obligatory year-end review

Posted: December 31, 2012

so i've been wanting to write more and i go through the day thinking about things to share... but getting to the point of actually writing is the difficult part... so what better motivation to get me writing than the close of the year and the procrastinator's spirit to get it in before the year changes!

a week or so back, at a small group gathering, my friend peter encouraged us to take a moment and reflect on the year before it becomes a blur... to think about what was significant this year and even perhaps to make a statement like "twenty twelve was the year where i learned [insert big life lesson]" or "if i could sum up the year in a word, it would be [word]".

it wasn't difficult for me to immediately come up with the answer: "twenty twelve was a year of transitions and new beginnings"...

this past year was my first year of marriage.

marriage is difficult, but i'm very grateful for the support of our family and friends for coming into our lives when we needed it, and giving us space to work out our new life together. for me one of the more difficult changes was taking a "break" from ministry work. for years i was so engrossed in my campus ministry work that taking an extended break from it was difficult. i had to almost chant a mantra to myself so that i could suppress the urge to go to every campus fellowship event or to visit a leaders training meeting (which i used to take a very active part in). part of me ached to see my students that i poured so much of my time and energies into (i was pretty much a mid-twenties adult, living on the sleep schedule of an undisciplined freshmen student... so yes i was more or less up at the weee hours of the morning to be present in the lives of the students i cared so much for). my work/ministry, as warned my in premarital counseling, really was the mistress in my life that had competed for my affections.

of course this wasn't the only change due to marriage... some big habit changes that i'm still struggling and learning... like putting things back in their place, cleaning X Y and Z regularly... coming home at a reasonable time... or at least communicating to my wife when i would be late... i can't splurge on a new tech or buy a new gadget on a whim.... etc. i think if i were single, i would look at the list i just wrote and be like "wow. that kinda sucks." and honestly i think there is a little of that thinking even now but one thing i'm learning to appreciate is that marriage really forces one to grow up... it forces me to think beyond my self-centeredness and all my wants and consider the needs of family. yes maybe i won't have the immediate glee of unboxing a new ____________ but honestly, do i really need __________? trust me, providing for a family has a deeper and longer-lasting joy than getting a new gadget.

i moved from 12 years living in manhattan to an immigrant community in woodside, queens.

ever since i moved to new york in august of 1998 (SURPRISE! I'M NOT ORIGINALLY FROM NEW YORK!), i've lived in the chelsea area (not including four years where i lived on campus at columbia... but that's still manhattan!). i loved that i could go out at more or less any hour and grab a bite to eat... or go out to meet with friends and expect a five minute transit time. when i started biking, the city became even smaller; i could make it down to chinatown in 12 minutes or bike over to the east side in even less. moving to woodside pretty much made that convenience... well... much much less convenient. going out involved considering the time it would take to come back... infrequent trains... weather to bike in... etc. it's been a long road learning to appreciate my neighborhood... honestly i still feel "new" to the neighborhood because there isn't that much of a community here; it really is kinda... ghetto... not too friendly on some corners and the closest i've seen to community is at the laundromat where i could see that there were "regulars" (strangely that's probably one of the things i miss most since getting a washer-dryer).

anyway there are some things that take getting used to in queens. one is that people drive... having a car in manhattan is just silly; in queens, not so silly. as much as we wanted to resist becoming car owners, it made sense after the baby. i also noticed shortly after moving here that people seemed... mmm... less "driven". to be fair i'd say they're driven by different things. in manhattan i felt like i was surrounded by people who wanted to be the next steve jobs... or people who wanted to create the next instagram... yet in queens, most working people just want to provide for their families. maybe because i encountered more families. driven for their families...

i left my church of 8 years to join a church plant in flushing queens.

for people that know me, you'd see how this was kinda a big deal. i already wrote above in length about my "ministry identity", but more so, the people in my church were people who i shared life with. i've always had a love-hate relationship with my church. i butted heads with leaders there and there were many aspects of my church that really bothered me... yet at the same time it was these tensions that helped shape me. i loved the passion of my last church and its active engagement with the lives of its people. i think it's hard to find a church that's a good fit in new york... remnant and i weren't perfect together (what is on this side of heaven?) but it was my home... leaving anywhere that has been home for eight years is tough.

the new church is a lot of work. a lot of younger people and a handful of other couples. it's only just beginning but i'm excited at the potential. new church is not just new for me... but new for us. it's the first time steph and i attended the same church. you'll probably hear more about this in 2013... we've only existed for about 2 months...

i'm a father!

this is easily the biggest change. the other changes i could somewhat guess and mentally prepare for but i could not prepare myself for fatherhood... it kinda just comes--and it's awesome. i'm a very proud father to a beautiful girl, Rehema Grace Yung. it has been such a joy watching her grow and get fat. look at her here at her first checkup:


and look at this recent photo of her in her bath:


(she's only 2 months old)

anyway, i think i've become that guy who can't stop posting pictures of his kid. i'm just such a proud dad! we recently attended a 1-yr celebration for another baby in our church and looking at all the pictures and videos, i can't wait for the next year with Rehema.

anyway. that's my quick year review. looking forward to 2013!