5 Things I Wish I’d Known in 1997
Craft beer, fatherhood, and the struggle to make ends meet while working at non-profits
This isn’t a story about how I wish I’d invested in Google, Facebook, or Uber before they got big. (Although that would have been cool.) It’s a self-expression of regrets, accomplishments, and looking towards the future.
My life in 1997 was a near opposite existence of who and what I am now. I started down a path of volunteerism then that changed the way I view and interact with religion and religious people as a whole. It also shaped and restricted my ability to gain employment in the traditional sense.
Here are five things I wish I’d known then and perhaps changed some in order to have avoided mistakes later.
1.) Beer Will Play A Significant Role in Your Life
There is way more to beer than the piss made by the big guys.
The craft beer boom hadn’t happened yet in 1997. There were just shy of 1,400 breweries in the U.S. then. I didn’t have my first beer, for religious reasons, until around 2008. It was a Miller Lite. Yeah. I didn’t have another beer for years after that, because I didn’t know how many amazing beers there are (and should soon be) out then.
I didn’t start to like beer until my then co-worker introduced me to quality craft beer in 2013. In typical fashion, that led me down a path of discovery and cataloging that hasn’t yet stopped being fun. We started BreweryFinder.org together in 2015 and have been going strong ever since.
Imagine all the great beers I missed out on in that time I wasn’t drinking!
2.) You’re Worth More Than You Think
I spent a great deal of my growing up years being told that others were more important than I was. The message from the pulpit and various church leaders was that I was to serve those around me.
That message spoke of how terrible a person I was because of “sin” and how they were the only ones who knew how I could be saved. Sure others out there had views that differed from the church I was a part of but they were all “wrong.” It was a classic Christian fundamentalist cult. So happy I got out.
My worth now is found in self-care, helping others, and contributing to the world around me. It is no longer found in the empty words of those who would rather use me than help me better myself.
3.) Don’t Blindly Trust People
Anyone what has been involved in such circles knows the hard way that people shouldn’t be blindly trusted. Everything, especially when money is involved, should be in writing.
I won’t go through the long list of wrongs that have been done to me. Years of jobs with shit pay, hours, and bosses. Religious oppression and ostracization. Family differences in parenting, religion, and politics that led to years of silence. I’m sure you have your own stories. They are probably worse than what I have been through.
I will, however, say that I’ve have been wronged enough times to have a hard time trusting people. Anyone really. That makes me sad. Trust builds hope and peace. I could use more trust in my life.
4.) You’ll Get Married and Have Two Boys That You Love
Most of the fears I had in 1997 are no longer fears now. And one of the biggest fears then was the thought of ending up alone.
I had a zero experience dating because of the colossal failure of a life view the Joshua Harris book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” taught so many in the conservative church back then. Hense most of my early life was spent not knowing what to do and ended up in crushes I did nothing about out of fear given from that book and the religious circles I was in at the time.
I wish I had known things would work out in the end. It wasn’t that hard either. Abigail and I went from friends to more without outside pressure or great effort. It happened on its own naturally.
5.) You’re Not Meant for a Typical Office Job
My entire work history is a list of jobs that involve direct contact with people, projects, and locations outside of offices.
Yes, I’ve done administrative support and team office management. I have however always enjoyed work the most when “out of the office.”
This includes my time in retail when I would help customers find what they needed. It includes trade shows and conferences where I would network and help people solve problems for issues they had in their business or website. It also includes doing volunteer work, photography, and blogging from various domestic and international locations.
I love projects that aren’t exactly predictable and that need to be solved in non-traditional ways.
I also like to take complicated subjects and make them simple. I’ve had people tell me for years that I’m great with teaching technological concepts in easy to understand ways. That is why I’m launching my first online course in January. That and I have the free time now after ending a dead-end job of 12 years with no room for expanding my professional life.
Now I’m moving on from all of that and feel hopeful about the future. There are many possibilities out there. Can’t wait to see how things work out over the next few years.
What do you wish you knew in 1997?