I grew up in a little, shitass town. CNN did a poll and found that the town next to mine was the "Most Racist Place in America". Twitter weighed the number of upset and depressed tweets per capita and it was also found to be one of the most depressing places to live.
Needless to say, I ran like hell from there the second I found feet enough to run.
But damn I miss the woods.
I feel like if I had known what the hell I was doing when I turned 18, I'd have had en easier run at things.
The tricky thing to keep in mind is that life isn't a linear, point A to point B experience. Life is more like a web. You follow threads and find places where the thread separates and you end up following one or another. Two completely different paths can lead you to the same crossroads and two people at the same crossroads can end up going in opposite directions before arriving at the same place.
If I could be 18 again, I'd have joined the military. Probably the airforce. I'd have gotten them to pay for all of the medical education I'm preparing to shell out for over time. I'd get all of those pesky certifications and get all of those little fiddly credentials I need in order to be the most overqualified air rescue guy in the world. I say this because I heard an amazing story on the radio a few years ago while living in Austin during one of the hottest summers on record:
I was driving home to see my parents and the guy on the radio was talking about the wildfires that were eating whole chunks of the woodsy areas. They had begun consuming the entire town of Bastrop, and they were trying to bring in a specialized rescue heli-plane that could drop huge payloads of water onto burning areas. Apparently it almost emulated a rainstorm when this thing blew it's load.
There were only two people in the world qualified to fly this thing and one was on vacation, so they had to bring in the other guy from Canada, just so he could fly the huge water tank over the town. I think it ended up burning to the ground anyway, but the fact that there was a plane that could only be flown by two people in the world makes me all tingly.