How I Survived My 20s
Let me start off by saying High School was good to me. What followed afterwards was a little different to say the least. My 20s were spent in a haze of unsurety, insecurity, addiction and depression. My 20s was my personal “dark ages”. No growth, or very minimal growth. Regression if anything. My outlook was grim. And I and those closest to me were losing hope because of constant disappointment and let down on my part. However, I SURVIVED my 20s, and how I survived my 20s is something now that I’m in my 30s I can pinpoint a little clearer.
The Precursor To How I Survived My 20s
Before I get into my 20s I have to go over my teenage years. High school was the shit for me. I had my ups and downs as did anyone, however I started to feel like THE SHIT in high school. Looking back I was far from my deluded self-image however, I was having a good time that’s for sure. I did well in school, it was easy for me. Always had been because I am fairly intelligent. Not to brag, but I just am. So in high school I could get away with partying and not have to worry about passing classes. Although I almost failed Calculus, but it was a class I didn’t need to pass to graduate, and I was a grade younger than everyone else in my class. Of course the drugs and partying were DEFINITELY the reason I almost failed.
The point is I didn’t have to try in school and on top of that I had it pretty good at home, so what does one do in that situation? Get into trouble of course. A bored mind is worse than an evil one they say. Actually I just made that up but it sounds good. So I got into partying and drugging and drinking and fucking and it was all new to me and all so exciting. Along with having a hot girlfriend and other girls digging me, a reputation as someone who was wild and could get you ANYTHING you needed (in terms of getting drugs and alcohol), and on top of that still take AP classes and do well in them, came an ego. Or better put I started to feel I was something more than I was.
I always loved doing what people didn’t expect of me. EVERYONE expected me to become successful, to do great in college, to be that smart guy who was going to do something great. NO ONE expected me to be able to move around in shadier circles, deal drugs, and wile out in parties (although we didn’t use that term yet back then). So I did it, and I was good at it. Looking back now that is my greatest strength, being able to adapt, move around in any situation around any group of people. So in high school I did just that. And it was a wild time, very very good times. Although I had many come downs of course, I was doing a lot of drugs.
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Onto My 20s And How I Survived Them
At the end of high school I had a choice. For those who know me they’ve heard this story too many times (lol). I was accepted to a few major universities, and I had decided on UT Austin. I was decided on it, but I wanted to wait a year. I know for a fact that things would be completely different now if I had not stayed around for one more year. I don’t regret it, because my life would not be what it is now if I had chose otherwise. I wouldn’t have my amazing little girl who is EVERYTHING to me. I wouldn’t KNOW what I know now, or BE who I am now. But with that being said I do think about it at times. I am confident if I had gone straight to UT Austin after high school I would have done the 4 or 5 year college thing, came out with a great job/career. I would have been set (haha). Right now I’m hustling, but if I had gone straight way back when I’d be SECURE right now. Again, I have no regrets.
However I DID NOT go straight to college. Or better put I stayed around in my small suburb north of Dallas and went to community college. I hate sounding like a broken record, but luckily for me y’all (my readers) have not heard this story yet so I’ll indulge you in why I stayed around. I had a girlfriend a grade under me. I didn’t want to leave her. Well, we ended up breaking up by the time my second semester of community college started, but by then I was too far gone and that was the least of my worries. At age 19 I got arrested for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. I pulled a knife on a guy, didn’t hit him, but still that was enough for me to catch my first felony case.
I would get 2 years probation for pulling a knife on someone who had cut me off while driving. I wasn’t high or drunk or anything at the time, but I was definitely not thinking clearly anymore by this stage of my life. I had been in a downward spiral since the break-up and I wasn’t doing well in community college and I was addicted to drugs and alcohol, full blown by this time. This felony probation and everything else that was going on at the time drove me further down that spiral. I then jumped on the “ice train” and everything went from worse to SHIT.
For those who have never done meth, don’t do it. Easier said than done, but trust me it is so subtle yet so powerful that within months, no within weeks you can find yourself in a whole different world, as a completely different person. By this time I had already done the usual shit, ex, coke and heroin. Those were my drugs in high school, I loved that shit. Especially the coke. But at 19 I found ice, and it FUCKED ME UP. I got into ice at just the wrong time, or right time depending on how you look at it. I was on probation, felony probation at that. I was fucking depressed, and because of the drug use I lost my job. Not directly, but I was so fucked up and paranoid one day I just left, and never came back. I would get a few more jobs here and there but nothing that paid much.
What ensued was a life of petty crime and theft. Me pulling licks, riding around with dealers selling drugs, and practically living in the dope house. I had fallen HARD from where everyone expected me to be. And that somewhere in the back of my mind was the biggest factor plaguing me, driving my depression. I ended up failing numerous drug tests while on probation and then I got arrested again for credit card fraud, where in I pulled in only $2,800.00. I got pretty fucked up off that money though I won’t lie. Long story longer, probation got pulled, and I was being sent to prison.
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How I Lived & Survived My 20s
Now we are in the start of my true 20s. At the age of 20 I got sentenced 10 months state jail time and 10 months county time. Luckily for me since again this was technically my first case, these sentences ran concurrent. Meaning although I was sentenced 20 months, I only had to do 10. I did the majority of those ten months in a state prison transfer facility. It was rough, don’t get me wrong. However what I learned in there is there was much worse out there. I’ve had homeboys get 5, 10 years. I’ve seen people in there looking at 12, 15, 25 years. I was locked up with murderers who were facing life. I saw shit you never want to see. At the same time I learned something in there. I could stand up for myself. I realized I am tough, I’m a little dude but I am tough. I also realized that there was a sort of freedom while being locked up. A freedom from responsibility, a freedom from what you have to do on the outside to stay outside. I realized we aren’t really free, we don’t really have rights. No, we have privileges. And they can be taken away as quickly as they were given. But I still would rather be FREE. Prison is a hell hole.
I survived lock up by knowing when to talk, and when not to. I got in a couple fights, but I was good. Again, my strength is my ability to adapt and move around in different circles. I did just that. Prison is a very racial place. You stick with your own. I’m Asian, there wasn’t many of us. However I was able to move through the different circles with no punishment and I was well liked by people of every group. With that being said, you are on edge, 24-7 in there. There is no peace. You never know when you might “fuck up”.
At the age of 21 I got out, and let’s just say I was not the same. I was out of touch now from the real world and most of all I was anxious. I didn’t know what I was doing anymore. I was fucking scared. So I would go back and forth with drugs and drinking and jail and rehab and more probation and more jail until I finished another 8 month stint from 2007 – 2008. I came out at the age of 24 and I left the country the very next day.
Finishing My 20s Abroad
I wasn’t much better off abroad, far far away from home. I wasn’t much better off in my decision making anyways, my self security, and so forth. I would continue to drink and go on drug escapades every so often. But looking back at it, I was tamed compared to my early 20s. I was growing…slowly. The latter years of my 20s were good in that my daughter was born during that time. I was still making bad choices, and I would be locked up again, one last time for a year and a half. Prior to this I had spent my 21st and 24th birthday locked up, now I would turn 30 locked up. Hey, I survived my 20s…I was still alive.
I Survived My 20s And Here’s How
I and my wife and daughter came back home to the U.S. (home to me anyways) finally after 6 years abroad. I still wasn’t right in the head. I got arrested again, just an overnighter from public intoxication. It had been too much the 5 years together, and all the bullshit my wife had put up with. At the same time, she wasn’t easy to live with either (I have to be kind to myself just a little lol), or better put we just weren’t ready for marriage. I don’t think anyone is, it can be an unforgiving and demanding institution. However, she had enough and we separated. I was 31. I don’t know what happened from that point on. Something FUCKING CHANGED. Again, this is my post on how I survived my 20s, so I’m going to try and pinpoint exactly what changed that allowed me to not only survive my 20s but somehow completely turn around my life at age 31.
I don’t want to leave y’all hanging as I did promise I’d explain how I survived my 20s. So I believe it’s this, I pushed shit to the limit, but I always held back. I could have done much worse, but I had a sense of self preservation, somewhere in me. Now I was also incredibly lucky to say the least. No cancer, aids, any of that shit. I didn’t get killed, shot or stabbed. Although I’ve had that barrel pointed at my head 3 times in my life, once it was me, and I DID pull that trigger, but I moved the gun just before the bullet hit my head. That’s a story for another time. However for those struggling in their 20s now, or any age for that matter, the biggest take away for me on how to survive is to just keep on moving. Just keep going forward, keep digging, eventually you’ll see the light at the end of that tunnel, and that’s where your real life will begin, the good life anyways.
This post turned out a bit longer than expected. However I want to continue where I left off at age 31. I’m about to turn 33 next month. I have a drink every now and then but I don’t get drunk anymore. I stopped smoking cigarettes, weed and any and all forms of drugs. I’ve even seen drugs in front of me a couple times, of course people smoke in front of me, and people drink in front of me, but I haven’t succumbed to temptation. Actually I haven’t been tempted at all. How is that? Well, my priorities changed. More so I believe having survived so much in my 20s, I finally grew up and grew OUT of all of it. I just had to get it out of my system perhaps? I’m not sure, I don’t want to suggest that for y’all because trying to get it out of your system may not turn out the way you want it to. I’ll just conclude with saying that it CAN be done. In the end you, I, we can survive so much. You just have to do it, and you’ll have to figure out on your own how you do it. I would say the one thing I could suggest is become obsessed with something else. Transfer that obsession. I transferred that obsession to personal growth. I became obsessed with finally doing what people expected of me before, but not because people expected it, but because it’s now what I WANT. I became first obsessed with becoming healthier and fit. While doing so I became obsessed with financial security and creating the “dream lifestyle”. Taking a step back and looking at all of it now, what I’ve really become obsessed with is growth period. Constantly improving myself and my situation.
I want to point out a few factors that helped me and I believe can help you as well. I isolated myself from people, in that no I did not go into hiding, but I didn’t hang out with old friends. I didn’t really make new friends either. I focused on me, my daughter and my immediate family (i.e. parents, brother, niece). I took things slowly. I ACCEPTED my feelings. That was huge. Accept how you feel at any given moment, but that does not mean you have to act upon it, especially in a negative way. It is what it is. Hold on to that dream, that vision you have for yourself and you will either get there…or you won’t. What’s important is that you’re going for it, and you won’t let other factors get in the way of your pursuit. Things get better day by day. Straight up, they do. Shit I still have a lot of growth left. I pinpoint things on a daily basis that I need to work on. But I’m not running anymore…and neither should you. I survived my 20s and that means I, you, we can survive any age group out there.
Comments & share buttons below. Let me know what y’all have survived. Until next time, deuces!