We Love You, Derek

May 4, 2012

Derek K. Miller's 41st Birthday Party

Thinking about this, this and this, lately.

One of the earliest memories of attending conferences and developer meetups between 2007-2010, is meeting Derek K. Miller and many other wonderful people involved with the Drupal, Web Developers, Responsive Web Design and Flickr community in Vancouver.

I’m grateful for everyone who shared their vision with a lost and wandering twenty-something me, and continue to do so whenever I pop my head out from the proverbial White Rabbit’s hole of academia. Derek was one of the few people in these many communities that I implicitly trusted and looked up to, in a sea of strangers-acquaintances making their way in this world.

During this instance one year ago, I was very brokenhearted after a breakup.. and was very quiet on the topic of the relationship with social acquaintances, friends, co-workers and classmates for approximately 3-4 months following the crisis.

Derek lost his battle with cancer, several of my girlfriends suffered in car accidents, unexpected pregnancies and abortions, leaving drug-abusive relationships and deaths occurring within their own family household. I felt that the end of a relationship, my reasoning for attending grad school, and questioning my raison d’être: as a designer, as a photographer, as a daughter, and as a human being meant nothing in the wake of mortality.

It was not a pleasant experience for me to shift perspectives and question the rationality of human existence, as we know it. What is life, but a simulation of reality based on sensations?

I am grateful to Andrew Haw, Karen Lo, and Rob Liv, among quite a few others, who patiently listened to my woes. Self-blame and self-forgiveness, in both friendships and relationships, is a slippery slope to conquer. This is something important that I am still confronting each and every day since, then.

I have learned that it is necessary to recognize the past patterns of negative behaviours with friends and alike, acute observations of human nature to satisfying psychological needs, trusting my instincts, and learning to let go of each experience with the lesson in hand, I am aware now that this is a struggle that continues on daily occurrence. Life does not end at twenty-five.

Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long.

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.
Walt Disney

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