40 Things I’ve Learned Over 40 Years: Live Your Life For YOU

One of the good things about living in such an open society today is that people don’t stand for bullying as much as they once did. Sure, it still happens. It probably always will happen, but people atleast talk about it and try to do more about it than they did when I was a kid. Back in the 80’s and 90’s I spent many days on the playground by myself. I can’t count how many lunches I ate alone. I would receive some form of charity now and then, but I was basically a loner. Many of my experiences not only shaped who I became, but also taught me a lot of lessons about myself and life. This is a story about how you can retrain yourself to think differently about yourself and your past. If you pay attention to yourself and the lessons the universe sends, you can evolve, grow, and rise above whoever and whatever might have been holding you back.

The Bullying I Endured

I can’t say a lot of the bullying I endured was direct. Of course there were a lot of kids who acknowledged how different I sounded thanks to my cleft lip and palate. Due to a syndrome I was born with, I also had to learn how to manage a bowel issue that also made fitting in a challenge at times. Although I had to put up with a lot from bullies, I also had to endure a lot of what I like to call “silent bullying”. This was the type of bullying where I was blown off by others. I wasn’t necessarily acknowledged and often had a hard time convincing people that I wasn’t that much different from them. It was the kind of thing where they didn’t want to be a jerk, but thought they could get around it by quietly ignoring me. Believe, all forms of bullying and outcasting are remembered by those on the receiving end.

What I Decided To Do About It

By some miracle, whether I can thank my mom, my 2nd grade teacher Mrs Spangler, or some other divine being in the universe that’s looking out for me, I managed to persevere. Thanks to a few positive experiences along the way, I learned to believe in myself despite the fact that many didn’t. Over the course of time I became very passionate about things like broadcast production, the arts, sports, and all things that revolve around the “big stages” in life. With that type of passion came the idea that I could maybe use this as a way to prove to all of these people that they were wrong. What better way to prove yourself than to have your name in print or be seen randomly in the media. That was a dream I wanted to accomplish. It kept me driven to succeed for many many years.

The Feelings I Harbored For So Long

Aging is a wonderful thing in some ways. This is especially true when it comes to how you understand the world. As a person who has always been more of a loner, I tend to be pretty introspective. Sometimes I am WAY to introspective and get into my own head. I could probably say that was the case when it came to how I viewed some aspects of my childhood. Being left out by kids and adults really made me want to succeed as an adult. It also made me want to prove something to all of those people. I can still remember all of the names and faces of those who chipped away at my reputation unfairly. All of those people who made me feel like I was less than what I was. I knew I was better than what I was made out to be. The lack of support and belief from those I saw on a daily basis was unfair considering the fact that many of them didn’t know the real me.

When I thought about being a success, it wasn’t self love. It was mostly driven by the fact that I wanted to show all of those naysayers up. I wanted to be the best in life because I wanted them to feel wrong. I wanted them to feel the same way they made me feel for so many years. I wanted to make them feel like they weren’t good enough. I wanted them to feel stupid for overlooking how good I was. I wanted them to be envious, if not jealous of what I was accomplishing with my life. I worked so hard to make it into the entertainment business. I landed work with some of the most prestigious media companies in the world. In my mind, how could anybody top that? To get into a company that not many people could get into was validation of how good I am and how wrong they were.

The Lesson Facebook Taught Me

By the time I had made it to a place I wanted to be, Facebook had become a pretty big phenomenon. I started to see people from my past popping up on my friends suggestion feed and within random conversations with other connections I had. Suddenly, out of nowhere, pretty much everybody was interested in using social media and wanted to reconnect with those they may have lost contact with. From my perspective, I saw this as an opportunity to not only showcase how far I’ve come in life, but also see just how many people from my past would want to connect and acknowledge how wrong they were. In my mind, everything had lined up pretty perfectly. I had an awesome job, I was living within a few miles of the nation’s capital, and I was happier than I had ever been. I had a lot going for me back in the late 2000’s. However, I soon found out that I had a lot to learn.

As I was entering my 30’s I felt like there had to be some guilty consciences out there seeing my name on their Facebook feed somewhere. I thought for sure that somebody out there might have been feeling compelled to step up and apologize for making my life difficult. After all of the subtle and not so subtle outcasting and bullying, I had to think somebody would see where I was in life and say “oh shit, I was wrong”. On my end, I received nothing but tumbleweeds. This was a wakeup call for me. Sure, it was disheartening and left me feeling empty and unsatisfied. However, as the genuine and introspective person I strive to be, I came to the realization that I needed to change the way I thought about all of this. I was motivated to succeed for all of the wrong reasons. This is when my life started to change. This when I started the journey I am now on today.

Learning To Be At Peace With The Past

From the time I learned my Facebook lesson to where I’m at today, I had to slowly, but surely learn how and why I am motivated to succeed. I had to learn a lot about who I am at the core. I had to learn that I’m not in a coming of age movie where I am “teaching” the naysayers a lesson. This is real life. It’s my life and I need to live it for me. I won’t lie, the negativity I lived through will always play a role in why I do some of the things I do, but it shouldn’t be THEE reason. What I learned from the lack of empathy and lack of apology from the naysayers is either they don’t actually care what i’m doing today or they just don’t want to acknowledge that they were that type of person at one time in their life. My reasoning tends to veer more on the side of this: If they didn’t care that much before and decided to treat me a certain way, then they probably don’t care today. Regardless of the reason, I’ve learned that I shouldn’t expect an apology from anybody. After all these years, you just have to leave it in the past and concentrate on yourself. Chances are, that’s where xyz naysayer is at today as well.

Today I am running this blog, I am about to launch a podcast, have had many cool experiences, and am focused on trying to be the best I can be. That’s what matters. I am focused on myself and am motivated to do things in myself for me, not for people who never cared about me. Regardless of what our path in life is or where it leads, we have to leave the negativity and dark times behind. It’s taken me a long time to learn all of this and apply it to my life, but I am thankful to have learned it sooner rather than later. You don’t have to let the people who don’t believe in you define you or your life. You don’t have to live in a prison where they have somehow still have that kind of power over you. You can get past it. If I could do it, then I know anybody can. The fact that a kid who was often held back because of the way they looked and sounded is now posting video content on social media and about to do podcast is huge. It says a lot about my growth as a person. Hopefully it says something about who I am.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: