Dear Shane

Hey.

I know this is been wearing hard on you for a while.  And your mom and I don’t want to tell you one way or the other to help you make your decision.  It is a decision that is entirely up to you.  We will support you which ever path you choose. 

We know how much you are hurting right now, just drowning in a sea of being lost in who and what you are and what to do.  And, quite honestly, we don’t really know how to help…

I’ve been in your shoes.

My dad was in the air force.  They didn’t nudge me in that direction.  They wanted me to go to college and kind of pushed me in that direction.  I was the first person in Mustizer history to go to college… and looking back now, it kinda felt like they forced me into it, so they could force me into what they saw as a good paying job and a future.  All I wanted to do was make movies.  And they pushed me toward teaching.  And I followed it.

I went to SUNY Oswego, moved away from home and did my semesters and came home every few weeks, studying math, because that was the only subject I was good at, outside of art… but they really didn’t support me in that aspect of my life at all.  To them, it was all about getting a high paying job when I got out.

I wasn’t ready for college.  I thought I was, but I wasn’t.  I was too young inside.  It’s not that I really had any more responsibility than before.  It was pretty much just high school still.  You just had to get your own ass out of bed at 8am after staying up til 3am every night and then come back and crash and sleep all day.  Sound familiar?  lol

I graduated college.  my classroom grades were good, but honestly, I didn’t learn a fucking thing in four years.  I got a job at a video store and that turned into management.  I ended up doing that for TWELVE YEARS.  I had mountains of student loan debt that I paid off about three years ago…. and I finished college when you were THREE. 

I did ok at college, but looking back, I feel it was a waste of my time and a huge waste of money.. I had nothing to show for it, but a piece of paper that said I finished a bunch of classes in a career path that I wasn’t passionate about and don’t have a job in!  And then, I was a clerk in a video store. 

…and honestly, I think now, that college is just something society put in place for teens to just figure their shit out until they are competent enough to really work.

I learned all of my integrity, strength, and strong sense of right and wrong from my dad.  And he had learned that from his dad.  And they were all military men… kinda like your family. 

I wish they would have pushed me toward the military… so that for those four years that I had wasted in college, I could have been learning something that could translate into something I was passionate about… and then use that to go to school and really learn to use college to my advantage and use it to learn how to make what I was passionate about a reality.   If I had gone into the military, I could have chosen a communications tract and had such a step up on my movie making… cuz I tried that at college and that didn’t work. lol  Communications major @ college is basically someone who has no idea what the fuck they wanted to do.  I couldn’t go to film school.  It was too expensive and my parents were having no part of it.

I figured my shit out on my own, because I had no choice.  I said fuck it, I’m going to learn how to write movies.  I had a good idea and then followed up on it.  And at the dawn of the digital era, a bunch of my friends told me to stop bitching about it and just do it… so I learned movie making all by myself.  It was trial by error.  I made a ton of mistakes, but also learned a great deal. 

The one thing that I have kind of learned over the last few years… after I poured two years of constant work into Cold Winter is that you can be passionate about something, and not have to get paid for it.  The satisfaction comes from doing something you love with the people you love.   Yes.  That’s the dream job.  And with enough hard work it might pay off someday.  

But, the reality is, you gotta live and you gotta work just to make time for your passion.  I’ve been making movies for ten years now.  And I still haven’t crossed over… but I’m getting closer.   Movie-making, professional gaming… they are the dream jobs.  They are a one in a million and it’s a whole lot of right place at the right time.

I’m not saying one way or the other which is right for you.  I’m just telling you how I lived through it.  There is no wrong decision.  Every life choice we make… no matter what we do… can be right and wrong at the same time.  But that’s all life is.  We learn by fucking up over and over and over again.  That’s how we grow. 

College is going to be really fucking hard.  The Air Force is going to be really fucking hard.  There is no right choice.  There is no wrong choice.   The military is going to give you camaraderie, a brotherhood, and build the strength inside you.  College is going to push the limits of your brain and open paths of deeper thinking.   The military is going to give you strength and guidance.  College is going to give you more time at home and more time to figure out what you want to do.

You just have to choose which is right for you.  Find your strong suit.  That inner strength inside you or that inner mind that wants knowledge? 

We are here no matter what you decide.

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