Thursday, October 30, 2008

Is this my life?

When I was 13, I decided that I didn't want the same life as my friends and family. I intuitively figured that the people that influenced my life had little influence over their own lives. They simply ended up where life took them. I grew up in a lower-middle class neighborhood, under parental guidance that lacked focus to say the least. I knew at that time that my life's successes were already written by my surroundings, unless I took the horse by the reigns and controlled my destination. I knew not how to accomplish this, but what is notable is that I had the drive in me. This drive would dictate my life's path to this day.
At 13, I was introduced to an academic program that would rescue me from my surroundings. This program was special in that it excelled students academically, and that in order to attend the program, I would have to attend high school across town. I jumped at the chance to get away from it all. My first year of high school I got up early everyday and caught the early bus across the county to get away from my surroundings. This one decision has effected my life in an infinite number of ways. Although I lost my friends at the time, I learned how to make new friends among a new surrounding. I thought that my journey out of the mundane was complete, but I was wrong. Although, I found the drive that could set me free, I lacked the focus that would continue to guide me to the top of the mountain.
At 14, I had a meeting with my guidance counselor. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. I had no idea, so I couldn't answer the question. As she had been trained to deal with this sort of situation, she simply took a glance at my transcript, and decided that I would continue to do what I had excelled in. According to that transcript, I was good at Math and Science, and I had an interest in computers because I had taken some typing course when I was 8. My counselor at the time enrolled me into Computer Science courses. This would be my focus for the next four years of high school.
At 17, excelling in these engineering slash technical courses, I was offered several engineering slash technical scholarships. I still had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, so I simply went with the one that looked the most appetizing. My best friend decided to go to a close school, and that same school offered to pay for my classes, room and board, so that made my decision easy. My parents lacked the experience to guide me toward better choices regarding school, cause they didn't really capitalize on the schooling that they did receive.
At 18, I sat in front of another counselor. She asked me what I wanted to do with my life. Although I had quite some time to think about this now, I still didn't know the answer to that question. I was still afraid, like most young adults, to define my future. So she, like the other, took a look at my transcript and made a decision for me. I would be a computer scientist, because I excelled so well in it in the past. So, that's what I did, and just like before I excelled. Only this time, something was different. I wasn't home anymore. Although I didn't have everything growing up, I always had the basics. Now, I had to do my own laundry and find my own meals. And on top of that, I wanted more than my peers. I still had this thing inside of me that told me that in order to have more than my pears, I would have to be doing things different than my pears. This thing ate at my very being, until I questioned my choices. Did I really want to do this for the rest of my life? Did I really want to sit in front of books and computers for the rest of my life? I began to doubt my decisions. I doubted them so much, until I decided to drop out of school.
At 20, I was no closer to deciding what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew I wanted to go somewhere. I started working. I started working allot! I worked in restaurants. By 21, I became a manager. By 22, I decided that I was in it for the money and not the career, so I went back to serving. I served from 6 in the morning until 2 the next. I was exhausting my every effort to break out of the monotony.
At 22, while I was serving, I became close with one of my customers. He noticed this struggle that I had encompassed myself with, and really took a liking to my drive. He ran his own company, and decided that he needed someone like me to run it. Considering the engineering experience I could get from this particular company I took the job. So now, I'm making the same amount of money working half the amount of time.
Today, it's been over 2 years since I took this position, and once again, I'm burdened with questions. Is this really what I'm going to do for the rest of my life? Did I plan to get here, or did all of this just fall into my lap? Am I living the same life that I so desperately wanted to get away from all those years ago?

I'm by no means a seasoned veteran of anything, by I'm not dumb either. I know for sure that my life will always be the same, if I never stop and think about my future. If I don't plan tomorrow, I could end up anywhere. Anywhere! 12 years ago, I never decided whatever it is that I wanted to be, so I became whatever.

Today, the cycle has stopped. I am sitting down right now, and deciding where I want to be when I'm 50, and working my way back step by step to where I am at 24.

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