This paper will be a reflection of my first forty-three years of life and my expectations for my next forty-three years. I will start at the beginning and what my upbringing was like with a Marine Corps father then take you through my adolescence years, then through my young adulthood to the present. Lastly, I will give you my insights of what I dream my future will hold and how I plan to get there. I grew up in the Marine Corps, which is to say that my father treated his family as if we were in the Corps. Being the older of two boys, I took the brunt of the expectations that my father had set for my brother Michael and I. We had to be the best at whatever we had committed to doing, it was a little like Ricky Bobbie’s father in the movie Talladega Nights, “if you ain’t first, your last”.
Of course, as my brother and I discovered, as we got older, that there is a second, third and even a fourth place in life. When I was 12 years old, my mother had decided that she ‘d had enough and she left the family. My father was not going to allow her to take his boys, so Michael and I stayed with our father. My father was very angry about her decision to leave. They had been together since high school and were married once he had returned from Vietnam. When my mother left he had to assume both roles as father and mother, and was by no means capable of filling my mother’s role of caretaker to our family. Our text tells us that Levinson (1996) says “women are more interested in finding ways to combine work and family, while men see themselves in terms of their career.” (Witt & Mossler, 2010, p. 31) The following three years were very difficult for me. I now had to become the person that looked out for my brother, while trying to keep my father happy so we would not be punished for the smallest things that we may have done wrong in his eyes. I started playing sports at the age of six and had become a pretty good football player. I started on the high school varsity team as a freshman at Norcross High School in Georgia. In 1984, when I turned 15, we had to move to Huntington Beach, California.
I really hated my father for making me leave my girlfriend, Jill, and all of my friends now that I was a teenager. Changing schools was going to be hard enough, but moving from the conservative South to a more liberal state like California was a complete cultural shock. At the time, I had a very thick southern accent, which was great with the girls, but not so much with the boys. At first, I had trouble fitting in, and had to defend and prove myself more than once. After I had proven that I was a pretty good athlete, it was much easier to be accepted into their circles. It also didn’t hurt that in my junior year, I helped the football team win the state championship in football. After high school, I played one-year junior collage football at Goldenwest College in Orange County, California. Before my second year of college, I transferred to Central Connecticut State University, where I played football until I blew my knee out. This was a few months before the Persian Gulf War was about to begin, so I decided that I wanted to serve my country and left school in December of 1990 and joined the Army. My first duty station was Darmstadt, Germany, which was another cultural shock.
I was only in country for about 6 months until I was shipped off to the Middle East, where I spent 3 months in the desert sun and wondered why anyone would want to live in this place I thought was hell. Fortunately, I was sent back to Germany, and spent the next two years falling in love with the European culture. That was some of the best times that I had ever had in my life to that point. Every weekend there was some type of fest going on, whether it was a wine-fest, German-American fest, Oktoberfest, or anything else that the Germans could think of celebrating to have an excuse to drink and have fun. In 1993, I was stationed back in the states at Fort Ritchie, MD, just outside of Camp David. I spent the next two years there until I got a letter of acceptance into the United States Secret Service. I decided to leave the military and was assigned to Bob Dole and Jack Kemp’s 1996 Presidential Campaign. That was a great experience, being part of a campaign, but after 2 years of being on the road ten months a year, I decided to take a position with the National Recognizance Office (NRO) ran by the CIA. Again, that was great experience to see what happens behind the curtain of security that protects this great country of ours.
I was with the NRO for almost one year when I received another letter from a beltway bandit company just outside of Washington D.C. offering me a position that doubled my current salary. I would have liked to tell you that it was a difficult decision, but at the time I was only making $39,000 with the NRO, so I jumped at the opportunity. I stayed with the beltway bandit company until 1999, when they lost their government funding and I was let go. I had no job offers in sight and so I decided to move from Maryland back to Georgia. Over the years I had kept in touch with my first high school girlfriend, Jill. I would send her flowers on her birthday, I spoke with her at least once a month when I was in Europe and the Middle East, so it was not like we were total strangers. In fact, when I moved back to Georgia, we started dating and eventually got married in 2001. In the summer of 2000 I took a position with Lexmark International and was doing very well. Then in 2007 Lexmark lost most of its market share to Hewlett Packard and begin lay-offs which I was a part, since they focused on service and operations to help reduce cost. Jill and I had two boys and it was not a good time to be without a job.
We struggled over the next year, and I would take odd jobs just to try to make ends meet. Then in the Spring of 2009, I took a Director position in Memphis, TN, and we instantly fell in love with the area. We thought this was going to be the place we were going to raise our family and set some strong roots down. Unfortunately, in 2010 the economy was getting worse and in 2011 it got even worse. A Congressional document released in October of 2011 by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) states, “a report from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) finds that the U.S. trade deficit with China has resulted in the loss of 2.8 million jobs over the past decade (2001-2010).” In the Fall of that year the manufacturing company that I was working moved its operations overseas to China.
I had to let go of 1200 employees then I was let go in October of 2011. So here we are in the Spring of 2012, going back to school to get a degree in Educational Studies so that I can complete my certification to become a high school teacher and coach football. This is the first step of achieving my goal, once I am able to get my foot in the door I plan to cherish each day for the next forty-three years. That I am able to do what I love and that is to teach and coach others to become the best that they can be. I also want to be a positive influence on my children and be able to share with them and my wife my dream and to share my life experiences with them and prove to them that you can follow your dreams if you really believe in them.
There we have it, a reflection of my first forty-three years and my expectations for my next forty-three. It interesting putting your life on paper and to see how much we have done in what seems to be a blink of an eye. This exercise has really opened my eyes on how quickly time flies and how we must cherish the moment and be thankful for the ones that love us and spend our time not worrying about letting the little things bother us, but look for the positive in every aspect of our lives and those around us.
Witt, G. A., & Mossler, R. A. (2010). Adult development and life assessment. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/AUPSY202.10.1
Congressional Documents and Publications. Lanham: Oct 14, 2011. Retrieved from http://proquest.umi.com/pqdweb?did=2486914101&sid=20&Fmt=3&clientld=74379&RQT=309&VName=PQD