What do you see yourself doing in 20 years?
I found that question and my naive child like response in a box the other day, while I was picking things up making my room more accessible for the sheriffs to search for drugs and booze. Did I predict myself being on house arrest for two weeks because I became a drunk driver? Obviously not, or else I would have been more organized for fucks sake.
When I was 13, I was steadily telling myself that I was smarter than the average person I was around and I think that was part of my downfall. I got lazy from reassurance that I was bright and Christ I never fucking tried in school. At the time though, I thought I was meant to be a doctor in some sort of medical field. Making people laugh and feel at ease when I felt awkward as all hell was a talent of mine, and it seemed that it could be used in a setting like a hospital where one rarely feels comfortable. Don’t ask me why I thought it was a great idea though, I couldn’t stand the sight of my own blood and it was common to hear about how “Posso passed out giving blood at the blood drive” many times in high school. It took many years and many times filled with inexperienced girls poking me with needles and not hitting veins to finally get it to the point where I could be relieved seeing my own blood ooze into a pic line instead of seeing my arm turn black and purple from so many misses.
The first time I took the ACT I fell asleep through the math part because I had stayed up all night the night before gaming at a friends house. I still scored a 29 out of a possible 36 and that would have been good enough to get where I wanted to go but I decided that I should try again and after I got a 34 it was pretty much a given that I could go to any school in Wisconsin. The desire to go anywhere else though was perfect in my head. A summer school venture had led me to Boston College and I was captivated. Coming from a poor household with none of my family having a bachelors degree in anything, I had a great shot at locking down financial aid, grants, assistance for poor little arrogant showoffs such as myself. My family, on the other hand, didn’t think it’d be a good thing for me to go so far. I regret listening to their babble on taking the almost full ride I got to UW-Madison nearly every day when I’m pitying myself.
My undergraduate experience was a nightmare. I binge drank with friends, stayed up for 3 or 4 days straight skipping all my classes, playing online poker, gambling in dorm community dens, pretty much anything an 18 year old shouldn’t do. Fresh line of credit, financial aid in hand in the form of all cash, clearly I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of being on my own and after having to be on probation from the dismal first semester, I started to attempt to go to class and (sort of) put the bare effort into life to get Bs while still being the charming social butterfly I was. “You’re not going to be going to any med school posting grades like that,” was the first thing I needed to hear to be like, well fuck it, I’ll just graduate and fuck med school. I don’t need the money that bad, especially when I was winning thousands of dollars gambling and not having to work other than to fulfill my work study loans.
Time passed, I flopped around, like a fish out of water, bouncing from failed scheme and quick fix, gulping for air while loansharks and bad guys were looking for me and the mounds of cash I was aimlessly spending. For months, I would have different burner phones, different phone numbers, I would go months without talking to family as I would be so backwards in life that I had to do all that I could to make it look like I was okay to my close friends in Madison. I got kicked out of school for a semester after a cheating scandal in which I decided to try to obtain my own vigilante justice. Instead of feeling down about my stupidity, I became an EMT. Figured I’d still become a medical professional. One thing though - I fucking hated it. The smell of old people caked in shit and piss, sitting in an ambulance bay waiting for the next old person to have a cough that sent them into cardiac arrest, it was boring to me. As gruesome and insensitive as it sounds, I watched my mother be a hospice nurse for years, taking care of those who were chronically ill and at the end of their lives - I loved my mom for doing it but I wasn’t about to look so emotionally and physically drained every time I got done with my work shift.
My life after that was a series of fuck arounds and fuck ups, working for an answering service, managing a pizza place, bouncing and later tending bar at a piano bar. In between the shit service industry jobs I got sick multiple times; testicular cancer, an infection that blew up my face, another bout with cancer - I used them as a crutch and an excuse to not be ambitious.
Reading that letter 13 year old me wrote made me think of all the failures and missed opportunities in my life. There’s one thing that the past me and current me can agree on; I have a talent, a gift. I retain knowledge ridiculously well. This skill has kept me out of trouble as much as it has, along with my habitual laziness, gotten me into some real tight spots. Sadly, I have wasted a lot of valuable time, resources, and positions by comfortably floating through my life. Isolating myself this year to work on myself has made me realize that even though I needed a break from being in everyone’s attention, The only impactful thing I feel like I can do with my life these days is to do exactly that - make an impact whether it be an inspiration as to what not to do for 15 years or just another average comeback story that warms the hearts of gregarious people.
I applied to nursing school this week. Let’s see what happens. Otherwise, I think I’ll have to actually invest in getting better at this writing garbage