More and more, I find myself feeling a little older and a little wiser. With the holidays behind us and new year ahead, I’ve had a chance to look back at the year and came up with a few thoughts on life.
#1: We are always exactly where we need to be
I’m a firm believer that your career finds you. As a teenager and young adult, your job is to keep learning skills, stay open minded and put yourself out there. By sticking to these basic principles, I found myself go from a budding photographer to an art director to my latest career, a high school photo teacher. As a young person, I never imagined I would have either of my two most significant jobs but here I am and this isn’t the last stop, I’m actually looking to get into administration in the near future.
Your career should challenge you and when it doesn’t fulfill your needs, it’s time to move on or figure out a way to avoid complacency. Always be thankful where you are, even if you’re a broke 25 year old college grad borrowing your grandma’s car to work your shitty part time job. It gets better as long as you keep a positive attitude and keep at it.
#2: Outside Influences Often Change
Disclaimer: This is from a highly subjective lens as I grew up middle class with amazing parents and regardless of the fierce individualism that supposedly defines my generation, I know that my trajectory is not uncommon at all.
When you’re a kid, your immediate family is your everything. It’s all you know.
You, your sibling(s) and your parents live in a little bubble that ends at the park down the street and sometimes you go to grandma’s house where she slips you a twenty and says, ” don’t tell your parents.”
When I was this age, life was so simple and amazing. Everything my parents said was law and my life scope was that whatever happened within my home and that was how everyone else did things too.
As I got older, I started to discover more of the world. Sleeping over at friend’s houses opened my eyes to the fact that every house was different. What else was different about their homes and lives when I wasn’t there? At the time, I couldn’t understand that everyone being different was the norm. My little brain couldn’t comprehend that there was no singular way of doing anything. I remember wondering about who were the weird ones, them or us?
Into my teens, my friends influence over me was monumental. I didn’t consider myself a follower of bad influences, but what I mean is that spending time with my friends and understanding and envying how they viewed the world really impacted me. Different foods, living situations, styles and music. I’m sure at this time in my life, I was a real shit to my brother and parents as I began to reject the life of my childhood for no real reason other than hormones and teenage angst. I was willing to listen to good influences but I was tired of hearing it from my parents.
This is something that I think many people go through as they make their way through high school. Friends opinions were everything. However, I did find some solace in specific teachers (Shout out to Ms. Whittington) and this is what I’m trying to be now that I’m in the same position for young people I work with.
In my early 20’s, I leaned really heavy into my circle of friends. It was easy, I lived with my best friends for years as roommates. Life was simple again. Bullshit, party, surf, road trips, repeat. Admittedly, I stayed in this mode of thinking for a little longer than I care to be proud of but see #1 above. It was so easy to want this lifestyle to last forever and I think I just wanted to prolong the magic a little longer. I remember knowing then that these would be my lifelong friends and these memories would the ones that I would cherish most. My family was so awesome but I just couldn’t see it because I was too blinded by the endless opportunities of the world.
But as people grow up, friends drift in and out as life becomes a bit more rigid. People get “real” jobs, significant others become more significant and staying out late at night just sounds awful.
It was at this time, that I fulfilled my destiny as the prodigal son by coming back into the fold of my family. What was previously uncool was still uncool by any standard but I began to embrace it, and the more I did that, the cooler it became.
As a early 30’s busybody, I find myself married with a wonderful wife and a kid on the way. I love seeing all my friends and family but there’s a time limit to the tomfoolery. There really isn’t anyone on this planet besides Caitlyn that I could hang with ad infinitum. People get set in their own ways (myself especially) and aside from the occasional group activity or get together, I’ve come to terms with and gladly accept that my reality is mostly hanging out at home doing all that boring stuff that 15 year old me swore I’d never do. I feel like all these experiences, desires and priorities have prepared me for my next role in life, father. Now I get to watch my child make their way through life to find their version of happiness beginning from the platform of our loving household. This, the cycle continues.
My advice to them in their teenage years will be to read this blog post and heed #1.
That being said,
New Year’s Eve this year was quite the change from previous years. Instead of hanging out in Sugarloaf at Cory’s cabin. We went to Stacy and TJ’s place for the early PM and ended up in Long Beach after that. In true rebel spirit, Caitlyn and I hung around Mike’s place until exactly 11:47pm.
We spent the moment of midnight in the car driving east on the 22. We watched the fireworks light up the sky, I leaned over to kiss Caitlyn and we made it home safe and sound; An ideal night out with my forever favorite person on this planet.