For the record, Red Bull tastes like fruit roll ups melted into a can and then refrigerated. If I wanted a fruit roll up, I'd go out and buy a box of fruit roll ups (which, admittedly, are delicious), but I suppose Red Bulls will do in a pinch -- i.e. when Walgreens is oppressively out of Monsters.
I have recently been in several situations where speaking about my prior employer has been a major topic. While this has had the awesome effect of getting to talk about the rad things I got to do and sharing amazing experiences, it's also had a rather less-intended effect of making me sentimental. I've never been a person particularly debilitated by sentimentality, but it is nice to look back and be proud of the work that I did. I remember a day in my last year with them where I was driving home from work and actually got quite emotional over it -- pride is not a common feeling I have had in my life and the times it has cropped up have generally been riddled with negative connotations. Being proud to have survived childhood and adolescence is empowering and yet has the adverse effect of reminding one's self of the many trials and horrors that had to be overcome. But, with my previous job, it's simply pride and even quite a bit of honor. I got to be a part of something great and, not just that, I was directly influential on many great things. Incredible strides, positive changes, amazing conversations -- there were bad things, sure, but I believe they were handled with a certain level of grace and level headedness. And, for that, I will always be thankful.
I have also thought and talked quite a bit about life in general (that less fun stuff I mentioned a moment ago). What we "survive" helps to make us who we are. I've never particularly liked the term "survivor", but it's a hard term to avoid under some circumstances where survival, literal life/death scenarios, are in play. I know and have known people who can't cope with that. I know and have known people who can. Some people want to deny it all and say it has no effect while others accept it as fact. I happen to be in the second category because I have experienced directly how influential and really quite useful my past has been on my present. Not in a "this specific action makes me better at X", but a bit more separated. My past happened to aid in my acuity towards body language, facial expression, and tonality which is incredibly useful in my profession while a familiar of mine used their past to bury themselves into the bottom of all kinds of bottles, glass and plastic. Which, to me, poses the question: are we born with survival instincts or is it a decision? And that's an entirely different conversation... I also have a massive chip on my shoulder -- a self-appointed mission to beat the odds -- which has both helped and occasionally hindered both my professional and personal life. I'd like to think I've mostly grown out of it professionally, but it's hard to stop beating that dead horse when you're not getting paid to stop beating the dead horse. On the other hand, that previously mentioned familiar has a family, hasn't clocked in for years, and honestly believes they have the perfect life. So, who's "winning" by society's standards? And that's another entirely different conversation...
The point is, accept or deny and everything in between, I believe our past makes us who we are -- the good and the bad.
While the past few months have been trying, I still do not and do not ever foresee becoming regretful of my decision to leave. I have never been naive enough to think just because I had to grow up fast as a kid I didn't have any more growing up to do -- it just never occurred to me that December 2013 could put the prior five years to shame. It has definitely reawakened my own curiosity and I look forward to the next day, week, month, decade. Who knows what'll come of it.
My next venture will go on twice or three or four times my last and, despite all odds, I know it'll be all the more incredible. So a toast (with shitty Red Bull) to the future.
And, just because I love Tangled...