Super resonate with this, though the “awakening” happened a little earlier for me.
When I was 14, my best friend passed away from heart failure in the middle of wrestling warm-ups. I had to give one of the eulogies. That made me question everything really quickly, now that the idea of death was in my face. What matters? What’s important to me? What’s worth pursuing? Why? On what premise?
Soon after, the invisible popularity contest and following the herd seemed like ridiculous notions. I hated the rest of high school. College was my big break to make decisions for myself. Find out what I cared about, find out what made me tick.
I came to similar conclusion as yourself, helping people was deeply satisfying. I ended up spending the next 3 years working with the sick/homeless and built up a local community around that effort. It was fun, it was fulfilling, I was broke, but I didn’t care.
But that did lead me to where I am now. After 3 years, I got frustrated at the lack of systems, organization, and strategy we had for serving those in need. I realized that we were just bringing a band-aid solution and if I fast-forwarded my life for 50 years, I’d still be doing the same thing. So that gave me a reason and enough drive to learn money/business/finance. And now I flip houses.
I grew up in the heart of this Bay Area culture (I went to Lynbrook). The truth is, once I reached this perspective of doing what mattered to me, I couldn’t relate to most of my high school friends anymore. Most of my adult life, I’ve found that I connect the most with people that have been through struggles like yours, and come out of it with a clear sense of purpose and vision for the life they want to live.
Props! Glad you were able to learn and grow past those struggles.
Totally down to connect if you’d like to grab coffee if you’re still in the Bay: