1988 was a year of big decisions in my life. Decisions that completely changed my life. I left an old life behind and started anew. This geek list is dedicated to the people I've met in the last 25 years that have made my life wonderful.
I had a great job at Barnett Bank in Jacksonville Florida. I took a job at Barnett Bank of Atlanta. I left many friends in Jacksonville. Thankfully I made new friends at my new bank especially Roseann Duran. We discovered new restaurants and went to plays and movies and just generally had a great time. She was the first new friend of my new life.
I had no idea where to go in Atlanta to meet gay people so I literally looked up "gay" in the telephone book and found the Atlanta Gay Center. I formed a "coming out" support group and made my first gay friends, Robert, Gary, Perry, Cliff and Joe.
I left Barnett Bank to join a Management Consulting Firm where I worked for 12 years. This job really opened up my world. I travelled all over the country and had a great career. And most importantly I met a man who would become my mentor, Jim McGarvey, one of the owners of the company. I'll never have a business friend that will mean as much to me as Jim.
Along with the beard came my discovery of the world of bears. Big hairy gay guys that are attracted to big hairy gay guys. I went to bear runs and met bear friends from all over the country, many of whom are still friends 20 years later.
BenchMark was sold and I decided this was a good time to go back and finish my Bachelor's degree. I studied Math and Sociology but ended up majoring in Marketing as I wanted to change careers to either Market Research or Advertising.
So I worked for 3 different market research firms over the next several years, doing 3 different types of research. First was 3D virtual shopping research, next was more traditional survey driven research and 3rd was Useability research. Made some great friends along the way, Carlos being the main one I have stayed in touch with since he is a gamer.
Around 2003 I started having problems with my nerves which led to a bottom for me in 2005 which was definitely the most challenging year of my life. But the nadir was what would lead me to two things which have changed my life.
The first was pottery. I started pottery classes in the fall of 2005 and have been making and selling pottery ever since. My pottery teacher Jewel is still a great friend and I have made many other potter friends through the next 7 years.
The second of course was the discovery of the gaming community. Definitely the most exciting and incredible occurrence of the past 8 years. From the time I walked into the first Atlanta Board Game Group gathering at The Loop to my first Atlanta Game Fest in 2006 (I'll be attending my latest one this week). How many dozens of friends I have made from coast to coast. I really think of these people as my family. They make me very happy.
Change is good or so I've been told. My decision 25 years ago to change my life has proven to be a good one. I do miss people from my old life, but I have people now who love me as me and for all them I am very grateful.