to be a job in Japan, one of the things I listed as a thing to do on my very first blog entry.

In past posts I'd been relatively shady as far as details, and as my last real post was on the eleventh of November, it was mainly because I had no real details on which to speak. With December came a job offer, and in this coming February I will be flying to Nagoya, and beginning my contract as a teacher of English for ECC second language institutes. Although I had made it clear that I was flexible in my placement, Nagoya was my subconscious number one in terms of cities to go to, and I can honestly say that I was thrilled to be so lucky. As a transit hub to the country, Nagoya exists as the industrious, laid-back, financial capital to Japan.

To be honest, I should probably be more scared. I've cast around for ideas as to why I'm so calm in the face of such a drastically life changing experience, and the closest I can figure is that I am all worried out. Between the time I spent freaking out over Africa, and the time I spent asking myself countless 'what-ifs' during my first round of interviews with ECC in the spring of 2010, I have effectively exhausted the amount of time I can spend worrying over traveling and Japan in general. My immediate future is locked, and I'm along for the ride. There is no malicious intent in this universe, just a way of things, and if you worry or don't worry about something, things will happen the same regardless. It is a lot easier to cope with existence when you assume that nothing is out to get you.

My goal for this blog in 2012 is to become a lot more active. Writing has become this great release for me, and I always kick myself for taking too long between posts. For letting good ideas come and leave without even giving them a chance to be written down. Maybe not over the next two months, but hopefully after I arrive in Japan, this blog will become a bit more of a daily activity. More of a play by play than a monthly memoir of an event or a feeling.

So with a freshly written post, a form that gives me a clean bill of health, and a list of so many other things I need to get done in the next two months, I'll leave you with a song that I've been singing today and wrote this post to,

Thanks so much for reading and for your patience with me,

Much Love and Happy New Year!


As a note, here is the list from my first post 'A Gratuitous Introduction':

- Teach English in a foreign country. I may have been turned down for Japan, but Korea may be in my future - and experience breeds opportunities later.

- Tree plant in Western Canada. Despite all the people telling me why I shouldn't do this, the few that had the guts to tell me why I should had much more convincing arguments.

- Somehow traverse a country by WWOOFing at different locations as I go along. Meet the people, save the planet.

- Go to Japan. I WILL be in Japan soon. Man I want to go there so bad. And as a tack on I want to backpack Asia as well.

- Volunteer in Africa. I am currently waiting to hear back on a position I applied for. Things looks good. And perhaps climb Mt. Kilamanjaro while there.

- Work Visa in Australia. The visa costs $200, the experience lasts me forever.

Looks like I'll go three for six shortly, not bad!

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