| Part of a large family, I grew up in the San Francisco East Bay, in a town called Pleasanton. When my family moved there in December 1969, it was just a "bedroom community," with only a single two-screen movie theater.
By the time my father retired and my parents moved away in 1995, it was a well-planned booming community, complete with business parks, malls, and expensive apartments. Of course, I didn't wait around to see how the town turned out!
In 1987, I moved out. First to Sacramento, where living expenses were cheaper; then to San Francisco, where there was a better job market--and better pay!--for secretaries. After finding a good job and a perfect apartment--with great roommates--all within one week, I felt blessed!
Living in San Francisco had been a dream of mine for years, so periodically, I would pinch myself--just to make sure I wasn't dreaming! To this day I still have very fond memories of that beautiful city.
Well, nothing lasts forever, and nearly three years later, I was experiencing job burnout from working 18-hour days in the Financial District. So, I quit my job and went to see an expert--a job counselor--who gave me a battery of psychological and interest tests to help me find a new career path. The result? I would "do well" in the military as either a pilot or a cop!
Though bummed I didn't have the eye-sight to be a pilot, I joined the Air Force and began a career in Law Enforcement. I know; you're thinking: "Wow, what a drastic change!" You're right, it definitely was that. But, it was also a wonderful adventure!
I discovered a calling in law enforcement. As I do with everything, I dived in head first! Talk about a change! The training--and my experiences as a cop--changed my perspective dramatically. A good analogy would be the change Keanu Reeves' character "Neo" went through in "The Matrix." While playing a battery, Neo was unhooked from the machine and discovered himself in a completely different world. He could then see "the big picture" and how blindly the world's population believed that their environment--a computer simulation program--was real.
As a cop, you're exposed to much more of this world's reality than the average citizen, and not just from direct experience either. Everytime you meet another cop, the topic of conversation always ends up becoming a competition to see who's dealt with the worst cases. So, it's like living in a weird "underworld" where you always have access to horrible stories of "man's inhumanity to man," and the like. I've learned that evil really exists--it's the only sane explanation for why people do the awful things they do.
I did love the work; though it was draining--physically, mentally, and emotionally. After 16- to 18-hour days, you aren't just tired, you are wiped out! You've heard, seen, and done enough. Law enforcement isn't just a job; it gets under your skin and takes over your life. Add to that my penchant for workaholism, and you have a recipe for.... injuries! Yes, a had a few of those (5 in eight years)!
Since I can't do that demanding physical work anymore, I turned to something I had never considered doing professionally before: Freelance writing. Sounds like a stretch, I know, but I've always had the talent for it. Just never liked doing it the way my high school teachers required me to do it. I hated having to do outlines and write out notes--it adds time-consuming complications to what should be an enjoyable activity. Writing police reports helped me reclaim my love for the more streamlined writing process.
In fact, writing not only keeps the mind thinking actively, it also produces the same sort of "feel good" hormones that physical exercise does. To this, I attribute the fact that most professional writers never retire. They write until their dying day, often leaving unfinished projects. Now that's the way to go!
As you may have guessed if you've read my "Conservative Philosophy" page, I've also become more interested in politics, though not for its own purpose. It is more about wanting to bring about positive change for all Americans than it is for any political goal. For, in my younger years, I paid very little attention to politics, being thoroughly engulfed in my own personal soap opera to care much about the 'big picture.' Along with maturity--and, YES, wrinkles!--came the inevitable desire to improve conditions as much as I can for the next generation. And, yeah, I know they don't appreciate it! LOL!