I’m writing this for the rest of you twenty-somethings who, like me, have no idea what you want to do with the rest of your life. Realistically, I wanted to be a thousand different people. I mean, who doesn’t want to be Harvey Specter in Suits, a lawyer who talks and makes things happen? I make. Or what girl has not dreamed of living the life of her favorite actress, model or songwriter. The problem with our twenties is this, we are not in the movies. Your twenties will most likely be spent in bankruptcy, but okay, at some point in his life Dwayne Johnson had seven dollars to his name and Eric Thomas lived on the streets of Detroit, now look at them. We may not be in the movies, but surely we have our own script that has yet to be written, but the problem is, where do we start?
Sitting here writing this gives me a whole new respect for film artists, who create a whole world in their mind and throw it into a movie. I find it quite difficult to create my own. It was Zig Ziglar who said, “we are designed for success” and “you have greatness within you.” Do I think this is true? Absolutely. I think we all have some unwritten path that we always knew we would travel down, but life’s distractions have found their way down a thousand other paths that we jump down from time to time.
Take high school for example, there are some who go through high school, sometimes even high school with a destination. You have Sally Smarts and Gerry Genius, who will be doctors and nurses like their parents. On the other side of the tile, you have Johnny Jiggers who knows he wants to be an ironworker because he can’t handle school, homework, or teachers. Then there are the unlucky ones who have been fooled throughout their lives and never made it through high school because the smoke pit was the most important part to them. My question has always been this, where does this leave me?
Where I come from, if you build houses, become a crab fisherman, or drink light sprouts, you are on the right track, some would say. Of course, I love where I’m from and I love all those fishermen, carpenters, and beer drinkers. In fact, I myself became a carpenter and drink light sprouts. It was just one of those roads that was already traveled for me. It was like a bike path you could walk on without tripping over branches or having your legs ripped by brush. It was comfortable. But, I want to jump off this path and jump onto mine. I want to feel that my shoes fill with water, that the brush tears my legs, trip over some branches and open myself a couple of times because I know that in the end that is where I will find what I am looking for. I will not find it here on this road, I will find what my dad found, who is a carpenter and drinks Bud light, I will find a routine. I love my father and his work ethic is second to none and I have always respected him. But even he told me, I’m destined for more.
At twenty-three, I’ve made most of the mistakes you can make. I want to list all of you just so you know you’re not alone, but I’m not sure if I’ve told my family to everyone yet, actually I know I haven’t, I don’t want to dig my grave here. But despite all those mistakes, I am here, writing this to you because even those mistakes and those already well-trodden paths that promise comfort couldn’t get me away from what I really want, which are answers, what will I do with the rest? of my life?
Like you, I have dreams. Not all of us are going to invent our own app and earn millions. But more importantly, we are going to discover what we want, what we want, because we deserve more. To list a few, I have wanted to be a police officer, heart surgeon, carpenter (believe it or not), lawyer, dentist and have thought about joining the military several times, specifically after I read Chris’s novel “American Sniper.” Kyle. The problem with most of my ambitious career options is that an outside source has provided me with almost all of them as the “perfect career”. Let me explain. When I first saw Grey’s Anatomy, I was determined to be Preston Burke, the nation’s number one heart surgeon who never loses his cool and has it all figured out. After watching Criminal Minds or Homeland, working my way up to a detective seemed tempting and it looked like me.
I know what you’re thinking! Surely, you may be able to do one of these things, maybe all of them. But it has to be because I want to, not because I like the idea of life I see on Netflix, which has a pre-written script and is designed to appeal to people like me.
Honestly, my novelty is wanting to travel the world. Maybe I am looking for my niche in a career and a routine path when my Everest is waiting for me is Bangladesh working on a rice farm and meeting the locals, who knows?
A friend once told me: “Imagine you are in the woods with a bow and arrow pointing at a target. You see the target clearly, you breathe slower, tighten the line, you can hear yourself breathing, so you’re still ready. Then a gust of wind sends a thousand blades around your target and you lose sight, but you shoot anyway and miss. “This is what I’ve done all my life. I’ve spent my life shooting at the leaves, not at the target. I don’t think people fail because they aim high and miss, I think they fail because they aim low and hit.
What I am saying is this. So far I have gone to college, dropped out of college, actually twice. I have worked on a busy downtown street where I live as a doorman for a few years. I have unloaded fishing boats more times than I want to count. I have been a bartender and served and hosted in many restaurants. I ran a comedy club called ‘Yuk Yuks’ for a year before it closed (which I obviously did not participate in) and of course I have worked as a carpenter from time to time since I was sixteen, which I am currently doing. now. I will not drag you down the dark path when I was working in a fish plant. No problem. But it’s important to keep in mind that most of the time in life you will only regret the things you didn’t do, not the things you did and failed at.
Some would say that I have wasted the last six or more years of high school just wandering through life. I tell them, “I was exploring my options.” That usually throws a sock. I mean not many have an answer to that. I was a kid coming out of high school with the world ready to eat me up, and it did. However, now I know something I didn’t know when I was a young punk who couldn’t grow facial hair (yes, I was the baby face in class). I found out what I don’t want. I don’t want to wake up every day, just make time. Going to the same job, with the same pay, seeing the same faces, absolutely miserable because I didn’t take the time to find out what my passion was. That erodes your self-esteem and I think if you live such a life, something in you dies, and I’m not sure you’ll ever get it back.
The last six years have been some of the best and worst years of my life. It includes the loss of my mother, the loss of my grandfather, who was my best friend, I fell in love and completely out of love with a girl that I was telling people that I would spend my life with, and accumulated about thirty thousand dollars in debt. . I mean, life will catch you on the blind side and you won’t be ready. I was not ready. Just relax, accept and move on. Les Brown once said in a speech, “Don’t judge your chances based on where your life is now. Where your life is now is not you, it is just what it is now.” I think what it means is that at some point we’ve all been “serving time,” but make sure it’s a stepping stone to something bigger and better, not for life.
For those of you who don’t know, Joe Frazier was a world class boxer, he had a 32-4 record, with 27 wins by knockout. They called him “Smokin Joe”. You never expect boxers to make profound statements, but he said, “At some point in your life, you’re going to be like the blind man, sitting in the corner lights, waiting for someone to come and help us across.” Sometimes we just want someone to hold our hand. I remember being that blind man, I remember how much more clearly I saw things when I finally forgave myself for where I had put myself in life. Don’t be too quick to throw yourself in the towel. You will proceed to the next round.
The irony is that becoming that blind man helped me see more than I had ever seen. One of the biggest tragedies to date, in my opinion, is this. Many of us confuse what we do with who we are. What I mean is, when did becoming the next Steve Jobs become more important than keeping the doors open and standing up for what’s right? Or when was the last time you did something without expecting to receive something in return? We have forgotten where we come from, we have forgotten who we are, in the desperate battle to know what it is we want to do. I know I did, for a long time.
The moment you find yourself, you will find the answers. But knowing what I know now, one thing that I would love to have had the opportunity to say to my seventeen-year-old self, about to turn twenty, is this. Don’t lose the child in you. Children dream out loud. When I was a kid, no one could tell me that I wasn’t going to be the next Wayne Gretzkey, because I believed I could do it and as we get older, the child takes our breath away through life’s experience. We let someone stick a finger in our faces and tell us that we are not good enough. Most of the time it’s us, doing it to ourselves in the mirror. We lose our ability to dream.
In addition to the rest of this great knowledge that I am sharing with you, know this. Stay away from negative people. The Brown once said, “Some people are so negative if they walked into a dark room that they would start to develop.” As smart and fun as he is, he’s right. Some people just don’t want the best for you, in fact, many of them want the worst for you and hate to see you get ahead. Birds of a feather flock together. You run with negative people, sooner or later you will become one. Don’t let them take away the power, the momentum. Maintain your vision and focus on what is yours to drink. You are worth it.
If you take any of this, you should know that whatever you want, whatever you dream of, is yours, it is possible. I know your parents or someone you care about has told you over and over again. But I’m telling you, I’m in my 20s, right next to you, and it’s true. This world is a bear to take, we are the future. I once heard a line in the song called “Old Before Your Time” by Ray Lamontagne and it said this. “There is nothing in the world so sad as talking to a man, who never knew that his life was his.”
I could make a list of two hundred things you should NOT do in your twenties, but I think the truth is between the lines. I still have no idea what I’ll do, but I know I’ll never settle. I will go after whatever is waiting for me because I believe that whatever you are looking for is also looking for you. But do not become a person “used to bees”, these people are left in the past. Have you ever come across one of those? These people go around saying, “I used to do this, I used to do that, or it used to be this.” Excuse me, but “Use-to-bees” does not produce honey.
Go out there and find your way and never forget to have fun doing it. Never lose who you are, where you come from and the goods you are made of, that person will save your ass. Life works in fun ways and I think if you take responsibility for making this your year, going out and taking life, I think the universe is on your side. Objective. If you happen to end up being a carpenter who drinks light sprouts, don’t panic, we’re only in our twenties.