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May 2010 Life Update

June 4, 2010

Wow, it’s been nearly a year since I’ve last updated this blog. Nowadays, I spent most of my social networking time on Twitter and The Milwaukee Drum. I also just started a new blog called Bible Front to Back, where I’ll be documenting my experiences as I read the Bible from start to finish.

So, what has happened since I last wrote? Quite a lot. I finished up my studies in Bloomington, officially earning my J.D and an MPA with a focus on Urban Policy and Fiscal Administration. After something of a down fall semester, I finished off my last semester ever with a flourish. This is despite my hard drive failing in the middle of exam season, forever destroying the class notes that I was depending on for my Income Tax class. Anyone that’s been in law school can understand that this is really a nightmare scenario. It sucked! But, I got over it and did my best. I ended up with an A- in the class, so it turned out pretty well in the end. Now it makes a good story.

As of right now I’m living in Milwaukee by myself. Jess and those cats I named this blog after are in Bloomington. Jess is working and finishing out the lease down there. I’m studying for the bar exam up here. As of this moment, neither Jess nor I have jobs lined up. This is stressful, to say the least. But we’re working hard on finding something and I believe that things will turn out well for us.

From Bloomington to Milwaukee

I will never forget the four years of life that I spent in Bloomington, Indiana. It’s a nice town with fantastic weather and good people. While in Bloomington, Jess and I bonded on ever higher levels as we were forced to deal with a variety of challenges small and large far away from our families and closest friends. While in Bloomington, I did a lot of self-examination and concluded that I wanted to work in public interest in Milwaukee, which was a monumental decision for me (I was originally thinking I’d get a career in the federal government). I discovered new passions, learned new skills, gained (a lot of) new knowledge, and learned a lot about my strengths and weaknesses. I’ll always be working on the weaknesses 🙂

During my last two years in Bloomington, I focused as much as my time allowed on the happenings and challenges of Milwaukee. There was a certain benefit from being able to do this at a distance. A lot of the emotional bias and status quo filtering that many locals will apply to Milwaukee’s issues of the day were absent. This allowed for a good, clean, educated, broad examination of Milwaukee’s assets and challenges.

That said, I’m very glad to be back. Now, I can fully integrate myself into the community and become a real part of what’s going on here. At the end of day, the statistics and trends and theories fall away. A community is experienced and its future is determined by day-to-day interactions between its residents. It’s a blessing to be a part of that again.

National Happenings

I don’t focus on national politics as much as I used to. I will say that I’m glad that health care reform passed, as something needed to be done with the woeful state of things in that arena. We’ll have to see how the new reform goes in the coming years.

Other than that, I’m pretty anxious when it comes to thinking about the future of our country. We have considerable debt issues that will inevitably force enormous changes to Social Security, Medicare, and maybe our way of living. Our higher education system is exorbitantly expensive and our K12 system is not doing well enough to keep pace with the ever more rigorous requirements of an evolving society. Energy security is becoming more important, and there’s always the threat of terrorism.

My generation came up with the images of 9/11 and we’re entering the job market during the worst recession since the Great Depression. I believe that my generation will experience change and upheaval on the level of my grandparents’ generation, and quite possibly worse. That’s a scary thought, but it also presents the opportunity of a lifetime. Progress comes at points of great peril, and I believe that my generation will have the opportunity to become the Next Greatest Generation. I’m not sure we’ll have a choice.

Miscellaneous

-Jess and I have been working on our cooking game, big time. Many new recipes and cooking styles, it’s fun stuff. And always healthier than fast food.

-My weight plateaued around the time of the last blog posting, and is at the same or similar level today. I’d love to lose another 15 or so pounds as I think this would be my ideal weight. I’m working on it, sort of. Coming back to a city that has no shortage of delicious cheese and beer is not terribly helpful. But, I did start running recently and my neighborhood is fantastic for running. So we’ll see how it goes.

-The Badgers football team had a better than expected (by me) season last season, and there are major expectations this time around. It needs to be BCS time. As for basketball, they are who they are: a team that has a formula that leaves them competitive in the Big Ten on a yearly basis, but rarely competitive in the March Madness tournament. A lot of Badgers fans seems completely content with this. I’m not, but I’ll continue to watch and root like always.