“For what it's worth: it's never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There's no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you're proud of. If you find that you're not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.”- The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
“Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.”- John Lennon
The scene above makes me cry every time I watch it. I suppose it means more to me now than it ever did before because I’m no longer around the people who were born to sit by a river. You may ask what type of person I am, and I’ll tell you: I have an ear for music…and I dance. I’d be lying if I said I weren’t homesick. I don’t miss home in the physical sense; I miss the people and the comfort. The characters that made it up have become home. I finally appreciate home for what it truly is: love. There’s no reason to ignore it. Lately, those people have been quite palpable in my memory. I have a cookbook that’s filled with recipes from people I’ve known my whole life. Many of them have passed away, and I get emotional seeing their name in print. I know I shouldn’t be sad, but I think of the influence they had on me. Shakespeare once stated, “The world is a stage, and the people merely actors.” I’m thankful for every encounter I ever had with them. I carry them in my heart, and I have their recipes’ if I ever want to visit.
I apologize for not writing much lately. I’ve been horribly depressed and frazzled. My life more or less fell apart in May. Ever since then, I’ve been scrambling like a chicken with my head cut off, trying to collect the shattered pieces. My requiem for a dream started on May 1, 2011. I was laid off work by a reputable company in the lovely metropolis of Hayward. It’s funny peculiar how the shit hits the fan when everything in life seems to be going so well. Before that appalling news was delivered, I had just moved to San Leandro, which runs into Hayward via Hesperian Boulevard. I started renting a room from a good friend of mine, was getting a budget drafted and set into action, and had even found a church to start attending.
Let me take you back to Batesville, Arkansas for a moment though. Picture it: middle November and the year is 2010, a busy Saturday night at Hasting’s Entertainment. I get ready to go on my lunch break; unbeknownst, and as the Fates would have it, I find out that one of my bosses is going on break as well. We end up walking down that long stretch of rain soaked black asphalt to the local Burger King. We sit down in a booth towards the front entrance. Hoodlums are making up the majority of the lobby because they have nothing better to do.
I’ve admired this particular boss of mine ever since I started working with her. She has a beautiful story. It has a happy ending: she’s a survivor and she’s continuing to “make it after all” through the obstacles that abound her. I broke the news to her that I was moving to California. She was pleasantly surprised that I was doing this and happy. During that wonderful thirty minute increment of time we sat together and discussed our lives over fried chicken sandwiches and flame broiled burgers. She said something before we walked back together that I’ve been saying to myself every day since my unfortunate event occurred: “Kevin, remember: when it comes down to it, the only person you have to rely on and trust is yourself. The only person you can depend on is you.” She didn’t say it to be nagging; she said it with a subtle love and concern. She knew firsthand how difficult, but rewarding the road to Adulthood is.
Another coworker of mine who has her own “rising phoenix out of the smoldering ashes” story had some more advice for me. I asked her how she stepped out on her own for the very first time. She stated: “You just do it. You just get out there and start making your way. It’s scary and hard at times, believe me. But you always make it if you believe you will. When you get out on your own you learn a lot about yourself and what you’re made of.” I can’t tell you how happy I am to have those words tucked away in my keepsake box.
~Nine Things I’ve Come To Realize Since Being Laid Off~
#1 Early in life, things that you learn have no meaning. But today, what I did learn makes all the sense in the world, and I grieve and regret what I did not learn.
#2 Business does not have to be a win/lose or winner takes all proposition. Everyone can win.
#3 Do not ignore your passions and drive in life.
#4 To master anything in life you must do it again and again, over and over. Often without success, but learning and fine tuning along the way.
#5 Education is life-long. Stay hungry, stay curious.
#6 Our biggest successes happened when the biggest doors of opportunity were slammed shut. Learn to look for other ways to achieve your goals when opportunities close. Own your problems and invent your own solutions when others will not solve the problem for you.
#7 Do what you love and do it really well.
#8 My best educational experiences happened when I was the motivated learner, making up my own experiences.
#9 Make your mistakes frequently, fast and often. Just not repetively.
My sincere hope is that anyone who is reading my blog is inspired by what come across. My biggest problem with writing is that I’m too personal and honest. That’s necessarily not such a negative eminence, but I want someone to connect with me. I hope the proverbial lightning bolt flashes and strobes inside my reader’s neurotransmitters and they exasperate, “Dear God, that’s what I’m going through! I know exactly how he is feeling!” If what I share helps someone, then I’ve reached my goal. It’s always the darkest before the dawn. I know the sun will be shining soon. It simply has to.