20 Things I Wouldn’t Have Expected About My Life 20 Years Ago…

In the summer of 2001, I still lived in my Mom’s basement years after all of my friends had moved off to college. The auto parts warehouse I had worked for my entire teenage life had just been sold to our competition, but I didn’t really care because all of my time not shuttling auto parts around Northern Michigan was being spent building my first big website.

Looking back, just about everything in my life has changed from those days, so I thought it might be fun to muse a bit about those changes tonight…

  1. I’ve finally learned that I can’t just eat whatever I want, and it’s not the worst thing ever … though I do miss the taco pizza from my hometown pizza place that was a Friday night staple for me back in the day.
  2. I have three kids, and I live in the suburbs, and I’ve worked for the same employer since I first moved to Florida.
  3. P.S. I moved to Florida! In 2001 it seemed all but impossible, but a couple of years later I finally made what is still probably one of the single biggest changes in my entire life by moving away from everything that I ever knew in search of something more.
  4. I’ve been married for going on 13 years now.
  5. I’ve published multiple books. None have been successful enough to support me financially, but I’m still proud of each of them.
  6. I’m raising three kids – two of whom are on the autism spectrum.
  7. I’ve gotten to share my passions for video games and Legos and superheroes and all sorts of fun stuff with my kids, and it’s pretty awesome.
  8. I haven’t really touched a guitar since I moved to Florida.
  9. Or my SCUBA gear, although this summer I’m introducing the kids to snorkeling in our pool and we’re all really excited about it.
  10. My go-to alcoholic drink is still the same as it was when I was 21 – a simple rum and Coke, although now I like to mix it up with some Cherry Coke or grenadine.
  11. I didn’t truly understand most of my grievances with my hometown until I experienced something different.
  12. I used to be really into Disney World, but the last few years have really soured me financially.
  13. …which is somewhat ironic because I make more than I’ve ever made in my life, but my life is also much more expensive these days and my priorities have changed.
  14. For example, to blow my 21 year-old brain – the hospital bills for all three of my kids staying in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) each for several weeks after they were born totaled in excess of one million dollars. Thank god for insurance.
  15. Speaking of god, I’m still not a believer, however my wife is and I respect her immensely so it is possible to co-exist with the right person.
  16. There’s some music from growing up that I just can’t listen to anymore – a lot of the loud alternative rock mostly, though I do revisit the classics from time to time. I’ve been listening to No More Tears by Ozzy in my minivan trips to the grocery store lately … because I haven’t owned a sexy car in quite some time now.
  17. I’m grateful that my grandpa planted the seed for investing in me back then because I think we have a stable retirement plan today because of it.
  18. There are bits and pieces about where I grew up that I miss, but it’s often overshadowed by politics and the lack of diversity that I don’t miss from there.
  19. Despite being the resident nature boy my last years in scouting, I kind of hate nature these days and hate getting called on to deal with bugs and snakes and other pests that find their way into our home!
  20. I can’t think of a single problem I had when I was 21 that still matters to me in the slightest. 😉

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