Looking back...

Dan84's picture

It's literally been years since my last journal entry, and it feels a little strange being back here on Oasis. This was the place where all my anxieties about growing up into a young gay man played out. I realize how much this community of writers really helped me, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

It also feels very strange looking back, reading all my anxieties about sex, love, coming out, and sexual identity. I've come a long way in so many ways, but in other ways it seems like I could have written some of the same things yesterday. Many of the entries I read date back about five years ago, when I was the most active here on Oasis.

When I see how far I've come in just five years, I think it's amazing. I've graduated from university with my BA and B.Ed., and I'm currently living in South Korea. I'm an English teacher here at a public school! At this point, I've been in Korea for almost a year and a half, and I speak conversational Korean. If you had told me five years ago that this is where I would be in five years, I wouldn't believe it: living in an apartment in Seoul, away from everybody back in Toronto, Canada... It's become part of my daily reality, but when I do reflect on where I am, I do think it's really incredible.

In other ways, I haven't come very far, and that's disappointing. I'm still very shy and not into the gay scene anywhere, so I haven't had all that many experiences with guys. I've been lucky that the guys I HAVE had experiences with have been really really hot/cute, so I guess I should be grateful at the quality, if not the quantity. Internet dating has overall yielded disappointing results, though I did meet the guy with whom I lost my virginity there, and again, he was REALLY hot: tall, blonde, muscles everywhere... :D

Getting back on track: I also think it's amazing that Oasis is still chugging along, and for that I'm grateful, since I know many young people will find solace, support, and great advice among the community that populates it. I know I certainly did, so a big thank you to whoever's running the site now-- I believe it's Jeff Walsh, right? Thank you, Jeff! And while I'm on the topic, a big thank you to Adrian, who was the guy who ran the site when I was active on here. While I guess he's not on here much anymore, I know many people benefited from his admin many years ago.

I'm also very grateful that old accounts aren't deleted, since it was great taking a little walk down memory lane, through all my posts. It was also great going through my old private messages box, where I could see messages from all the other young people I communicated with during that very tumultuous part of my life (one of which I'm very much still in touch with to this day). So please: if you could keep old accounts active, I'm sure others would be grateful, too. It really is like finding a treasure you had forgotten about.

I'm really curious to know what all the people with whom I had communicated are up to. Probably most grew up to be fairly well-adjusted young people, since they had the other members of Oasis to help guide them. If they could look back on their journals, they'd probably laugh at all the forgotten crushes, school embarrassments, and other tempests in a teapot that seemed like such a big deal at the time. Again, such is the joy of writing: it leaves evidence of thought that can be looked at again and again for as long as the original remains in existence.

I don't know when I will next visit Oasis: it could be tomorrow, it could be next week, or it may not be for another five years. But it was a real bittersweet pleasure looking back, and once again I am thankful to the current admin, the admin that walked before, and all the other young people who made this writing community such an Oasis in a strange land.


niks121997's picture


I'm glad to hear that things are going well for you! It's interesting thinking about personal growth and development and how you can end up in unexpected places. As for areas where you haven't come as far, that's perfectly okay as life is a series of decisions, room to grow, change, etc. We are constantly moving, changing, and learning. You're doing pretty well for yourself. :)

Looking back or forward has a way of putting things in perspective, doesn't it?

will's picture

Thanks Dan, for coming back

Thanks Dan, for coming back to visit, bringing this heartfelt post! And big shout out to us Torontians! My English teacher used teach in Korea as well. According to her, sometimes they can over-worship Westerners, do they? If you happen to teach in my school someday, can you give me all 90s? :P Jokes! Hm... It'd be funny though LOL Glad you are doing great right now, and huge thanks goes to Jeff too! =)

Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

5thstory's picture

Hey, that was a very nice

Hey, that was a very nice post. It's great to hear about life taking you to unexpected places- and growing, changing, evolving. I hope things keep on getting better for you, and thanks for visiting the website again and making this post.

" . . . The sun does not shine upon this fair earth to meet frowning eyes, depend upon it." Charles Dickens

Dan84's picture

The joy of finding comments

Ah yes, now I remember the joy of writing a journal entry and finding comments. It explains why in my old journal entries I was so insistent that everybody who read my journal leave a comment (and by "insistent" I mean "wrote half-joking threats against people who viewed without commenting").

niks - a familiar face! Wow, thanks for your thoughts. Yeah, I agree that taking a moment to look at where we've been, as well as where we hope to go, is a good exercise in gaining some perspective. And of course, since the present is so good at keeping us crazy-busy-occupied, it's something most of us (yours truly included) don't do often enough. Then again, dwelling in the past or looking towards a future that hasn't been reached yet are things only good in small doses, too...

will - Of course I could give you all 90`s! But once again, looking back, I realize that my best teachers were the ones who graded my work sternly and didn`t part with A`s easily, since they`re the ones who kept me struggling to improve... OK, I know you didn`t need that lecture, but what can I say, even on Sundays the teacher in me comes out. Anywho, thanks for the kind words. Oh, and for the record, yes, there can be a kind of awed reverence in Korea for Western things (music, movies, pop stars), and most language schools here prefer to recruit foreign teachers who `look`Western (i.e. blonde hair, blue eyes...). But, I also get the sense Korea is starting to get past a lot of that...

5thstory - thanks to you, too. Again, don`t know how often I`ll visit, but it`s nice to feel welcomed back.

will's picture

I feel

like calling you a Mr. =) I love lectures, and you are definitely right about the benefit of having a stern teacher. Easy teachers can sometimes be taken advantagedof /fooled by students, or at least that's what I like to do :P And it's good to hear they are getting past the foreign fetish.

Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

niks121997's picture


Dwelling or forward looking for large periods of time is not terribly beneficial. After all, wherever you go, there you are. Immersed in the middle of the world as it is now, not in the past or future, and left to ideally blaze your own trail so to speak.

I will say that although I definitely write less for comments now, I am always pleasantly surprised to read others' comments on my writing. It is lovely to feel acknowledged. :)

newt's picture

Welcome back Dan. You've

Welcome back Dan. You've never seemed to be active since I joined until now, but that's fine. Good to see you here again. :D
Two wrongs make a right...winger.

jeff's picture

Welcome back...

Yep, I'm still here.

We don't delete old accounts, although when I do the update, I do plan to delete unused accounts and, of course, spam accounts. But people who post legitimate stuff will always be safe to return and read their old stuff.

And I still have all the Oasis content from 1995 until this system on my hard drive, and I should get that back into the system at some point, too.

"People who are happy are slugs... They do not move the human race forward."
-- Camille Paglia, on Oasis