Bio

[EDIT: As of  8/25/15, I am 30 years old. This page is due for an update. And perhaps a retcon or two.]

My name is Ian. I was born in Austin TX, in August 1985. That puts me at 28 years old today, presuming I’ve updated this page recently enough. I’ve got two parents who are still together, and an older brother who is cool. Once for a couple of years, I also had a cat, er sort of.

My childhood was about as interesting as most. I liked to draw. I always liked to think. Sometimes I thought way too hard for a little kid. I made cool little sculptures and neato toys out of pipe cleaners. I got hit by a car but came out mostly unscathed. I had a Bar Mitzvah at 13. I liked girls starting in kindergarten, but could never get one to like me until I was quite a bit older. I was hard on myself a lot. I made some good friends. I loved to swim. I did a few summer camps at Dougherty Arts Center, and fell in love with computer graphics.

I found a good crowd in high school through rock climbing. I got some social legs under me, gradually. I got into ping pong, and started a legendary pong club at Westlake High. I started dating a girl my junior year. She broke my heart, but I got over it. I did digital design stuff all through high school. I dated another girl senior year, which didn’t last, but went a lot smoother. I imagined I would have a career in digital design, then I realized that would mean sitting in front of a computer all the time.

I went to the University of Texas, in Austin, and the world started to open up to me. I fumbled around for a major, sampling from the Colleges of Communication, Natural Sciences, and finally Liberal Arts. I chose Linguistics for my major, because it is utterly badass. It has not been the wisest career move, by any stretch, but I’ve done alright just the same. Meanwhile, I made a new set of great friends, and we started to grow up together. I dated a very cool girl that was into climbing, but we broke up after a year. I became neurotically obsessed with ultralight backpacking. I ran the UT Table Tennis club for a little while, and then I disbanded it. I threw the frisbee a whole whole lot. I became great at Halo.

At some point I had determined that God was all made up, and my Jewish upbringing was just rubbish and tradition, and meanwhile I was also certain that all Christians were stupid and bigoted. Then later, my junior year at UT, I met some Christians who turned out to be surprisingly cool … much to my bewilderment, consternation, and desperate curiosity. They found me at the right time, and in the right way. I was surprised by what I found beating under their skin. After about a year of knowing them, I decided I would be a Christian too. Or rather, that I would begin to get to know Jesus, himself, up close. Things pretty much accelerated after that.

I worked at an outdoor adventure camp, leading backpacking trips and talking about Jesus outdoors, and had the summer of my life. I fell for another girl who broke my heart, and she was much harder to get over, but again things worked out eventually. I went into a rebound relationship, but luckily had the sense to cut it off quick. I graduated from college early. I interned with that same group of Christians at UT for a few months. I led a mission trip to Houston that was eye-opening. I mentored a group of younger guys that have become like brothers to me, growing and cutting our teeth on the world together. Then in mid 2008, the college life suddenly ran out of mile markers.

At last off the beaten track, I wondered what to do with myself, and was restless. Then, I went on the World Race — a year-long rite of passage, a mission trip around the world. I started to grow up a lot, and my priorities changed. On the Race I began to heal from things I never knew were hurting; I started to really care for other people and see their stories as precious; I began to love.

I came home staggered, and took some time to reassemble, and wait. I did a documentary filmmaking apprenticeship in Colorado Springs, and got to shoot for 10 days in northern Iraq. My affinity grew for the Middle East. I came back to Austin, for good this time. I settled into the Hampton House, a co-op community of Christian students and 20-somethings. I worked for Bananarchy for a year. I dated another amazing girl for a while, and we thought we’d go overseas together, but broke up after a year. I quit Bananarchy, and worked as a pedicab driver for an autumn.

I wondered if this was how things were supposed to go. The part-time lifestyle wasn’t working out, so I took my first real job at Volusion, my first step into a strangely-normal working existence that I never thought I’d have. I tried to do a good job at Volusion, and succeeded at least some of the time. Things went well there. I dated yet another amazing girl for a little while, but she left the country.

I moved out of the Hampton House and started a new community, the Argosy Project. I learned a lot about how to foster connectedness, passion, purpose … or how to lead something. I learned more of what I’m good at, and not good at, and what I really care about. I reconnected with the World Race community after being home for more than 2 years. My heart came loud and alive again. I met Nicole around the same time, another World Racer from a different squad than mine. Once things got started, I fell for her quickly. Asked her to marry me a little while later, in June 2012. She said yes.

In August 2012 I took a solo trip to New Mexico, unscripted and wide open. I ended up in a monastery for a couple of days, wondering yet again if this was how things were supposed to go. I had a concentrated dose of solitude, and the voice of the Lord was lucid and sharp for just a moment. I need to get back out there.

I got into investment and lifestyle optimization kind of stuff via Mr Money Mustache. I dreamt for a while of achieving some measure of financial independence as a way of opting out of the daily grind of our culture. In so doing I became aware of my own ironic addiction to the consumptive habits that I try to eschew.

We had a totally badass wedding in February 2013. It was the best day of my life. Surrounded by music, energy, hope, love, and connection. We discovered that day that we were wealthy beyond our wildest dreams, in the people that wanted to celebrate that moment with us.

This year, 2013, has been a whirlwind of transition. We were married in February. I started a new job at Blue Fish in April. Nicole started at Noonday in June. In August we bought our first house in north Austin — somewhat of a fixer-upper, with an enormous park-like back yard.

At the time of this writing, nearing the end of 2013, it is plainly evident that we have been undeservedly, abundantly, richly blessed. We have friends, family, home, health, vocation, and joy. Our chief challenge now is to not get sucked into the shallow-minded everyday race of Western meta-narrative; to somehow sidestep the alluring middle-class hamster wheel dream — because surely these things will compete for more and more of our attention.

Our challenge now is to give thanks for these things, continue to look for Jesus as he shows Himself to us, and be ready to follow wherever that path leads.

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