i wasted the first 40 years of my life and i’m only 38.

the first 12 years of my life weren’t my fault.
in fact, that could maybe be said for the first 21.
i say that, but the truth is i wish i had made different decisions back when i was really young.
i grew up mormon.
i was such a pleaser.
SUCH a pleaser.
i did everything i thought i was supposed to do.
and only a couple things i wasn’t. like masturbating. i was convinced i would go to hell for that. and that i was the only mormon boy plagued by that temptation. i was haunted by this sin; this impurity that i couldn’t seem to shake. so i tried harder to appear more spiritual and innocent. but deep down, i just wanted to look at pictures of naked girls. except i didn’t have any access to pictures of naked girls back then.
except for the JC Penny catalog. i had to settle for women in full-support bras.
thank god the internet hadn’t become popular yet. i would probably still be stuck in my bedroom doing “homework.”
     or maybe i would have become even luckier and stumbled upon Mark Twain’s advice.

but back to my point: i was a goody-goody. and proud of it. teachers liked me; church leaders liked me; i had lots of supportive friends and we’d sit at the piano and sing church songs and broadway songs as i played.
true story.

but what i wasn’t was genuine. and i didn’t know how to be so. and, looking back, it kind of bothers me when i meet people that were raised in the church but decided at an early age that they didn’t believe it. or decided they wouldn’t go on the culturally obligatory two-year mission.
it bothers me because i wish that i had done the same as them.
but i didn’t.
i trusted authority. all authority. i thought that if i did well in school and fulfilled my church duties that i’d do well in life.
i was a suck-up; a kiss-up; a brown-noser and proud of it. i thought that was the key to success. i trusted the system.

so, the first 21 years were a wash, and then i got married and pretty much stayed in this life of being a pleaser.
i had high aspirations to be a CEO, to be an entrepreneur, but my working-class suburban background proved to be stronger than i realized and i ended up in debt, frustrated, joining an MLM and eventually divorced.

an MLM? really?

i’m not proud of it, but at least you know where i’m coming from. i live in Utah, after all.

i’m not going to give you the rest of my life history—though you’ll get it soon enough—but basically, my prematurely gray hair makes me look like i’m about 7 years older than i really am, and my starts and stops of all my different careers and interests, make me feel like i’m 24.

the good news is, i think i know better how to be true to myself. and i think i know a little better who i am. and i’ve hopefully got another 30 or 40 years to build upon that.

hashtag do a do-over.
    and over.
      and over.