Me llamo Ryan. I'm a son, husband, and father. I'm a product of an upper-middle-class midwestern suburbia upbringing. My parents were present, loving, and supportive - meaning I have no one to blame for any of my mistakes. After high school I dabbled in attending classes at Ball State University but seemed to find my talents fell more towards sleeping and watching TV than showing up for lectures. I needed inspiration, so I came home and started working in the family business and living with the parental units. Again, the unbelievably supportive parental units. I started at the business sweeping floors and taking out the trash.
After a couple years, I was told I needed a degree - any degree. So, like any good slacker I searched for the easiest route possible. With my somewhat less than stellar academic past, I knew the best bet would be a costly private institution. They typically don't turn away $18k per year in fees because of little hurdles such as past performance. University of Indianapolis it was! I chose to study Political Science/International Relations, partly because of a huge interest in the subject matter but in no small part because of an opportunity to intern at the Indiana House of Representatives.
During the internship I managed to float along without having to do much more work than winning the heart of a certain female intern, who consequently would later wear my ring and change my life forever. I also learned a few valuable life lessons:
- No matter how high the position, the person behind the desk is still just some guy
- You're never going to satisfy everyone, so stick with what you believe - never compromise
- While most people are relatively intelligent, many have a knack for reasoning their way to stupid
- "Stupid" always speaks the loudest, it's the soft voices that need to be heard
- Don't act cool, eventually she'll see the dork you really are (and that's the guy she'll love)
- Don't trust your elders just because their old
- NEVER LEAVE THE FAMILY BUSINESS!
Kelly and I got married and had an amazing son the same year I graduated from university. Degree in hand, I got to work in the business of waiting my turn at the family operation. At home, the blossoming family thing was going pretty well. We bought a house, car, and then the economic crisis of 2008 happened - claiming the employment of my high priced financial analyst wife, along with the career plans and future dreams of most of our generation. Luckily, we were one of the few who bought a home at the bottom end of what we could afford. Also, it didn't hurt to have that upper-middle-class supportive and loving family willing to help the struggling kids.
Amazingly, we survived and continue to push on. A daughter and a puppy later, we're a single income household trying to get through the worst economic climate in a century (they didn't have as many assets to lose in the 30's). Like the rest of my generation, I've come to terms with the fact I'm probably not going to have a better life than my parents and I'll even be lucky to have a life as good as they've had. This has bred a generation of soul-searchers desperate to find meaning in life beyond the acquisition of material belongings. Not unlike the titans that rose from the dust of the 30's, my generation is also searching for new markets and untapped corners in which to build our own empires.
This is a story about living.