I had a brief conversation about a guy on probation. He got caught drinking during the year he was told not to and that made me assume he doesn’t have his shit together. I have no idea who this guy is. On a whole, it got me thinking about the ways I have changed my outlook on life in the past fifteen years…
When I was 15 I was never going to drink.
At 16 I was partying and hoping to not get caught by my parents.
18 is when I realized it was not parents I feared catching me making bad decisions, but the police.
By 21 I began to think I was smarter than the police and would never get caught.
As I turned 25 my friends started getting drunk driving violations left and right. That meant it once again seemed plausible that I could get caught. So, I amped up my defensive skills and would laugh if I was able to lose them on the road. They showed up at a parties and we could get them to go away without busting anybody. Why was the man all up in our business? We were good people. We partied, but we all had jobs and the people with kids did a decent job of taking care of their kids. We had our shit together.
At 27 I got in trouble with the law. This was a huge wake up call for me. In 5 months I only drank once because I didn’t want to get in anymore trouble. That lead up to my court date. I did not get sentenced to refrain from alcohol and party environments. So, I started drinking much more responsibly, as far as that issue went.
At 29 I was finally getting my act together. I had a job with insurance and a 401K. I was living in a fantastic home, but I still drank quite a bit, but I had my act together! During this 29th year, I also had a roommate get in trouble. This roomie was not allowed to drink until probation was over. This sounded pretty normal. The weird part was that the roomie really didn’t drink. Not even at home on the tiniest chance that they would stop in to check up at midnight. I would have probably still drank at home. Especially after the few months passed and not once had my roommate been randomly checked upon.
I am now 30 and I, once again, believe I’ve got my shit together. During the conversation about the guy being on probation and drinking, all I could assume was that this guy must not have his act together. The more I think about it, I realize I am becoming more like my former roomie. I’m getting my act together. I can’t fathom drinking one ounce if I could get in trouble for it.
I realize how much my view on life continues to change. Maybe in two more years, I will look back on this and think, “I did NOT have my shit together.”
Some people will never reach this realization. I don’t judge because I have thought the same way before.
My mom is going to be so happy when she reads this. She has been trying to get it through my head for years that my version of a normal existence had boozing and partying way too high on the agenda, without fear of consequence. Some things you just have to learn yourself… but as Mom knows, it is tough to watch others continue to think life has to be so difficult. It can be so much easier.
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