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.