18.

18 year old Eric:

You’re a senior at Castro Valley High School. You are 18 years old. Your hair is spiked, and you have ‘bangs.’ You have a shit-load of clothes (matching outfits, adidas track jackets, 8 pairs of different Adidas Shell-toed shoes and K-Swiss, and a ton of t-shirts).

You are the troop leader of Troop 11 in Alameda. You own your own car (your 1991 Sentra Se-R which you bought and built-up yourself). You earn $200 a month (stipend) from KCCEB (Korean community center of the east bay) for doing community service by being a student intern (for KAYA — the Korean American Youth Association). You earn some extra side-cash from tutoring. You know that your purpose of life is to help empower others, and give back to the community.

You wanna make your momma proud. You want to help uplift her out of poverty — and one day make enough money to support her.

You wanna do something epic and grand in life. You want to change the world for the better. Like Gandhi, you want to be the ‘change you wish to see in the world.’

You look at your peers, and they all seem so dumb, confused, and sheltered. You know that getting into a good school (UCLA) isn’t the golden ticket to ‘success’. Rather, you know it is just another jumping board— to grow, evolve, and succeed in life.

You feel bad for your friends who will be stuck in the Castro Valley bubble. You are proud that you hustled hard in high school. Even though you only had a 3.8 GPA, you hustled like hell. You took all AP (advanced placement) classes in your junior/senior year— getting pretty much ‘straight B’s’ (but still counted as an ‘A’ because it was an AP class). Your Sophomore and Junior year you played football (side linebacker and middle linebacker)— and you played tennis (Sophomore year until Senior year). You have great pride in being financially independent. From age 16 years old, you were more or less a ‘self-made man.’

18 year old self to 29 year old Eric

18 year old Eric: let’s call him (‘ekizz’).