The Student of Life

By Ford Serna

“It’s about having an idea of the man you want to be and then aligning every decision along the way with the man you choose to be.”

I used to have these hopes and dreams of doing things far better than my family ever could have achieved. I was going to be the one to graduate high school; to go straight off to a four year college. I felt that for so long my family made me out to be the failure in the group. I wanted to escape the small box they had put me in. It wasn’t long after high school that I dropped all those hopes of being something more. I traded it all in for my first shot of whiskey and my first joint. I had discovered the life of the party.

Soon my world became smaller and smaller with my bad habits. Friends stepped away and I was fired from jobs. Homeless, rage built up inside me and all I ever did was lay on my couch wishing I could go back to that teenager with the once bright future. I thought that maybe if I just ran away to somewhere no one knew me, or maybe if I dated this one guy who had his whole life working for him, that maybe I too could get on track. That maybe I could have the life I always dreamt of. It wasn’t until I woke up from the chaos of breaking his heart with all my problems, that I finally came to terms with the fact that I was no longer in control of my life anymore. I was so far away from the person I thought I could have been.

In hindsight, I’m thankful for that day. It was the bottom of my well. I had boxed myself in so tightly, that I couldn’t see the truth anymore. I made my first decision that day to change everything I thought I knew about myself.

The first step of many was just to say that I had officially kicked my own ass. In the last three years, I have expanded my world so much. For so long I sought to escape the plight that was Sacramento. I met a group of friends who showed me my hometown in a whole new light. I became a student of life. I was shown how to be a responsible employee, a friend that works at keeping friendships; I went back to school and for the first time I traveled outside of the California borders. I got to visit cities I thought would be impossible to ever see just by looking out my bedroom window. I was given the most amazing gift of seeing my grandparents again who lived across the ocean. Previously, I swore I would never have the money to fly to them. I became confident in the man I was becoming.

My greatest decision I got to make was to have a genuine human adventure. I was happy and comfortable in Sacramento, but knew that I wanted to experience life in a new city. I moved to Seattle and have begun a new chapter in my life. At this point, one year has flown by. Although I have not completed everything I set out to do here so far, I know that it’s all just a decision away. I can choose today what I want in my life and how I want it to be. From the small box of problems and mistakes that I had crunched my life into, to the broad and roomy world that I get to live in today, there’s so much life to be explored. I’m excited to embrace that life with and open mind and a full heart.