20 years ago today …

This is my senior picture, which was taken right before my senior year started.

Twenty years ago today I was 17 and had graduated from high school about three weeks prior. I moved out of my home and moved into a crappy apartment with three of my high school girlfriends.
My mom was pretty strict, which as I look back I am rather grateful for. But I believe if you live under my roof you live under my rules. And I didn’t want to live under her rules anymore.
So I moved out.
Once I was on my own I was on my own. I paid rent, bought groceries, paid for my car insurance, paid for college tuition and books …
Moving out and becoming an adult that quickly was a humbling and major learning experience.
I made mistakes, screwed things up, did dumb things …
But eventually I started to figure things out and I became more responsible. (I remember a friend asking me about laundry and how I dried my jeans because his mom would air dry his. That makes me laugh now.)
The gig with the roommates didn’t last long and eventually I was living in my own apartment.
Twenty years later I look back and see how much I have learned and the person I have become. (And to note, my mom and I are super close and have been for years.)
I struggled. It was hard. But somehow I worked almost full time and went to school full time for 5 12 years. And I managed to squeeze a journalism degree out of it.
Curt and I are fairly comfortable. (We are nowhere rich like some people think.) We work hard. We enjoy our loungey weekend time, beer and our travel to see the world.
We also are humbled by our upbringing and struggles as young adults. We do our best to help others when we can. We fully believe in supporting others through donating to various charities.
I believe in self responsibility–for myself and for others. We obviously aren’t responsible for every bad thing that happens in the world. But there are things we as human beings can do to make the world a little bit of a better place for ourselves and especially for others. I feel like I was put on this planet to help others. I wish I had time to volunteer (I used to volunteer in various elementary schools). But since I don’t have time to donate my time I do the next best thing, donate money.
I struggled as I tried to make a place for myself in the world. In college I received a few grants and loans. The loans were paid back years ago. I also received some journalism scholarships, which came in quite handy, and were donated by fellow alumni. I told myself one day I needed to reciprocate. And I have for many years now.
I believe in working hard and good work ethic. But I also believe in extending a helping hand at times. A little help and support can go a long way.