Saturday, July 30, 2016

Twenty Years Later

Now Playing -  Blood Dirt Love Stop by The Heavy
Life -  
Today was my 20 year high school reunion.

First off - I'm getting old. Second, I'd really never planned on attending at all anyway - high school was not remotely a pleasant experience or a highlight for me - I was the fat nerdy kid in the corner with a book and worse grades than he should have had that got teased quite a lot for his thrift store clothes or... because it was high school. Anyone that I really had any interest in keeping in touch with regularly I already do, either through here or in person.

However, as the plans were planned and people in the FB group started chatting, I did realize that I remembered more people from Poky than I'd have thought and some I even remembered fondly! I started mulling around the idea of going....

According to the movies High School Reunions are good for one of two things for people - reliving the glory days - when you were young and fit and happy and had tons of friends and nothing but years ahead, or a reunion is for returning triumphantly - handsomer and richer than you were in school - humbly mentioning the sweet job you have and the exotic locales you've visited...

And obviously movies are never wrong.

Well... The first movie reason is out, obviously. Number two.... I'm not LESS handsome than I was before, which would be almost impossible anyway. But I realized I'm pretty happy with what I've become in those 20 years. I moved to Montana and Maine with Walgreens, where I sat stagnant in a job of false promises and changing goals for a decade, and some of that drudgery and resentment lingers in my perspective of things and it wasn't until I started reflecting on the last 7,300 days that I realized I'd accomplished a lot of things I was really proud of. I....

-Wrote and published 2 novels with more on the way
-Worked as a manager at a C-Store, Drug Store Chain and Movie Theater
-Raised three great dogs and a couple of excellent cats.
-Met and married my beautiful and talented wife.
-Lived in Idaho, Montana and Maine
-Nearly bought a motel with guts and determination and not much else. (That one will be a goal for the next 20)
-Bought 2 houses, sold one, in that order.
-Created artwork for over a dozen novels and story collections.
-Totalled 2 Honda Elements with the 3rd still going strong. (Knock wood)
-Broke at least five bones and countless new scars
-Grew a beard.
-Made more than 2 tons of soap, one bar at a time.
-Host 2 weekly podcasts - Deeply Dapper Dispatches and Robot Kraken
-Started Deeply Dapper in 2010 and went full time with it 3years ago (ish) leaving Walgreens and taking the leap into starving artist and craftsman.
-Despite being starving, never actually lost that much weight...
-Lobster wrangler
-The Atlantic Ocean personally assaulted me and stole my glasses.
-Spent time in 33 States
-Worked almost 50 Comic Cons and other genre Conventions as an artist and author.
-Read upwards of 2,500 books
-Interacted with celebs and artists on a personal basis and met dozens of others at cons.
-Started working on two upcoming comic book series
-Became a cover artist for a comic series
-And most importantly, I met hundreds of genuinely great, cool, funny people from all over the US and the world that I'm lucky enough to be able to call friends – That's something I never thought I could say 20 years ago. So thanks, friends. It's because of the millions of little ways that you've touched my life that's allowed me to do what I do and become what I've become.

And I'm really damned happy with who I am now – I'm broke all of the time and my business is a very precarious one that balances on the edge of one bad con or accident (Hence the motel plan) and I'm still wearing thrift store clothes, but I'm working for myself, being creative every day, making what I love and enjoy, and I can't complain one bit about that. And after coming to that conclusion, I decided to blow off the reunion completely and stay home, prepping for the first in a series of Comic Cons (Next up – I'm a featured artist at Star Trek Las Vegas for a week) and then I watched a movie cuddled up on the couch with my wife and pets. For me, what happened after high school is what has made the biggest difference.

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