Mapping A Future...

There are any number of ways that a young person just beginning his or her adult life can approach the future. I knew in my bones when I turned about fifteen that I had to leave Eastern Oregon. I did just fine in high school--3.5 GPA and played a sport in every season. I took AP courses and I enjoyed learning and the teachers I was fortunate to work with in Pendleton.

But I knew that I had to attend college and earn a degree in order to satisfy myself and achieve my goals. I focused, again, on sports. When I think about my youth, it was always concentrated on two things: sports and the outdoors. When I lived in John Day, I lived to fish and play baseball. By the time I had moved to Pendleton, my passion was playing soccer. 

I applied (and was accepted) to Oregon, WSU, Gonzaga, and Linfield. The last option was the only place where I could realistically play soccer in college, so that is where I went. 

We drove across the state in early August. I had just turned eighteen. My mom and dad helped me set up my room and look for a job in McMinnville, and then soccer started and it was brutal. Mac is hot and humid in August. There were about forty of us trying out for nineteen spots. We practiced twice a day in the sweltering heat, and campus was empty because we all showed up two weeks before the rest of the campus population. 

It was a trying, exhilarating, nerve-wracking time for me, but I worked my ass off and made the team. So began my Linfield journey, and I'm thankful for what I learned at that school every day.

I played soccer and ran track there. I earned my bachelor's degree and met my wife and joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and I made the bulk of my best friends. I still speak with the guys that stood up for me at my wedding at least monthly. We still get together every year, and I miss them all the time.

What I'm saying is that Linfield gave me my life, and I'll always be thankful for that. I have moved on to other places and attended other schools, but I know my formative learning took place in McMinnville.

When students ask me for advice on the future, I tell them to be mindful of their studies, their goals, and their expenses. Oh, yeah...Linfield is a private school and is a bit expensive. I still owe some money on my student loans and I am about to hit forty years of age.

Still, I don't regret any of it, and I will have these loans finished off soon. I think it's important for young people to work backwards from the important goals--family, location, and work--in planning their futures. 

Be mindful of which jobs will satisfy you. Prepare for a family, if that is a goal, and carefully pick where you plan to live. 

We targeted Florida because of everything it has to offer our family. Fishing, camping, hiking, kayaking, golf--this place is Eden, in many respects. We had opportunities in other places, but California and Alaska weren't in the cards. Florida, thankfully, was...

I think it's important to save, plan, prepare, and work. I delivered pizzas, waited tables, transplanted grape vines, coached soccer, taught at an after-school program, and managed a video store in McMinnville. I took a full load of courses and ran track and played soccer. I did it all so that I could have a future with Jeanne and a life in the moment. 

So enjoy your time in school, but look toward the horizon. What kind of life will you have in your thirties? What about your forties? Where will you live, and how will you live? 

Now is the time to pose those questions, and also to take actionable steps toward giving them some answers...

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