Happily ever after.

And then we moved to Missouri and life was good. 

I ran the statement through my mind over and over again and wondered if that would be the  conclusion to my life story. A quiet exit—the easy way out but not necessarily utter failure either. Just a simple departure. The kind that makes adults feel obsolete. The question of planning for retirement was starting to come up in casual conversation and, unfortunately, casual conversation seems to be all we can come by these days. Well, that and local gossip.

Neither is very interesting.

Nostalgic memories are bullshit, but I ‘ve been fortunate enough to collect a few experiences along the way. With filters applied, cautiously looking back, there’s a short list of major milestones that not only determined who I would eventually become but probably represent small shifts in culture that would eventually make the nightly news.

1) Disgruntled teenagers attempt to create some kind of punk rock revival in the Midwest.

2) Disgruntled college kids dropping out to move to big cities.

3) Disgruntled baristas moving back near their hometowns to go back to school and trying, yet again, to attain the American Dream their parents always spoke of.

4) Disgruntled college graduates taking the first job they can get because 9/11 scared the shit out of everyone and the economy tanked.

5) Disgruntled professionals working their asses off to create their own version of that American Dream their parents always dangled in front of their faces take out big loans to buy cars, real estate and flat screen TVs.

6) Disgruntled professionals drowning in debt suddenly realize most of the shit they bought when everyone told them to run out and buy shit isn’t worth shit. Especially the real estate—which according to the dedicated disciples of the American Dream, is or was the best investment a young professional could make.

7) Disgruntled professionals run like hell to the nearest safe zone to reevaluate what matters. The conclusions vary from situation to situation, but the results are still inconclusive.

And here we are. Nearly full circle. From young adult questioning the standards of success that would dictate my future, to middle-aged adult questioning the principles that have defined my past. What does it all mean? Hard to say. But something tells me things are about to get very messy…and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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