I love Seattle.
One of the better things about me, and also one of the worst things about me, is that I know exactly what I want in life and will never settle.
Before I continue, I want to mention that this post is in no way bragging or tooting my own horn.
Without giving too much detail about my upbringing, for the majority of my childhood I was raised by a single dad who worked 60+ hours per week to provide for my little brother and I as best he could.
I had my first job at the age of 14, and I rode my bike to my first taxable job at the age of 16 until I got a car at 17; and have worked every day of my life with the exception of using my military leave after separating from the Marine Corps while waiting for the application process to complete for my current job.
For most of my adult life, I’ve had two jobs. The only time I didn’t have two jobs was when I was working full time and going to school full time while earning my Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees.
My daughter was born while working on my Bachelor’s Degree.
Since the age of 16, I have busted my ass in the workforce and in the classroom in order to have a better life than those I was raised around, and to achieve a goal I set for myself at the age of 15.
When I was 15 years old, I was browsing a poster shop in the Tacoma Mall. I came across the panoramic poster seen at the top of this story and loved the picture — but more importantly, loved the idea of living in Downtown Seattle and seeing the Space Needle every day.
My obsession with the Seattle skyline began that moment, and months later I went to the poster shop, bought the poster and had it framed. I bought that poster with the dream of living in Downtown Seattle and seeing the Space Needle every day.
That framed picture has stayed with me every day and hung in every place I’ve ever ever lived with the exception of a year of Marine Corps bootcamp and the training that followed.
During the year I didn’t have that poster, I had a green outline of the Seattle skyline tattooed around my left bicep as a reminder.
Needless to say, I wanted nothing more than to live in a place high in the sky in Downtown Seattle since the age of 15 and envisioned myself smoking a cigar on my balcony while overlooking Downtown Seattle and the Space Needle and listening to smooth jazz on 98.9 fm.
The poster I bought at 15 years old is still hanging in my bedroom and the picture of it in this post was taken over the weekend. If you didn’t notice, check out the reflection from my window on the right side of the poster; you might recognize a familiar Seattle structure.
Although I’ve lived in Belltown for a couple years and saw the Space Needle every day, the apartment I was living in didn’t have a balcony.
The Belltown condo I recently moved into has a balcony.
I’m happy to announce that over the weekend, I smoked a cigar on the balcony of my Belltown condo overlooking Downtown Seattle, the Space Needle, and watched ferries cross Elliott Bay while listening to Smooth Jazz 102.5 in Orlando courtesy of the iHeartRadio App (98.9 fm in Seattle is no longer Smooth Jazz).
My poster and dream stayed with me after all these years and I finally accomplished the dream I set for myself at age 15.
Don’t get me wrong, my path to living high in the sky had some detours and bad decisions, but none severe enough to squash my dream.
Hard work, personal sacrifice, and selfish decisions helped overcome the bad decisions and detours.
However, what really allowed me to achieve my lifelong dream was God. He kept me strong when I was feeling weak and found ways to teach me all sorts of lessons along the way. His grace is the only reason I can claim to be in the situation I am currently in; it’s not due to me, I’m just a punk kid turned adult that was raised in an environment surrounded by hurt and bad things that I hope my daughter never sees.
I am a very blessed man.
Added to this dream of mine was the opportunity to write for SeattlePI.com about Belltown and Downtown Seattle. In the past couple years, not only have I lived in the neighborhood I dreamed of living in, but I’m also writing about it for a major media outlet — it’s still mind blowing to me.
I get asked why I help people in my community so much, especially underprivileged kids and Military Veterans — my answer is: because I was once one of them.
Serving in the community is the least I can do.
The dream I’ve lived so far has been a blessing and not a day goes by where I don’t thank God and the opportunity He has given me. As blessed as I am today, He can easily take it all away tomorrow.
I don’t know how much longer this dream of mine is going to happen, but it’s happening and I am currently living in it.
Thank you for witnessing it and being part of it.