On September 11, 2005, I drove my 1994 Oldsmobile Cutlass to Nashville, Tennessee. (My blog was only a month old at that point.)
For the next several months, I would share half of an old duplex that smelled like old church cabinets, with a guy I barely knew. My job would be to load and unload trucks at Fed-Ex, while working with many men who, in hindsight, showed signs of drug use.
Every lunch and every dinner was the $1.99 tuna or meatball sub at Subway.
And I didn’t know anyone there in Nashville; I started from complete scratch.
The goal was to make my musical career happen here in the music capitol of the world.
That long haired 24 year-old version of me was very determined. Within a few months, I landed my first real job, at a trucking company, where I still work today, helping truck drivers financially manage their income.
But that version of me was also very inexperienced in life. I might even say that I was more optimistic back then.
Simply put, my inexperience of life allowed me to be more optimistic.
Now a decade later, with a wife and a son, I have become experienced in life.
I learned how to rise to the management level in my office. I learned how to manage money in my household. I learned how to be a helpful and supportive husband. I learned how to be a patient and creative dad.
And I learned these things the hard way. I don’t suppose most people really learn those things the easy way- is there any easy yet effective way to learn those things?
Over the years, I traded in my optimism for positive realism.
I learned to indulge in constructive criticism and to keep myself from being “offended” by other people.
Something else I learned pretty quickly is that if I ever began to believe I was “the victim,” then I definitely was.
Let me be clear, I am not the victim. I instead am built to find ways around the problem.
So if these are all things I learned, then who taught them to me?
One of my constant goals, since I’ve been a kid, has been to make sure that I am more mature in each passing year.
I am ashamed that just 2 years and a half years ago I broadcasted my vegan conversion over Facebook, displaying Internet memes that reflected my personal beliefs, yet stepped on a lot of people’s toes in the process.
That is so not me anymore.
It was a humbling (and privately, humiliating) experience and process for me; to realize A) that my feelings and opinions caused a rift with people who knew me and B) that my feelings and opinions are ultimately irrelevant in the scheme of reality outside my head.
I needed that shock to my system. It got my attention.
From there, I stopped stating my opinions, feelings, and beliefs over social media; instead, eventually channeling my creative energy into making my own YouTube videos that I intertwine into my blog.
Not to mention, I am also able to implement my own music into my videos.
I’m at a good place in life. But I had to learn a lot of this stuff the hard way.
Had I simply maintained my own selfish attitude at any point along the way, I couldn’t have made it here.
So from here, I expect to learn more lessons the hard way; which is again how it seems to work.
Granted, the experience I’ve gained now will greatly prevent much future drama in my life.
More challenges will come. They will make me less selfish, more giving, and more mature.
It’s almost funny to think that some of the things I now appreciate most in life are learning to become less selfish, more giving, and therefore, more mature.
That’s what can happen to somebody a decade into the future.