Derik Cowan

December 1999

Coming Around Again

Over the past few days, I've been working on my website again, trying to get back into the swing of the reworking I started over a year ago and somehow never got around to finishing. Anyway, a whim led me to take a look at all the sites to which mine was linked, and of course I returned to Oasis for the first time in a year.

I was astonished to look in the current issue (November) and realize that I didn't know any of the writers. I suppose I shouldn't be. After all, most of the writers I co-wrote with/read at the beginning of Oasis have, like me, grown older, made changes in our lives, and found our lives wrapped up in other things. So I went back looking through the last six months of issues. I noticed Troy's still here, but otherwise...even Emily Rizzo who I considered a constant solid in Oasis has moved on, it seems. Ah well. Before I get disgustingly nostalgic, for the "good old days of Oasis a year ago (go ahead, call me granther, I *am* 24 after all), I thought I'd run through my year.

Actually, the past year has been sort of amazing, the sort of year that has convinced me that belief is a powerful thing. I'm not talking religious faith per se--although I suppose that's encompassed--I'm talking the belief that once such and so happens, everything will suddenly fall into place. For me, somehow I'd managed to sublimate the fact that most gay youth organizations offer services to youth through the age of 24 into the fact that at 24 years old, one suddenly became an adult and the problems of youth sort of fade away. For me, the past year has certainly proven that as fact.

At the beginning of the year, I got a promotion at work--from salesperson to manager/buyer for my store--a job that comes with not only a decent salary, but health benefits, vacation, and a certain amount of travelling to various trade shows. It also meant a lot more responsibility and longer hours, which has cut into my free time quite a bit--my excuse for not having written in a year or having fixed up my homepage. Management has also meant I was able to divert different resources to things that were important to me--through the store I've been able to donate to a number of causes that I find important, including LYRIC here in San Francisco. Somehow giving money wasn't something I thought I'd find myself doing so soon.

Then this summer I finally managed to save up enough money to get an apartment with a college friend of mine who had moved out to San Francisco. After 5 years of drifting, living on the charity of others, etc., finally having a home of my own brings an amazing sense of security that I've missed, even though it's not something I'd really thought about when I didn't have my own place. Again though, having my own place has brought another set of responsibilities--not only paying rent, but buying my own food, paying my own bills. It's enough to make one feel, well, adult.

So with all this adultish feeling swarming around me, I find myself looking at this article trying to decide if this is an end or a new start. When I first started writing for Oasis, it was part of my recovery--I was at a point where talking through issues helped me clarify them in my mind, and perhaps show others who were going through the same troubles I was that they weren't alone, and could make it through as well. Then I wrote because I liked writing essays and being political. But when I began running out of topics to write about, I thought I'd try advice. The only problem is, I don't tend to think of myself as a true fount of all knowledge, and I tend to worry that I'm spouting platitudes when I try to give advice. So what's next for me? I don't know. We shall see.


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