Recently I had some friends talk me into signing up on Facebook
. I never really had any desire to get on a social networking site. I was perfectly happy in my own little cocoon in the Georgia woods. After I joined, I went through and added the friends that wanted me to join to my little group. Then a funny thing started happening, people I remembered and people I didn't started sending me friend requests. So I accepted those that I knew and ignored those that I didn't. Then I thought about all the people that I remembered through the years and started to dig into the "find friends" portion of facebook
. As it turns out, Facebook
is much more fun than I thought it was going to be. The most significant thing about joining has been the triggering of the "what ifs" and I found myself daydreaming about my life and how it turned out. Everyone has those thoughts that run around their head. We wonder what would've happened if a single event was different in our lives and how things would have turned out had we taken the other road. Facebook
has been a catalyst that triggered a colossal "what if" in my head.
When I was in tenth grade, my mother went broke trying to survive in LA. I think she was on the verge of a complete breakdown. So she picked up the family and hauled us off to Florida to live with my aunt. I played strong but I was really devastated to be moved across the country to a new place. I never gave much deep thought to the turn my life took until I fired up facebook
and started reconnecting with the friends I left behind. The most fundamental effect moving had on me was my school performance. In the city of angles, I was and A/B student and generally a good kid. Moving to Florida had a dramatic effect on my grades. At first, I was as good a student or better than I ever was. My classes in Florida were easy compared to that of LA. I managed to get good grades without even trying and developed bad study habits as a result. Eventually, after a year or so, this caught up with me and my grades began to plummet to the point that I eventually ended up repeating the eleventh grade. This was unimaginable in my past life. It still hurts me to this day that I managed to tank a year of school. I've never been considered stupid by any stretch of the imagination. I sure ended up feeling that way when I played (in the band) at what would've been my own graduation. When I finally did graduate from school, I was lost and I knew it before hand. That's why I joined the Army via the delayed entry program. I had crappy grades and my folks had no money to pay my way through college. I joined strictly for the college money. As it turns out, joining the Army was probably the smartest move I ever made. As much as I HATED it while I was in, it has given me everything I have had since and, most certainly, given me the discipline I lost in the later years of high school.
has put the crossroads that I was forced to take in perspective. I have given much deeper thought to how my life would have been had I not left California. My thoughts have always been those of regret for leaving my life behind on the west coast. I've always felt (and still do) that I don't belong in the south east. The southern mentality doesn't mesh with my personality and it's mostly because I grew up and developed my personality through my mother and friends in the west which was a much more tolerant and advanced society. At least it was through the eyes of a tenth grader who has since grown. In LA I went to a magnet school much like that of "Fame." I had to audition to get in. I had three music classes per day and, as a result, I believe I would've ended up as a musician or in some facet of the music industry. I believe I would have managed much better grades and gained a scholarship to a decent school. I would have also been a physically softer person. My magnet program allowed me to substitute a music class for physical education. I would have never been in the Army either and, most certainly, ended up overweight or possibly even obese. I also would have never picked up a cigarette to smoke. I have boredom and my cousin to blame for that one. He encouraged me to smoke and I did it initially for entertainment during my first summer of boredom and friendlessness in Florida. I'm still paying for that choice now. I would've been a more emotional person had I grown in LA as well. My current life has hardened my personality. I'm more jaded and rarely show any emotion at all. I'm forever on a slow burn and keep a level head about everything. I wasn't like that my whole life. The younger version of me was much more likely to smile, laugh, cry, and show love. All of that is still in me but suppressed and much less likely to be shown.
After much thought about who I am and who I might have become, I've come to the conclusion that I like who I am. If I had to do it all over again I would follow my current path with only one exception...
I never would've started smoking.