When I finished High School almost 15 years ago, I had no idea that I wanted to become a writer. After graduating High School as some do, I went into the family business. My father was a Journeyman Union Carpenter. My immediate family had never graduated College, so when my father offered to sponsor me into the Carpenters Union, I jumped at the chance. I spent nearly 4 years as an apprentice carpenter. During that time I played my part in building a Kaiser Permanente Hospital, a Veterans Affairs Hospital in downtown Los Angeles, and worked on remodeling the dorms at the University of Southern California. We were finish carpenters and I learned the art of cabinetry, handrails, wall protection, finished drywall, and other skills. The Union would even send me to their classes where i learned the basics of blueprint reading, OSHA regulations, and building stairs and ladders, among other things.
I always had a love for creation. As a child, drawing, music, and poetry were my favorite hobbies. Carpentry allowed me to create something with my hands and gave me immense pride in my work, looking back on the finished project. I loved my time as a carpenter… at first, but as time passed, it became apparent that this was not the trade for me. I was not as skilled at the trade as my father was at my age, and I began having this gnawing feeling that it wasn’t what I wanted. It was what my Father wanted for me. Perhaps I might have tried to remain a carpenter, but the economy made my decision for me. The recession of 2010 hit the construction industry hard, I lost my job, the company i worked for declared bankruptcy, and my father went into early retirement. Besides doing some work at my home or for a friend, I would never practice carpentry professionally ever again.
When the smoke had cleared, I was in my mid-twenties, an age when many others had already graduated college with associate’s or bachelor’s degrees. After doing some soul searching and working every job from a lifeguard to a forklift operator, I finally attended College. I was still unsure of what I wanted to be. I knew I still loved creating and missed having that aspect in my professional life. This is when being a writer first crossed my mind. But foolish me, at the time, i thought writers struggled to pay the rent, and jobs were so hard to get (which isn’t entirely false) and instead choose to be a different kind of more lucrative creator, a computer programmer.
I enrolled in college during the Summer of 2015. I still had to pay the rent, so I attended night class, so a 2-year associate’s degree would take me four years to obtain. I had a decent day job, I was a Department Leader of a warehouse, and my employer was very understanding of my school schedule. Those years at College are when i really blossomed into myself, though I was in my late twenties. During those years, I came to grips with all my problems. A somewhat quiet kid became a social butterfly. I became more understanding of other cultures and beliefs and just generally broadened my horizons. If college taught me nothing else, it taught me great life lessons and irreplaceable experiences. I joined the Colleges Computer Programming Club and later became its Vice President. I finished my general education and most of my programming classes. I failed one class (Advanced Algebra…Uhhhh) and i also took on extra classes to broaden my knowledge of programming. This ended up putting me behind on graduating. Regardless of all that, I was set to graduate in the Fall of 2020.
But that never happened due to the damn pandemic. I went to a dark place. My school closed down, then I lost my day job, and my home shortly after. I was forced to re-think everything. At thirty years old I had to do some soul searching again. I loved my college experience, even more than I loved programming itself, I think. But I was tired of struggling to pay the rent In California, so I left that State and my school behind. In a way, this is when I left programming behind as well, because nobody was hiring a programmer with no real job experience and an almost degree, no matter how well I did in class.
I wanted a fresh start. By May 2020, I was in a new state, a new home, with an old passion keeping me company, writing. I resurrected my old blog, later created this blog, began working on a novel and started ghostwriting through content mills and freelance websites. I forgot how much I loved writing, it’s a form of creation like no other. That’s when I decided, screw it I want to be a writer, I should have chosen it in college when I first started. Some may see my time in carpentry and my college years as a waste of time. I do not, they are skills I still have and still use. My programming classes made me a technical wizard among my friends and family. My time as a Carpenter gave me the foundation to build what I want or need. They are skills I still use and enjoy, but they were never things I was really passionate about. Writing is the first thing I have been truly passionate about since my old teenage dream of being a rapper.
Sometimes you need to go through what others think you should do or what you think you should do before finding what you are truly meant to do. To all those who are now on this road, just know that none of that time you spent on other professions or with other ideas was wasted time. Sometimes that is the process that needs to happen in order to find out what you truly are.
Until My Next Post
Stay Happy, Healthy, and Free