A Year End Review

 

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What an eventful year it has been!  I am so grateful to Facebook which reminds me that one of my biggest events this year was purchasing a shirt displaying a cat in an astronaut (a cat-stronaut, if you will) suit. #blessed

Similar to the individual who writes the family updates, this year-end summary will be written in the first and third person perspective.  Keep in mind, the same person is being talked about the whole time (Matt).

Like most people his age, Matt decided to start a blog this year.  Unlike most people, he has managed to write more than five posts without relapsing and going the way of most New Year’s resolutions.  Originally, he wanted to be featured on the many LDS web sites to “go viral.”  Now he realizes that to be featured, you must make obscure references on how being LDS is like [insert pop culture reference here], or make absurd, eye-rolling lists.  Refusing to lower his writing abilities to these levels, he now uses blatant sarcasm to make fun of these same things.

Having seen his writing skills improve with each post, he became inspired to write a memoir of his life – until he realized that no one wants to read about the time he stuck two rocks in his ear, or when he sliced his butt open while working in a kitchen.

In April, I concluded a 7-year road to obtain a 4-year degree and graduated with a degree in finance (pronounced “fin”-ance by graduates to appear more mature (pronounced ma-tour by old people)).  Although I was constantly made fun of by both students and teachers for my decision to go more into nonprofits, that hasn’t stopped BYU from continually asking for donations.  My friends who graduated in film and humanities have yet to be solicited.

Matt has decided to pursue a career in healthcare administration and has been spending the year working towards that goal.  In March, he attended the ACHE Congress (which means nothing to most people) and had the opportunity to brown-nose with some of the biggest names and leaders in healthcare.  Unfortunately, most of these people will not remember him due to the fact there was an open bar during the closing banquet.  While the leaders of large healthcare systems and the deciders of national health policies were getting plastered and saying things they’d regret later, the straight-laced Mormon kid stood in the corner finishing off the hors d’oeuvres.

I had the opportunity to travel to Asia this summer for business and pleasure.  To avoid swarms of Asian women (and ladyboys) attempting to come back with me to the States, I shaved my head.  It wasn’t until I arrived that I realized my mistake: I am Caucasian and hair had nothing to do with it.  Being able to maneuver out of some potentially compromising situations, I made it back to America single and alone.

Despite putting it off as long as possible, Matt has finally embraced adulting (not to be confused with adultering).  After he returned from Asia, he subscribed to the Wall Street Journal to become a more informed citizen, was hired at SelectHealth, dresses up for work, and listens to NPR during the commute.  His friends still in school have noticed these differences and do not like who he has become.  It’s a good thing he is making new friends twice his age at work.  Now instead of discussing things such as dating and marriage with his old friends, he now talks about the shifting political climate, pet health, appliances, and health insurance.  He lives an exciting life now.

It has been a good year.  I have my health, family, and a new recipe for Oreo Truffles.  This time next year, I will be in graduate school based out of either Washington, Texas, or Alabama with my shiny new gift from Uncle Sam: $100,000 in student loans!

Singing Hymns and Hymns about Him,

Matt

Even More Stuff BYU People Like

This is the stunning conclusion to the trilogy that no one really asked for, but got anyways.  It’s like the Transformer movies.  No one really likes them, but they’re popular and people keep showing up so they keep getting made.  Really the only difference is I don’t waste my $200 million budget (I also don’t have a $200 million budget).  Despite the many stereotypes and culture I so fondly make fun of, I really have enjoyed my time spent here.  That being said, I highly look forward to leaving next year.  Can you imagine anything worse than being a single, white male living in Provo, UT at age 26?*

Husband/Wife Titles

Dating is so much fun.**  Couples meet, fall in love, and before you know it, two weeks have gone by and they’re ready to tie the knot.  Many people are familiar with the custom of the woman taking the man’s last name, but the couple also unknowingly enters into their own custom of never referring to each other by name again.

Try initiating a conversation with the spouse of a former best friend and take notice.  A common conversation could proceed as:

“I was talking with my husband the other day and….”

“Oh, you mean Chris?”

“Yes, my husband.”

“We’ve clarified that.”

Or

“My wife is the best!” She can…”

“You mean Sarah?

“Ya! She’s my wife!”

“It’s been 4 years.  Please stop.”

Another common outlet for this sort of thing is through social media, the perfect platform for humble bragging about how your nameless husband or wife is better than everyone else’s.  Besides using the husband and wife title, many people will go to great lengths to avoid using their spouse’s name by using other synonyms (these have actually been used):

  • Hunk
  • Handsome face
  • Stud
  • Sexy specimen (unisex)
  • Bae
  • Magic-princess
  • Apple of my eye
  • Pizza of my pie
  • Hubby
  • Wifey (also wifey-poo)
  • Schnooky lumps
  • Favorite companion
  • Handsome hiker
  • Dreamboat
  • Honey
  • Love-muffin
  • Sugar
  • Sugarplum (?)
  • And a slew of other food terms.

I know these people are just happy to be out of the single pool.  But the next time someone wants you to #SavetheDate, just remind them to #SavetheName.

There’s also a lot to be said between the unspoken competition between couples.  But i’ll let the hashtags speak for themselves:

  • #wehavebetterdatesthanyou
  • #myhusbandiscuterthanyours
  • #marriedlife
  • #youshouldtryit
  • #mylifeisgreat
  • #marriedlifeisthebest
  • #[insertcouplecelebritynamehere,[currentyear]]
  • #winning

Photography

Provo is a fantastic hub for photographers.  There will always be a constant supply of customers needing pictures for engagements, weddings, baby pictures, mission pictures***, and roommate portraits.  Many people have begun to see the earning potential in such a job and have invested heavily (or just upgraded) in the newest IPhone.

Personal digital cameras are becoming a rarity, because who doesn’t have a cell phone camera already capable of taking fantastic pictures?  If not for the older generation, who just got used to the transition from film cameras, this industry would be no more.  Why carry around a separate camera when a phone can do all the same things?  While watching the annual Apple Conference, your dreams to become an above average photographer were bolstered when Tim Cook focused on the newest camera with its new image signal processor, advanced pixel technology, improved local tone mapping, and optical image stabilization (this description is directly from the Apple website).  Most people don’t know what this means.  But it doesn’t matter because you saw the demo pictures this camera can take and have been inspired.

Once you get the new phone, you need to begin assembling a clientele.  Making another Instagram account is effective! Usually with the format [First name,Last name, “Photograhy”].  Post a few of the pictures you have taken of like that beautiful sunset last night, or the first day of skiing (please see previous post about Utah Weather).  The added filters will show that you know what you’re doing and know your stuff.  Why would anyone spend money on editing software when you can do it on your phone for free (occasionally you may need to purchase filter packs to appeal to a wider audience: $5-10)?

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Start small – with something that can’t give you negative feedback

The next step is to solicit your friends and family to let you take pictures of them.  Couples with new babies are a great place to start since it’s an opportunity to show off their baby even more.  Beat around the issue of cost.  But don’t be so presumptuous as to ask for money yet.  They have their own IPhones they could be taking these pictures with after all.  If they are willing to pay you, then congratulations! That should get you another filter pack.

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Coworkers will let you take their picture if it doesn’t interfere with lunch

If you decide to upgrade to a DSLR camera, you either know what you’re doing, or you’ve decided it adds credibility.  Unless you are willing to fork out more money for editing software, you will lose all your clients.  That enhanced resolution will bring out bad complexions which filters just cannot hide.

Keep in mind, if you plan on staying in Provo forever, your clients will grow up, move on, and do adult things.  So constantly be on the lookout for new clients/friends.

 

*The last piece of pie, the same Maroon 5 song on every radio station, and three guys riding a scooter to the gym are all worse things than being a single, white male living in Provo, UT at age 26.

**No, it’s not.

***Make sure the sisters bring their mission’s country/state flag to wrap up in!