I promise I will be posting some fun travel pictures and stories in a bit, but first I want to write something that is weighing on my soul.
It is nearly impossible to log in to any social media account without looking at metrics and numbers: how many followers, “trending news stories,” potential likes… etc.The inherent nature of social media revolves around doing things that involve and influence others. This can lead to many amazing changes. People are able to rally behind noble causes and provide support when it is needed. I don’t think I actually want to link out to any other articles with this, but I know you have heard of this. These positive outcomes are great. But the effects of social media actually are that of a two-edged sword. So many people these days sit behind a keyboard and belittle and bully others. They use the internet to foster courage due to their anonymity. I have found that people these days seemingly just want to be part of something. We have bleached our own emotions, so we feel the need to borrow from other circumstances. I like to call it “hyper-sensationalized.” Websites like Buzzfeed use this emotion to drive traffic with Click Bait articles. I guess I say all of this as a rambling preamble for my true topic.
I have been fortunate enough to live out some of my dreams. When I was in school, people asked what I wanted to do when I was older. I found myself telling them, I want to live by the water and travel the world. Since leaving Epic in 2013, I have been able to travel the United States, gain a strong knowledge and appreciation for beer, rekindle old friendships, take on international work, live abroad, travel the world, and now live by the water.
As I traveled the world, I decided to start this blog, CT Scans the World. I dove head first into the world of blogging, watching videos and reading other success stories. They taught how to create content, how to stay relevant, when to update systems, and other key parts to being a successful blogger. One of the common pieces in all the tips was about growing your spheres of influence. They taught how to get more followers and subscribers. I now have taken a step back, and I look at how this desire has permeated many areas of our normal lives. People are driven to do things just to try to get retweets and celebrity shares. We selfishly break rules just to get selfies that other people can’t get. We do crazy dares just to impress strangers.
If I am being completely honest, I will admit that I got wrapped up in the hype. I think we all do. I am not writing this as some “I’m better than you” statement at all. I know I have so much wrong with me, but what I can you is this: If you are chasing the social media Joneses, you will never catch them. In the end, it will all basically be a waste of time. You will find that you missed a lot of great parts of life, trying to impress others with yours.
As I look at my current position, I realize just how blessed I am. Not in a classless “#Blessed” Insta-tag kind of way. But actual blessings from those who truly care for me. That is what I want this to be: recognition for those who put parts of my life into their own life to make us both achieve more. I know I will inevitably forget some people here and there… It is not my intent to hurt any feelings here. I really want to share the love you have shared with me.
Instead of looking at how many people I can blindly influence or how many people follow my status updates or how many likes my perfect slice-of-life intagram post can accrue, I want to take time to look at the spheres of people who have influenced me. These are people who helped shape my current life.
I think the easiest way will be to group people chronologically by life event as best I can.
Obviously this comes first. One thing that is true for most people is that we are all given a family, and it is difficult to choose which one we get. I am blessed by my family, both nuclear and extended. My mother prays for me every day. I can constantly feel her love in all of my steps. My father is there for me in every professional decision I have made. He helps me to figure out the questions and the answers. My sisters each carry their own set of skills. Joelle is a realist who always helps me realize both sides of every coin. She will forever be someone I look up to. Karena served as my proxy nurse and “literally saved my life” on many occasions where my migraines seemed larger than life, or I picked up some random travel bug. Kristi was always there to listen and be a caring ear. She will forever be an intellectual guide for me. My three brothers in law have always be consistent examples of what a good man is these days.
Through all the years, I am so happy that I have remained emotionally close with these guys. Even though distance has taken its toll on our Perkins breakfasts, zombie runs, Hot Wing benders, Popeyes Monday Lunch, Wang’s Buffets, Papa Law story time sessions, and whatever else, I know that when I need to talk seriously, I can with y’all: Colin, Aaron, Will, Alex, Jeff, Jonny, Michael, Clayton. Jeff, the lessons you gave me about looking for careers have stuck with me through the years.
I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t met y’all in Madison. So much of my recent life was shaped and still formed by our friendship. YoT may have upset many people, but without it, I don’t think I would have made it out of Madison alive. Tony, Dustin, Kates, Primetime, Broche, Sean, and Nigel… I would never have been able to make it through this tough time dealing with Jeff without you. I still remember some of the first times we hung out. I felt like I was in an interview to be part of the cool kids. I also love that I was able to become close with Megan Fox and Matt & Silly. Then I was able to meet Meredith and Tom and Pitocco and Puckett on our Omaha team. I like that I still keep in touch with you. All Gold softball nights were a blast with Jaime, Doodoo, Frances, Frutiger, Corsones and Brendan. I also was able to make solid friends with Garry. We still need to set up a trip to visit each other.I also had some amazing people on my ASAP team: Notaro, Kevin, Nate, Jonah, Bishko, Emily, Urbs, Josh, and Lisa. Also where would I be without those oranges, Samantha and Lauren?
In addition, it is awesome that I am able to continue working with Albaraa in Baltimore. I remember the first night I was in Madison at the extended stay when you asked for a ride to work. Who knew we would be this close still?
After I quit, I spent some time traveling. I was able to visit Idaho and Alaska. Brooks and Matt welcomed me into their home where I met Kevin and Carlos. When we watches the Glacier Pilots play, I made myself at home in Adler Town and met some awesome locals, Shannon, Sydney and Megan. I still have my signed baseball in my room.
Back to Memphis
When I came back to Memphis after my time in Madison, I was able to rekindle some old friends and make some new ones. A old mentor from CUMC, Kellan, opened the doors to the beer world to me where I met his amazing brother, Davin and was able to start working at one of the best breweries in the nation. In this new industry I met some incredibly hard-working people who put blood, sweat and tears into their jobs. People like Serafina, Caitlin, Ari, Chris, Stephanie, Crebs, Craig, Bryant, Shannon, TO, Brian, Andy, and then some friends from MUS became coworkers, Josh and Warner.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Mark and Marcia Anthony and Will who have become family to me. I think I have lived with them for three years now. I would not know what to do without them in my life.
In addition to amazing coworkers in Memphis, I met some awesome other service industry folks. Taylor and I became friends. Morgan, Stacy, Naomi, Mary, and the other Saucer girls. I loved the nights I spent with y’all. I was able to join an amazing crew of beer drinkers. Here I met some truly amazing humans: Spence, Ryan, Ryan, Scott, Jim, Cliff, Casey, Jake, Loren, Mike and Tom. You continue to challenge me to drink better beers.
Joelle, you welcomed me into a Yelp community where I met Christina, Kyle, Cristina, Darcy and many others. I was able to foster an adventurous eating spirit with your help. I also met Brad who now is one of my best friends. I also then met Hillary, and now Brad & Hillary will be tying the knot.
Kyle, you helped welcome me into the St George’s family by letting me coach under you. Lacrosse has always been and will always be a big part of my life, I hope. I was able to coach some incredible athletes.
Jared, you and Ryan put me in touch with Brian in order to find me a gig with HCI. after that, I was drowning in interviews. Finally, I chose to move around the world and relocate to Saudi Arabia. But in the process, Brian went from recruiter to true friend. I remember the many days I would call him just to check on my status.
From the moment I stepped of the plane, I met Tim, then Ali. Who knew they would quickly become some of my best friends? Our team was pretty rock-solid: Antoine, Antwan, Daniel, Juin, Usama, Taryn, Joanne, Merry, Mit, Armando, and Eduardo. But then we lucked out and had some spectacular other people on the team. Khaled, Vince, Khalil, Admad, Aleksandr, Brett, Caron, Marianne, Mirielle, Ahmed, Chris, Hany, Minna, Adam, Taina, Julianna, Rebecca, Sheldon, and Sandra. I remember my first day of work. I had no idea what to expect. But I was fortunate when I was placed next to Areej. She turned out to be one of the most caring humans I have ever met. She truly wanted us to enjoy our time. Some of the other locals who made my time memorable were Farah, Dyala, Dalal, Dalal, Norah, Norah, Fast Five and many others.
Antoine, Mit, Ali, Usama… We were able to take on some amazing travels. We saw the world. I blame y’all for my wanderlust.
In addition to the people in Saudi, I had some awesome friends across the causeway in Bahrain. Calvin, one of my best friends from high school, was living there. I also met Miriam and Kirsty.
Since I came back to the States, I have been placed in a new role by Brian, where I have reconnected with Albaraa.
I would be missing two huge influencers if I left off Russell and Stephen. Since freshman year at SMU, these two have been what I would consider my Best friends. Every week of every month of every year. We talk frequently, travel together, argue, have fun, and anything else. Stephen has now helped me move three times, I think.
And now I am living down in Jacksonville on the water. I just bought a Jeep. And I can’t complain. I have visited 48 countries to date. I have been to all 8 wonders of the world. I am working on the Natural Wonders of the World currently. I have plans to visit my 50th state for the 4th of July and end the year on continent 6 on countries 49 and 50.
When people look at my Facebook and my blog, etc, I think all people see is that previous paragraph. What I want you to see is everything above that. Without these people and many more, I would not be able to post what I post and do what I do. Without my faith in God and the strength that comes from my family and friends I would not be able to walk through this world with the confidence I have. When Jeff passed away last year, I was emboldened with a new drive to put my hindrances aside and do what I want to do.
I think it is healthy to look back at the people who influence us. Give it a whirl. Find those influencers who helped form your life, and thank them. Let them know what they mean to you.
Thank you for reading.