For all the hardship and chaos one endures in life, I’m thankful there have always been a select few who have made a profound and positive impact in my journey to the unknown. My dearest Uncle George is atop that list of men in my family I respect with admiration. Sure enough, he’s the one I aspire to be like the most. He held jobs for Boeing and Northrup Grumman as an engineer designing satellites for the government. Really fucking cool shit. Six figure salary time of work too. I could only dream to do what he does in my lifetime.
When I had my doubts about wanting to attend college in 2008, he told me upfront and without hesitation, “Don’t go if you do not want to go. You have to want an education in order to do well.” Naturally, I dropped out because of what he said. I don’t regret a thing.
“Be your own man. You don’t have to do anything.”
It’s the truth and years later, his words are still a constant reminder of how to live my life the way I see fit. Yeah, I did fuck around for one entire year while everyone was beginning college. So what? All that free time allowed me to realize the true importance of an education and to not just attend because everyone around you was attending. Self-reflection is important and frankly, not enough people do that before they go onto the next chapter. The “why” is more important than the “when”. At the time, I felt like I had no other choice. At least when I went back, I went for the right reasons. My work ethic holds true to this day all because of him.
Even before he married my aunt, he was extremely supportive — even if I was, for a lack of better word — a dick. When my shitty HP computer died, he brought over a restore CD “borrowed” from his company to bring it back to life. Not a lot of people would steal corporate Windows software for personal use without really thinking they’d get away with it. We spent all Saturday diagnosing and getting my computer working again. At the time, I knew nothing about computers other than I could use it to play video games. We managed to get it up and running once again towards the end of the night. I thanked him profusely even as he left and again over the phone. Gratitude is important after all.
He doesn’t realize this, but because of that one Saturday, I felt compelled to learn more about technology and computers. Everything I could come across and think of, I studied and read as much as I could during the day.
“What’s one more thing (to do)? You already spend most of your time in front of a computer. Might as well learn something.”
For once, someone believed in me and was supportive of any choice I made. The initial spark was created and a fire was spreading further and further. I have yet to tell him just how much that day impacted me, but I promised myself I would when I have the floor. I guess you can say I felt a sense of guilt because I took up one of his Saturdays. Funny, isn’t it? He offered his help first.
As fate may have it, my shitty computer would die again a year later — this time rendering it permanently unusable. I threw around the idea of building one from scratch and knew I could just based on what I learned on my own. I would give him the $500 or so dollars and have him order the parts for me online. Space however was an issue. He brought up a good point, “Where would you put it?” Our old apartment was terribly cramped and we had little room anywhere.
“How about I get you a Mac?”
If I recall, it was something along those lines. iMacs were and still are sleek, all-in-one computers with a large widescreen display in glossy white. Truly a work of art for anyone to own and use. About a year and something ago prior, he and my aunt gifted me an iPod for my birthday. It was my first ever Apple device and I knew instantly Macs were better, but a lot more expensive. My uncle used his UCLA discount get me an iMac for a crazy low price and even had the I.T. guy there load it up with every piece of paid software one could need — for free. I still remember the day he brought it in for me and we set it up. It is and forever will be one of the fondest memories I hold of anyone.
When the iPhone 3G launched and the “App Store” was new, he told me he would pay the yearly developer fee of $99 if I would learn to write my first app. When I wanted to study web design, he bought me my very first web dev book to get me started. I read it religiously everyday until I could code a website from scratch by hand and show him a working example. As I earned more money when I got older, I learned to invest it as he does and with relative success. Today during lunch, he was extremely supportive and encouraging about my plans on buying a condo.
I know I can and I have him to thank for it all. I’m so close.
In your darkest hours and coldest nights, there is always that one shining star up above.