Looking back, Looking forward

There’s nothing quite like looking back on old work to make you realize how far you’ve come. I was flipping through an old notebook and found this gem, probably written while I was in high school.

I’ve edited it for clarity, grammar, and spelling, but left the cheesiness for you to enjoy.

Of all the things spawned of the earth there is but one that can truly be said to have been “spat out.” Evil has created many nightmarish beings, but only one of its creatures is as comical as the vampire donkey.

Vampire donkey looking back
“Oh, the shame!”

I also found some beautiful pieces, including this from a descriptive paragraph about flying.

The clouds were lit blue by the moon as they floated over the silver seam of the beach.

There were darker bits too. I found some telling pieces of writing, like a diary entry I’d made after failing a maths test. I thought I was a loser — academically, in love, and in life. Reading that entry now, I get the sense I’d felt entitled to good grades for various reasons, and that I expected to have some mentor come along and lead me to victory. Maybe I expected that every kid needed their Mr. Miyagi.

Interestingly, at the end of that year, I did meet a mentor — my driving instructor.  Pat gave me a radically new perspective, helped me beat my fears, and smile more. She also pointed me to a mentor that would have a more profound impact on my life, Jesus Christ, and I became a Christian in January of the following year.

My conversion is important, but it isn’t the main point of this post. You see, other changes happened around that time too. I met my first girlfriend at the end of 1999, the same year I’d written the diary entry, and in 2000 I went to America and met and dated more girls. It was a huge change from high school. Now, I’m one of the luckiest guys in the world when it comes to love, having been married, happily, for almost 9 years. And she’s a great role-player.

Academically, things changed too. When I went to university in 2001 I scored a bunch of distinctions, and the rest of my grades were pretty good. Except for maths. But I worked my butt off and finally passed that too. In doing so, I realized that math was something I’d feared for much of my life. Now I don’t fear it quite so much and have worked as a programmer and game designer — both jobs that use plenty of maths — for years.

So my point is this. Never give up. Never, ever, give up. Winston Churchill might have actually said that, and you have to trust a guy holding a Tommy gun.

You just never know what’s around the corner, so stick in there.

And one more thing. If you think you’re bad at something, don’t let that be your identity. You’re only bad at something until you put in the time to be better at it. We’re an extremely malleable species — we can learn and adapt to meet any challenge.

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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