I was pretty happy with my childhood.

I spent most of my time enjoying school, playing computer games, watching Pokemon on TV when I came home, playing soccer, going to church on weekends, attending Chinese school on Friday nights, going to Boy Scout meetings…

And then.

Middle school happened.

It seemed like my parents turned on a switch and all of a sudden started caring about my grades.

“You have to get straight A’s because you need to prepare for high school!”


“So you can go to a good college!”

“… ok? Why?”

“Don’t talk back.”


They’d constantly compare me to my sister who seemed to always get straight A’s while seemingly ignoring all the other interests and skills that I had. …

Picture of my perfectly healthy knee with a strange device around it.
Picture of my perfectly healthy knee with a strange device around it.

Almost Everything Takes More Time

I sprained my knee, so I find myself hobbling on crutches and finding it a challenge to move … anywhere.

Whether it’s finding a more comfortable position in bed, getting myself dressed, or going to the bathroom, everything is now a challenge.

What used to be a minute-long, brisk walk to my car now takes 5.

I can’t trot up the stairs to my apartment anymore.

Now, I take a deep breath, lock my arms, stabilize myself on my crutches, lift my good foot up one step, pull my whole body up on my good leg, bring the crutches to my side, make sure I’m stabilized, and then repeat. …

Despite working for ~10 years, I somehow eluded the 9–5 life.

I spent 3 years doing a lot of charity/non-profit work with churches, ICUs, and the homeless.

I spent 4 years flipping houses.

I spent 2.5 years building a company to teach soft skills to teenagers.

Yes, I was working, but I was never beholden to a schedule from a boss or manager.

I worked when I wanted, made my own schedule, made sure I drove in traffic as little as possible, and was ultimately content to live life and do “work” on my own terms.

And now, as I write this, I’ve wrapped up 3 months at my 9–5 — officially “reporting” to someone, having a narrowed set of responsibilities, and of course, the consistent paycheck — I find myself telling friends, “I should have gotten a job sooner.” …


Take the road less traveled. brandonblee.me. Moving my writing to Substack: brandonlee.substack.com/

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