Seventeen years ago, I was lost. Stuck in a degree that was all wrong for me and a school that didn’t have the right program for me to change into, I had no idea what my future held. The only reason I stayed was because my fiancé had another year before she graduated. I took basic classes my fourth year of college to make a transfer easier.

Mrs. addiction and I were married that summer; thankfully she had a job lined up, but I was still adrift. I worked a crap job and finally found a degree at a school nearby that was right for me and I excelled. It felt great - I felt alive and validated by my professors and my classmates. Those three years were fantastic for me personally, even with my crap job and even though they were tough for us as a couple (her job was draining, physically and mentally). We needed a change and moved to Tulsa. She found a good job, but once again I found myself in the ditch, the best job I could land didn’t pay well and wasn’t rewarding.

Thankfully, after a year, I got a lead from a neighbor about an opportunity in a different field, not in my discipline, but within my ability. I gave it a shot, got the job, and then worked my ass off over the next few years, learning everything I could about the position and the industry to become the best I could at it. A decade has passed since I took that job, and I’ve been through layoffs and downtowns as well as good times, I’ve gone back to school part-time, we’ve added three little addicts to the family, and bought the house pictured here several years back. The job I have today is by no means my dream job, but I’ve worked hard to get here, and I’m grateful to be paid well for a job that, at this point, comes fairly naturally to me.

After an evening of working in the yard and straightening up my tool bench, I can’t help but be thankful. To my wife, for sticking by me and giving me a beautiful family; to my neighbor, for offering me an opportunity; and to my employers of the last ten years, for giving me a shot and encouraging advancement and education.

I know some of you here are going through what I went through in college or after graduation. Feeling “lost”, with no direction, or being underemployed is a terrible feeling. I’d just encourage you to keep cranking and working to find the thing that is right for you, and for the place that you fit. It may suck right now, but it gets better. Just keep at it.

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(I’m also thankful for the ridiculously low cost of living in Oklahoma...)