As of this month, I have lived in New York for eight years.

“Remember how you told me
I should trust you for a year?
It would just be for a year –
But it’s eight years, Albert!
Eight long years, Albert!”

“Eight years, eight years,
That’s how long I’ve wasted on him!
That’s all, I’m through.
Albert dear, to put it sweetly,
To hell with you!”

It was almost nine years ago that I stood on a stage singing these lines in Hallsville High School’s production of Bye Bye Birdie, one weekend after I auditioned for NYU.  I moved to New York a few months shy of a year later, and have lived here ever since . . .

Eight years!  So much has happened in that time.

I’ve made many many good friends who’ve enriched my life beyond what I can express with mere words.

I’ve found a church where I can really plug in and grow.

I’ve lost friends, alienated people, made enemies, and caused drama and conflict and heartache.

I’ve watched a national tragedy, an attack that started a war, happen on this tiny, crowded island.

I’ve found joy in escaping the insanity of this city.

I’ve spent summers away, reveling in the simplicity of small town Texas life but always itching to get back here.

I’ve danced up the streets in the rain.

I’ve had dreams crushed and beliefs berated and faith tested and sanity questioned.

I have known love that made my heart soar beyond my wildest dreams.

I have walked the streets sobbing through throngs of strangers who never even batted an eye, wallowing in the despair and guilt of heartache.

I have made music.

I have failed.

I’ve earned a degree and learned how to make a living without it.

I’ve had things stolen, been threatened with a restraining order, been sexually harassed, and hospitalized.

I have been to the top of the Empire State Building, and had more fun in the lower lobby.

I’ve been a tourist and a tour guide, a busker and a paper-pusher, an other and an ex, an artist and an idiot, a  student and a teacher.

I’ve strengthened bonds with family, expanded the definition, and realized that distance isn’t always the best thing.

I’ve seen good theatre, bad theatre, and mediocre theatre.

I’ve created good theatre, bad theatre, and mediocre theatre.

I have been selfish, and I have given myself away.

And most importantly:  I have learned, and I have loved.