I'm pretty sure I spent most of the past year not really believing that second chances were possible, or (quite frankly) that my life, as currently constituted, was worth living.
And while I can't say I've been completely pulled out of that darkness yet, I can say I've been pulled back from the brink.
If there is one word that can sum up the past 12 months since my last Thanksgiving post, it would be "change." And while i didn't believe the highs and lows in my life would get anymore extreme, this year has in fact brought with it a series of events so bizarre and unexpected that i haven't been able to step back and recover from the madness until today. Sometimes, life whisks you along through breathless turns, and the most you can hope to do is hang on, try to enjoy the ride, and pray to God your appendages are still attached when the dust is settled. Maybe that's all I've been able to manage this year. I think that, on the journey from darkness to light, I'm maybe about halfway there.
Despite the events that have ripped into my emotional well-being, there have also been so many encouraging developments that I can't help but be grateful. I work two jobs; one in education and one in the online film world. Both are difficult to obtain and afford me a number of benefits that are the envy of many citizens. For the first time in my life this year, I was accepted into a Harvard educational institution. This has brought my family great pride and joy. I am surrounded by wonderful people in both areas of my life. And while stress threatens to completely destroy my life on an almost daily basis, I really wouldn't have it any other way. As George Clooney once famously put it, "We are not swans. We are sharks." And sharks thrive on constant motion.
Last year, I listed a bunch of people and things I'm thankful for. All those sentiments are still true. It would be redundant to just repeat everything again, but it really is a mostly-accurate representation of how I feel today. Nonetheless, I wanted to quickly re-iterate some of them, while adding a few others, lest I forget the goodness in my life. Here is what I'm grateful for:
For Matt - For his valuable friendship, his deep understanding, his giving heart, and his unstoppable passion for telling stories. Our meeting has perhaps been the best thing to come out of these past few years.
For Chi - For her continued patience with me, even as she enters a whole new phase of her life.
For my brother, Mike - For the ways in which he inspires me with his non-stop hard work, and the way he makes me laugh with his over-the-top no-nonsense attitude.
For Linda - For her kindness and companionship, which have been a valuable comfort as of late.
For Stephen Tobolowsky - For the stories, the profundity, the memories, the laughs, the tears that he has brought into this world, and that I have helped to facilitate. For giving me something to be proud of helping to create. Truly, I feel we are at the beginning of something amazing, and not the end.
For Lily - For her compassion, and for reaching out to me under circumstances where few would have dared.
For Deirdre - For her friendship and random acts of kindness.
For Mydhili - Because she is too cool for school. Also, her name is awesome. Seriously though: When people arrive at a new country and at a new school, the process by which they become friends with others can often feel random. I'm grateful that our friendship has somehow emerged newly from this selection process.
For people like Mary HK Choi, Matt Zoller Seitz, Myles McNutt, Alan Sepinwall, Adam Kempenaar, Alison Willmore, Dan Trachtenberg, Jeff Cannata, Matt Singer, Tasha Robinson, Eric D. Snider, Clay Shirky, Bob Garfield, Brooke Gladstone, Kim Masters, Maria Popova, and Katey Rich (and too many more than I can name here) - You inspire me with your writing/broadcasting. And with a few of you, I've been honored to meet and chat with you in the past year, and honored to call myself your friend. The pleasure has been mine.
For Instapaper + my Kindle - Because it has changed the way I read and (arguably) made me smarter.
For Sara - Because she shows me what is possible.
For Garron - Because his generosity and cooking skills know no bounds.
For Angie - For listening to my crazed ramblings when I need to be listened to the most.
For Bob and Jeff - For helping me to laugh with life. And for supporting me and giving me good advice when the time is right.
For everyone at /Film -From Peter, who makes everything possible (but I'm also grateful for his friendship), to Devindra and Adam, who constantly surprise me with their insights into film, to Germain, Russ, and Chris, who constantly churn out interesting and informative content. I can honestly say I'm proud to work for this organization, but I know that there is still much work to do.
For Salon - Because if you look beyond their ultra-left leaning views, you'll find stories about life and stories about love, written with such honesty and grace that they can't help but inspire some kind of admiration.
Again, for you - For reading, for listening, for engaging. For making what I do possible. For giving me the strength to keep going. Thanks all. Until next year...
Posted by David Chen Friday, November 26, 2010 6:29 AM