Today is the 12th anniversary since I returned home from being a full-time missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. I served from September 2003 through August 2005. Here I am 12 years later and I wanted to just run a few numbers to highlight some of the things that have happened:
-- I took 3 years to finish my bachelor's degree.
-- I took 2 semesters to finish my master's degree thereafter.
-- I dated more girls than I have fingers and toes, some seriously, before ...
-- I got married once (I intend to keep it that way, too!).
-- I have moved 11 times in that time, most of them when I was married.
-- I have lived in 3 different states during all that time.
-- I am now the father of 3 children.
-- I currently own my second house (which is the only one I own right now).
-- I have owned 3 cars, 2 of which I still have (one of which I'm still paying off).
-- I have worked 7 different jobs, but only one since leaving college.
-- I have had 7 different church callings.
-- I have received 3 speeding tickets, and one for missing a stop sign.
-- I have been in 1 automobile accident, where ...
-- I have been sued in small claims court once, and "won."
-- I have made an enormous amount of friends in all that time, some of whom I still keep in touch with.
Hmm ... it's a pretty good list. It's weird, though, tabulating some of that. I sometimes sit here and ask myself, "When did I grow up?!" It's really strange to think I am the primary breadwinner for my family, I have a full-fledged (let me say that again, a full-fledged) mortgage, two cars, three kids, and one wonderful wife who makes my life so very good.
I'm very grateful for these past 12 years. I have experienced some very wonderful times that have brought an incredible amount of joy to me, along with creating memories to cherish forever. Were there mistakes I wish I'd avoided? Absolutely. But in doing so, if avoiding those mistakes would have brought me to a different place than I am in right now, I'm confident I'd have made them all over again. Happiness is a very strange thing indeed.