Perspective is interesting


I was reflecting tonight…

When I was 18 years old, I was working at Metal Forge in Albemarle, NC. It was 1993, and this was a good job. I made auto parts for the Ford Taurus, on a special line that was hard to qualify for. I made $12.50 or so an hour, with overtime and doubletime on holidays. For an 18 year old in 1993, a ~$25,000/year job (roughly $43,000/year in today’s money) was a hell of a position. Especially in Albemarle, a shithole of a town in nowhere, NC.

But I was bored. The best thing about my job was something I wouldn’t appreciate until after I left it: It gave me time to think. I wrote my best music at that job, songs I still haven’t done justice to. The endless hours doing the same shit over and over let my mind roam free and let me compose some wonderful music that will probably never see the light of day.

But I was ambitious. Not sure why. Can’t explain it. I wanted to do more, be more, make more.

I remember seeing a guy at Metal Forge driving a C4 Corvette; you know, the typical 80’s Corvette. Sloped nose, shitty dash. It was maybe $25,000 at the time. That was an insurmountable mountain, an unattainable amount of money. I would have loved a Corvette, but my biggest dream at the time was a decent keyboard and PC sound card (yea, look that up) so I could record my own music. An expense of maybe $600 was my greatest dream.

I took a hard road from here. I realized that Metal Forge was a dead end; Computing had a future, and though it meant nearly a 70% reduction in pay, with the support of my wife, I switched jobs and pursued a career path with growth potential.

These days, I make a living I could not have imagined when I was 18. I have microphones that cost more than the $600 I wanted for my sound card and keyboard. I have a drum set I would have killed for at 18, and it’s my backup set, sitting in the garage! 18-year-old me would have called 42-year-old me rich, and said I had it made. Yet, mostly…I feel the same.

And this is where I arrive when contemplating these facts: You can get used to anything. Happiness is a state of mind, and it doesn’t change much due to material gain. Avoid the tendency to only look forward, and remember to look back and appreciate how far you have come.

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