23 & Me

In 14 days I turn 23. Knowing that I’m still in college and not able to claim much to my name, I am absolutely dreading the coming two weeks.

It really sucks that people age differently and success comes at different times upon each individuals life. If you would have asked 17 year old Jared, he would have told you I would be well on my way to being a millionaire by now. Unfortunately, this is jar from the case.

Recently, a handful of mishaps have accumulated. For starters, I lost my scholarship due to not meeting the criteria stated. This was a hard blow, as I reasoned almost 3 weeks ago that I should come back to Tech as the opportunity cost was very low because of my scholarship.

Additionally, I seem to have been floating these past few weeks. No great achievements by any means, and I feel stuck on many levels.

It’s clear that I’m not succeeding as I would hope, since I am asking myself “is this what life is like” many times recently. Perhaps I should speak of the good, and the fortune that has been brought my way.

Since I have last wrote, a handful of pleasantly nice happenings have occurred within my life. For starters, I was able to place first at the College of Media & Communications Pitch competition, taking home a cash prize of $3,500 (after dividing it within the team, my real take home was closer to $3,000). I held a summer internship at CoreLogic in Westlake, where I was placed as “Sales Operations Intern”. Realistically, it was a hybrid inside sales/account management role. From what I gather within the exit interview, I had a very respectable performance. My manager and a handful of my fellow peers have positive remarks regarding my tenure.

Mid summer, I was able to fly out to Phoenix, Arizona to visit Hannah for a weekend. Throughout the summer, I have had multiple opportunities to sail, and have even made some rough plans to sail the Florida Keys with my sailing partner Matthew, come winter. Additionally, fly fishing is a hobby that I find much pleasure in and look forward to improving within that.

Texas Tech has been good to me thus far. The gentlemen within my fraternity seemed to be pleasantly surprised at my return to Tech this fall. Classes seem to be interesting as a whole; however, I still do not feel as if the funds that are meant to go toward tuition are a good return on investment.

Relations within my family have improved, and I am now finally having open communication with my mom which was unexpected to say the least. Some time during the beginning of August, I was prompted to purchase a newer vehicle as the 2004 Honda Accord finally gave out.

Despite the good, there is still much to be worked on. I did not execute on CheapEats this summer whatsoever. I did not make any money from DFWPAS although I easily could have. I did not build my speargun. I did not take a blue water trip. I did not end up going to Austin for Makersquare (which actually may be a blessing). I did not improve my figure or health to what I can see.

I’m chasing a different path of life this semester, this year. More friends, more relationships. Focus on those close to you; build them up and love them. Start attending church again. Stop smoking. Practice gratitude, and de-clutter a majority of your life. Pursue CheapEats, and re-learn how to be different. Conformity is the last thing to benefit you, at this stage in life, with your goals in life.

There has been much to grow up from, but it is all good and well worth it. 23 is scary, but then again, there is much to be thankful for.

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Time Marches On

While in the Chitwood dorms at Texas Tech, I saw a little hand-drawn countdown poster that indicated the number of days left in the school year. 28 class days it read as of Saturday (2 days ago).

Yesterday, I talked with a friend. They sulked in the fact that they aren’t exactly sure what they are doing with their life. Stress and anxiety filled their words as they uttered, “In one year I’m going to be adulting, and I’m not ready for that.” The power of realization hit me. I no longer have a couple semesters/years to figure it out. You have almost exactly one year to make the most of your experience and then you’re catapulted into adulthood. Exciting for some tragic for others.

“Time marches on”. Some days I feel ready for this change. Others, such as today, I feel otherwise. It is a strange thing. It’s an unsettling feeling.

The older I get, the more I learn & the more I realize I don’t know. The world is a big place, with many people. It’s easy to feel like a big fish in a small pond after being established in a set geographical area. The truth is, there’s always someone better, smarter, cooler, richer, nicer, etc.

Even despite the many recent successes; Stanford, Google, Microsoft, Kinetic, Sigma Nu, etc. I am beginning to encounter the effects of atrophy. Times of rapid growth are met by equally powerful forces of complacency and inaction. During times that are void of solidified routines, it can be easy to be thrown off base and spiral into uncertainty. Life is frustrating at times.

I’m only 22 but i’m aging. Aging in mind and body. Pessimism dominates my thoughts, reminding me that, in the end, we all go back to the same chess box, regardless of what we have achieved, what we have acquired, or what experiences we’ve shared. My body is becoming soft, aching, and sore. My skin shows sign of neglect. My muscles are weak and gently layered with cushy fat. My joints ache, showing that I rest too much, or possibly too little. And the worst, my mind is foggy, my vision clouded, and I just want to stoop into a deep slumber, hoping when I awake it will be there no more.

I don’t like it here in Lubbock. Without trying to make hasty generalizations, the people aren’t anything to marvel at. Hubris is rampant, bigotry is welcomed, and the dullness of the landscape allows for perversion to roam free. I keep telling myself “one more year”, although I am doubtful. I question my ability to graduate on time. My ability to meet the imaginary standards of parents who want kids to graduate in four years. It isn’t me. I miss San Francisco. The weather, the eclectic people with minds abounding with ideas. That’s prosperity in mind, body and material. It could always be worse. It could always be better. I make poor decisions. I hurt people that are close to me. My mind sinks to deep places. But more than anything, I know why. I had a poor night’s rest. And that makes all the difference.

 

Aging Sushi & An Adult Summer

Reading material which you have written a considerable time ago can be an awfully painful experience. As I went through some of my older posts, many of which have been deleted or drafted in sake of embarrassment, I realized how much I have changed. The way I think, act, and behave has many ideals of an adult as I now see. At the time of when I wrote those other (embarrassing) posts, I can see how you never, ever really know as much as you think you do. Youthful ignorance…oh well.

Well anyways, so who the f is this new 21 year old hot shot Jared Steele? Ha, I wish. The person I am is quite literally nothing like who I was a year ago. Life is not black and white, good and bad, rich and poor. Everything is a muted blend of some sort of greyscale and it just depends really on where you fall on that spectrum. The many things I once swore were evil, such as alcohol, are quite literally one of the finer enjoyments in my life. Have you ever been two-stepping with strangers while having a considerable amount of White Zifinadel in your body?! It’s great!

Nonetheless, the reason I am writing today specifically is because I thought of how much I adore good sushi. I thought about it so much that I needed to write about how much I like it, which led to me thinking it would be a good blog post, which led me here…after two years. So now I’m like a piece of aged sushi. Not entirely bad yet, just preserving what’s left of its flavor before succumbing to the rancid smell that fish so quickly takes on.

So now where is my life & what am I doing? I can start by saying I’m a hardened lil mo’fo as I feel emotionally caullosed. The breakup with Hannah was something that was a kick to the nuts in emotional speak. It crippled me and I see people and things like they’re these little soulless creatures that just want to take advantage of you to push their own agenda. It’s deplorable. We’re all deplorable little shits really. Religion has no utility and am beginning to see why there is immense hostility towards religion from those who aren’t. Science and logic is slowly becoming the Truth in my life and quite honestly, I feel good about it. I feel good about knowing there is a reason for everything that can be explained. I would drive myself insane with the incessant guessing and anxious awaiting of good things to happen. No. No, no, no. I’ve made myself accountable and directly responsible for my actions and more importantly, results, and things are really getting better.

Here’s what I mean;
-Intern at Global Fortune 500 company, NEC. I was selected as one of only 6 interns within the US.
-Started my own business, CrackedApple.co and it’s not doing too shabby. It’s scaling decently and am able to take pride in it.
-Was awarded $13,600 in scholarships, and there’s likely more to come.
-My relationship with my brother has healed and improved drastically. The same can be said for my entire family really.
-I feel as if I have direction in my life and the confidence to move forward is liberating. I’m happy.

I know I still have so much to learn and understand, but these past few months has been pivotal in the direction of my life. Things are getting traction and forward progression is happening.

Interestingly enough, despite all of this, I find myself more aware of others, and their needs more often now than ever. I see how wrong poverty is, how disabling poor education can be, and just the things that cripple the possibility of the standard of living to improve in the world we live in.

To takeaway, I have a few ideas that I am pondering and need to think through. First, I am thinking about taking a year, or semester, off and spend part of that time to move to California, live with Trace, and possibly sit in on a few classes at Stanford. While doing that, I hope to grow CrackedApple.co and scale it up to have more AppleTechs (repair people). Maybe I can even retake some classes, possibly apply for the Terry scholarship, go sailing for a month or two, and do a really meaningful service-type kind of work that would genuinely benefit those who are likely to need it the most.

Ideas are so beautiful as long as they are utilized,

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New Boat

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Here’s my Hobie 16 that I just purchased. It’s absolutely beautiful and sails pretty flawlessly. Looking forward to many years on the water with great friends building sweet memories. I have a little bit of work to do on the starboard hull (trying to force myself to use sailing lingo) to get it in regular sailing condition. Excited to get out on the water!

Goodlivin’

(No I didn’t take this photo/this isn’t me)

So, I find myself full of joy and anticipation for the year because of many reasons.

a) It’s Spring which means gardening, flowers, and life! My favorite season of the year and to celebrate I bought dozens of plants and have much growing in my mini greenhouse.

b) I should be buying a sailboat very, very soon. I’m talking to a guy now and will take out his Hobie 16 Catamaran out for a test run, and if all goes well…I will be one happy boat owner! In the picture above is actually one use of my sailboat; I want to take a trip down the Texas coast with a friend or two so we can do some sail camping. It will be like nothing I’ve ever done, but it’ll be awesome!

c) This is a small possibility but I have a slim chance of working on a charter dive boat in the Caribbean over the summer. Through a close friend, he actually asked me a while back so I’m going to see if this opportunity is still good and up for the taking because there would literally be nothing like it!

d) teegu is getting some traction and this is HUGE! Literally to get responses from businesses and employers means the world to me. I can not wait to get some real postings up and be able to launch for students to use!

Most importantly, God is good. Man it’s been such an awesome blessing to walk in sanctification and pursue that which is good, noble, and pleasing to Him. Seriously, nothing brings me as much joy as a steady and intimate prayer life.

Self-Reliance

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As part of my American Literature class at North Lake College, us students were assigned to read “Self-Reliance” by Ralph Waldo Emerson. My results were typical of many who have read it.

Some condensed and reworded quotes are quite powerful;

-Say to the people you know: “I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you.”
-All that needs to concern you is your own task, not what people think about it or you. This is difficult and may be the only defining difference between those who are great and those who are mediocre.
-Truly it demands something godlike in him who has cast off the common motives of humanity and has ventured to trust himself for a task-master. High be his heart, faithful his will, clear his sight, that he may in good earnest be doctrine, society, law, to himself, that a simple purpose may be to him as strong as iron necessity is to others.”
Be more staunch in your opinions, convictions and values. Stay faithful and true to yourself and refrain from becoming a watered-down individual from the sake of another’s pleasure and comfort. There is nothing wrong with being different, there is everything wrong with being the same.
I find myself now confident and reassured that nothing is wrong if my motives are correct. Looking at life through this perspective it is undeniably uncomfortable, but the epitome of fufillment. I’m going to buy the sailboat. I’m going to ask about working on the dive charter over summer. I’m going to work my tail off and build teegu. I’m going to be blunt and ask for sales when I encounter opposition. I will not associate with mediocre minds who merely want to live on the surface of life. I will not follow the path that others have laid before me.
So in conclusion, when you hear the silent whispers that pull your heart to pursue something; do it.

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Prison Minsitry- Johannesburg, South Africa

Prison Minsitry- Johannesburg, South Africa

Too many thoughts come to mind when I see this picture and think of all the things that went on during this day…much less this week.

The backstory of this picture is that we flew to Johannesburg, South Africa where a very good friend a David (he’s the head honcho of the group TSEA) is a pastor and gave us much work to do. Before I continue-yes, I understand there is ton’s of charity and ministry work that needs to be done much closer to home, however doors opened up and it’s hard to turn down an opportunity like that.

So in this picture there was three guys. The first one who started talking to me (the guy on my right kneeling) and basically asked if I wanted a hit from his joint. I laughed and just told him “I’m not into drugs” but he basically was asking me if he could get my contact info; facebook, email, phone number, anything. He basically just wanted to ask me for money in the future from what I later discover. We had a pretty deep conversation pretty quickly and just asked why he and (this was later) the guys around me were incarcerated for. I find out it’s mostly for petty offenses (like stealing for food), except one which was rape and armed robbery. ANYWAYS, they asked a ton of questions about why I was there and such and I told them. Despite being surrounded by some pretty rough looking men, they were like puppies void of attention. Like they literally ate up the conversation and were continuously interrupting each other to ask me questions and such. I tried to keep things away from my opinion and purely on what Scripture read. I remember going through Galatians, Colossians, and 1 Thessalonians and they were just quiet. You could tell their hearts had been shaken and those men finally realized that they were living a very unhappy and empty life.
So here’s probably the coolest thing that happened on the trip. So before this picture was taken, I was talking to four men originally. The fourth guy kinda popped in and was a real people-person. He loved to talk and totally had a free spirit which was pretty cool to watch even in the confines of a prison. Bluntly he asked he “hey, can I sing on the microphone you guys have? I am a very good rapper” I smirked and wasn’t sure what to say, but the only thing that I did say was (sureee… EVERYONE in America says they can rap”. Keep in mind I’m a pretty playful person and just went his cool vibes. Nonetheless he badgered me for a little bit over using the microphone and I eventually just had to tell him, “look man, I’m not the guy in charge (classic delegation move, I know) but you should ask someone else.” He darted off and I resumed my conversation with my new friends. A few minutes go by and I completely forgot about this guy, considering you literally get asked dozens if not hundreds of times for favors-candy, money, etc. so his request to sing on the microphone was just another need in a sea of others. However, by his sheer willpower he convinced someone and next thing I know the guys I am talking to blurt out, “hey look, it’s Denva”. No, he was not just singing, he was rapping. Not just rapping, but like freestyle, spittin’ lyrics that was like Christian rap. THE HECK?! So it ends with like a ton of people putting their faith in Jesus and a guy living out his dream with his prison brothers. Heck yeah man.