Hello, to you all. It’s a grand time for an update. On May 5th the world tilted in my favor. It was a long time coming, but it finalized another step in my upward transition.

It’s difficult to fathom how happy I am. I’m back in Korea, working, and….I just got paid. My first paycheck in over a year. I’m on my own. At my two gigs I got ~$2200 for the month. But, and very importantly, that’s after rent, taxes and utilities. Pure pocket money. I’d roughly say that adds up to $35k/year or so. For a single guy who doesn’t care too much, that’s goddamn rock-solid. It’s hard to find people who will abandon their family, friends, culture, language and continent to teach in a different country. So we get paid well. Welcome to my adult life.

People have asked me about my personal goals recently. I’ve always been a simple person. I have never wanted children and now/forever, it would be incredibly irresponsible for me to start a family. How can I possibly provide for one when no one knows what this world is going to throw at me next? A childless life is the one for me. Currently I have about 150 kids in my educational care. I can’t imagine coming home to one of my own.

Doesn’t bother me. Always Look on the Bright Side of Life–whistle, whistle! People in real life and movies seem to always wait for their kids to grow up, move out, and then they can retire. They go off to Bali/Hawaii/wherever to bask in their ability to finally enjoy all of their accomplishments. Travel, leisure, and cocktails on an exotic beach. Uh..I already live that life. I got to it when I was 22 and I’m still going. I just want to read, play music, and travel. Those are the things that give me satisfaction and happiness. I certainly want to share my life with a special person (applications available and I’m open for business), but I also enjoy the individuality of the choices I have made. And continue to make. (Being able to make decisions sounds simple and inane, but it ain’t after The Incident or anything similar.) I don’t care for a legacy or anything like that. Never have, though I do take personal pride in my accomplishments. I prefer to be forgotten/ignored. That’s one of the reasons I love living abroad. It’s easy to single me out as a white boy, but no one knows who I am here other than my friends. Everyone else just leaves me alone. It’s glorious.

And on April 28…the Evan Number rose. I am now 34 (35 in Korean age…). I’ve outlived Alexander the Great. Many more travels than he ever had and I’ve gone through my own battles as well. It’s hard to explain how good it feels to be back on my own. My space is mine again. I make the rules. The things we strive for, that get taken away by chance (or by merciless government actors), are suddenly back in my hands, wallet and feet. And not by luck. I’ve earned them. Finally. (For now. *Crosses fingers*) I keep this emotion secret to my friends. When it randomly comes up, they often say that they are surprised at my recovery, like they can’t tell that anything was ever amiss. I’ve kept the struggle internal, and that’s what I was always aiming for. I want people to treat Evan like Evan. Not like Crippled or Broken Evan, who must be shielded from honesty. People now just treat me like a normal human. I don’t get polite laughs at my jokes, for example. My punchlines are honest, earned and deserved. (Well, when they deserve to be laughed at.)

People far too frequently take such luxuries for granted. When they’re stripped from you, you find more appreciation for the smallest things that bring you back to the individual coherence that used to be standard fare. The daily certainties that were once easily dismissed. Don’t take that shit for granted. Not a bit of it. Now it’s all crystal. Look for smiley faces in headlights. Shit that small actually DOES make a difference. If you constantly look for something, you’ll find more of it. Most people find things to dwell upon. Don’t do that. Look for the tiniest details that can elevate every moment in the slightest way. If it hurts to walk, focus on how it hurts LESS to walk today than it did yesterday, or relish in how you have learned to walk in a way that minimizes the pain. Advancement. Don’t focus on it always hurting. Find the positive. It makes a difference. Trust me on that one.

You all mean the most. I spend about four hours/day reading here, and it has always given me the community that I absolutely lack in real life. (I’m now fixing that as well.) It’s hard to express how important it all is. But onward, upwards, and always. There’s more out there for me to learn, discover and explore. I’m thankful to have folk I can chat with and open up to.

This isn’t a small thing to focus on. It’s a fundamental part of recovery. You guys (and others) have been unbelievably helpful, kind and supportive. That’s always been the biggest positive that I’ve been able to rely upon. It means everything. Please keep writing and sharing. We all read and are fascinated by what you know and what you’re able to share. My story is a severe example of someone talking about a stubbed toe. All of y’all got far more expertise in shit that’s more profound than anything I produce.

Thank you for it all. It matters. It means a lot. A shattered skull and more haven’t stopped me and won’t. Though it’s insanely difficult, you all are going through your own tribulations. Try and focus on the upside and achieve what you desire, one step at a time. Just waking up and brushing your teeth can be the victory for the day. No one can take that away. It’s yours. It’s earned. Getting on your feet is a win. Fighting back is an extra pleasure that adds flavor.

Looking at my tone, it’s clear that I’m a very competitive person. I never boast and am never a sore loser, but I desperately want to win. I hate losing more than I like winning. My game is Evan vs. Death, and right now I’m so far in the lead that that bitch must be weak-kneed from His futile attempts to stifle this cocky, insubordinate, and overly-adventurous boy. He’s given me His A-Game and I was still able to turn the tables. I don’t welcome the next attack in His arsenal, but I’m prepared for future assaults. I know that He’s eventually gonna get the last laugh, but I’ve already made it this far. He must be most upset at how unconcerned that I am about it all, and how much effort it’s taken Him. That’s why no one around me notices that I’m no longer an invalid grasping on to life.

This is a big rung up the ladder, but it’s only one of many. However, it is vital to recognize the accomplishments along the journey and know you need to further dive into the mire. I ain’t done yet. Otherwise, it’s easy to get frightened, to sink and dwell on all the negatives you feel.

Right now I am going through a transformative period in my life. Every day I focus on my primary goals. Not today, Death. Not now. Not this way. You come at King Evan and you best not miss. So far I’ve deflected all blows, no matter how devious and painful they were.

Bring it on, bitch. I ain’t shook. I know you’ll win eventually, but I’m gonna wear out that arm of yours until you no longer think I’m worth the motherfucking effort.

I’m still on my feet and kicking. And I’m still young, fit and relatively cute. This all despite the crevices in my skull that anyone who feels them gets shocked at. (I love watching their faces.)  And I thank all of you for the impossible-to-express help and outlet you’ve given me. It ain’t nothing by any stretch of the imagination.

Soldier on. Grab whatever you can out of this life and cherish it. It ain’t easy, but the hardest fought battles are the ones you celebrate the most. Right now, with my earned money being deposited, I can stand on my ladder of ascension with pride. It ain’t over and probably never will be. I’m going to enjoy life as much as I can. I don’t know what tomorrow’s going to hold for me. But for this moment and this breath, I bask in having an interesting life.  My refusal to perish and my desire to succeed solidifies how all the difficult struggles I’ve been through are merely stepping stones that I grow from and can depend on. If this didn’t stop me, what possibly can?

I know I’ll find out one day. But not now. You all helped give me sanity and foundation to build upon. Moving forward, the ball’s in my court. The fun of the game is knowing how to navigate the adversity your rival throws at you.

Bring it on, Death. I know I’m gonna do the same and I ain’t gonna go easily. This recognition gives this Soldier the strength, ability and wisdom to fight back at every turn. But to give Him such credit only gives Him more power and credence. I reject His authority. I just want to be Evan for as long as I can, and I’m not done yet.

Thank you for reading. This battle ain’t over yet. But goddamn, I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time. Rest well and keep on fighting. Believe me. It’s all worth it, especially if it’s hard in the moment. That’s how you know it’s worth seeing it out.