I tell my life story a good amount. For a long time, I was unsure why or when I decided this was a good idea. I imagine it’s dazzling to be thoughtful and organized. Alas, I’ve never been accused of possessing such traits. I just started talking about myself — in public — one day. It started a few years back. No strategy, no anything at all, tbh. Besides a fair amount of useless NBA stats, I usually don't have much rolling around in my thinker.
The TL;DR version of my story is I was adopted. It was hard (boo hoo, whose life isn’t?), but I was given a chance by a woman who wanted her son to live a better life. You can read about it here if you'd like to feel sad. Personally, I’ll pass on revisiting some of my more challenging days.
Growing up, my older brother (also adopted) would tell me, “Just try not to act like you’re adopted.” I never knew how to respond to that. How does one act like they’re adopted? And, if they find themselves behaving in such a heinous manner, how does one get themselves to stop? It’s no doubt a quandary.
I grew up in Spanish Fork, Utah. 84660. It was a farm town back then; cows and all that. Nowadays, it’s a full-blown city with an Olive Garden and a Target set to open next year. I lived on 4th North in Spanish Fork most of my life. To those looking to stalk or dox, unfortunately for both of us, I no longer live on that street. However, that being said, I’d be honored to host you at my new (to me) place. You can find me on 5th North these days. It’s the fancier part of town, some say.
Growing up, I never knew whether the economy was booming or busting. Every day, month, and year felt like a recession at our house. We regularly ate lima beans and home-canned peaches to give you a sense of things. I bring all this up only to show you that my lower-class credentials are bonafide; I’d hate for you to think I’m pulling a Bill Clinton-esque “I feel your pain” stunt.
Now that I live the 5th North lifestyle, I’m more in tune with the prevailing economic trends and underlying circumstances related to homogenous yet disparate markets and international affairs. That’s before we even begin to delve into the issues and lack of first principles related to the current quagmire we happen to find ourselves in (a quaint, whimsical day trip to LinkedIn is all you need to understand that many an acquaintance will struggle to explain to their families why they were laid off this holiday season). Plus, there’s more than one currency in the world. You can’t forget or attempt to steel man the impact foreign currencies have from a macro perspective.
I may not have known much about economics as a kid (the above paragraph indicates I haven’t learned much more as an adult), but I do know how we handled the hard times in those days. We rallied. We came together. We helped. We’d help others who didn’t need as much help as we did. We’d seen worse, survived worse, and lived to laugh about it (albeit nervously). What did we have to lose if everything other than ourselves and our dignity were already lost?
So, yes, I tell my life story a good amount. I do it because it's the only experience I know; our lived experiences are the only thing any of us truly know. We’ve done the hard work necessary to earn the right to tell our tale so that — fingers crossed — future generations may benefit and live a life full of experiences far better than our own.
I believe our stories and experiences have value.
With all of the economic uncertainty heading into 2023, and the rapid advancements in AI that may very well take our current jobs, what else do we have to share other than our lived experiences? ChatGPT can’t write your story. That’s yours — and it’s valuable.
As we decide how to best face and respond to hard, challenging times — now and in the future — I wonder if there’s something to be learned from my time living on 4th North. What would happen if we rallied, came together, and helped for the sake of helping? Not for a political party or today's trending cause, but for each other and the generations to come who might feel compelled to build upon what we start. Not only would we have an incredible answer to Clayton Christensen's profound question, "How Will You Measure Your Life?", but the examples and legacies that would be sustained long after we're gone defy comprehension.
What do we have to lose other than ourselves and our dignity?