At this time a year ago, I was glad that I wasn’t going to be 23 anymore because I knew the dumb stigma that “nobody likes you when you’re 23” will be over.

Now in my last day of being 24, the person I was then is a complete contrast and while I’m still “living that single life,” I’ve learned a lot beyond my wildest visions.

As I turn a quarter century tomorrow, here’s my takeaways from my past year and how I see it as the year of “Learning the Hard Way.”

On the media side, I’ve come to the conclusion that no matter how hard I pour my heart and soul doing what I love – whether it’s covering the Daytona 500 or doing the last three NTT IndyCar Series race weekends – I got a ways to go.

As much as I like to be established in the paddock or garage area, it’ll take a lot of stock building in order of becoming that caliber.

There were times I’ve been royally screwed and would say the dumbest crap that would normally eat me up for years. Most case, I would let it get to me which creates horrible outcomes where I would come across as a dweller.

However, I’ve gradually become better of overcoming those blemishes.

The best way for me is to move on and erase my mistakes in this cut throat business – which I’ve felt it two years into this lifestyle many times already.

It’s my way of saying, ‘Okay, that sucked but I’m not going to let that shit define me.’

Last weekend at Laguna Seca was the prime example of everything that happened to me as a 24-year-old with some minor exceptions.

I got to do both writing and photography, the two things I’ve grown passionate about since the crossroad days of college, which kept my sanity afloat.

Then there’s the instances of balancing my schedule to my liking and try to build a respectable reputation among those who’ve been in the game for years or even decades.

Sometimes I would get frustrated when things don’t go my way or not knowing what’s happening until the 11th hour. Still bothers me, but I use it as motivation to kick ass and prove my worth so a year or two from now, I won’t have to deal with 11th hour situations.

I’m the type of guy who doesn’t like getting thrown off guard over something I don’t recall discussing or agreeing. I try to be fair and not burn bridges, whether I know it or not, early on.

Being 24 hasn’t been easy outside of my career either.

More often than not, I’ve had my wars with my personal demon, which is not letting idiots get the best of me.

Instead, I really have to keep finding reasons to solider on in my non-media job without feeling like I need to shut certain people up.

Most cases, that’s during the morning hours because I’m far from a morning person when I have those feelings.

Yeah, I know that gig is what allows me to do what I love for now. Yeah, the people suck for the most part, but I have to deal with it. I mean, I have no other choice.

Here’s to not being that guy at 25 because I’ll always lose if I have that mindset. Things just doesn’t go my way and that’s life.

Guess I did learn something from my worst enemy back in college after all. No, we haven’t spoken after I departed from the Gem State. Nor I have the desire to do so, that gloomy phase is over.

Back to the positives, the things I’ve learned at 24 from my career has molded me into being a man who will get the job done.

Come 2020, I’m as prepared to deliver quality content and build my name in the motorsports world.

As far as those plans are concerned, I’ll write about it at a later date as I got one or two more race weekends to go.

Now from a personal standpoint, exploring wild and peaceful lifestyles was a blessing and a curse.

At last, I got to do adult things and live life which I’ve never have done.

Never would’ve thought riding a bicycle in Mission Beach back in April would be the highlight of my 24th year of existence.

I don’t know if time and finances will allow me to go back, but I’ll find a way to venture different thrills as simple as what I’ve stated.

I felt alive traveling at different locations I’ve never been before the 2019 racing season began in February.

If I know people nearby the race circuit, I make sure to catch up and that within itself is humbling. My social life isn’t that good about 75% of the time, but I make sure to make it work based on their schedule.

Exploring and having a prosperous life is not a bad feeling at all isn’t?

Along the way, I’m gaining a little bit of freedom by owning a home and have my own personal space to explore my creativity going forward.

Feels good to have some fun, but the curse side of being 24 was trying to make things work when I know it’s a reach.

Again, I’ve struggled having the time of day to put my creative cap and go make videos. Sports, people, events, whatever it may be, I want to create videos!

I know on the racing side, it’s a hard sell because I don’t work for network television and have to go through a lot of paperwork. I’ve learned to accept that writing and photography are my main focus in my on-assignments.

As a result, I believe my works have been stronger and it’s what I got going on my radar right now. The video side will come, but not right away.

It could’ve been soon in an old familiar place, but you know, curve balls happen and it’s not meant to be. Not that I had any other plan than shoot video anyways.

You know I would totally love to do? Make this podcast thing actually work.

Especially, keep it consistent without losing that fire and passion like I’ve endured with my YouTube channel.

Talking about K&N West or just my life without other voices can get boring after awhile and that’s why I’ve dropped it from my weekly itinerary.

This “podcast thing” happen soon and when it finally gets going, hope someone out there learns a thing or two from my journey but more importantly, the ones that tell their stories.

Will see if Year No. 25 (the year of Tim Richmond, Barry Bonds and Reggie Bush) will be the year of making the podcast thing a reality.

To wrap up my time of being 24, my biggest takeaway is straight forward:

REFLECTING ON THE POSITIVES

Life might’ve kicked me in the ass. That’s true, even on the race track.

At the same time, I’ve tried my damnest to look on the positives and not gonna lie, 2019 has been mixed compared to a pretty positive 2018 but I’m enjoying life than I ever had in my “prime” (2010-16).

Quality over quantity has been key. It’s helped me choosing what angle I want to focus and which photos I put up on my social media outlets.

I was clueless and a bit overboard early in the year, but now towards the end, I think I figured out what works.

Sure, my live tweets have suffered significantly, but I love my pace and multitasking I got right now.

For once, I’m not having to worry how to get from Point A to Point B without overthinking like I’ve been infamously known for during my education years.

Instead, I can just be myself and produce quality work without skipping a beat.

I somehow made the grind of doing three IndyCar races, a K&N race at Evergreen and attend (and take photos because why not?) two wrestling shows in a span of six weeks, work with relative ease.

That’s just beyond crazy and if this career pans out long-term, it’ll become a normal routine. Learning and thriving is part of this business and satisfied with my progress.

Safe to say that I’m proud of what I’ve done as a 24-year-old.

Sure, my mood has taken some Ls and for sure done things I look back and say, ‘Boy what was I thinking?’

Those parts did suck and wish to have act better or come more prepared. That’ll never go away as much as I would like to.

However, those hiccups has led to a better outlook and it’s all I hope when I reflect on Year No. 25 next year.

I’ve come a long way from being an absolute bitter asshole to many or in the eyes of the beholder.

Hey, who doesn’t feel that way every once in awhile?

I’ll enjoy the last few hours of “The Year of Jeff Gordon and Ken Griffey, Jr.,” and reflect some more.

In the meantime, doubt me if you insist, prove me wrong if I give consent.

Published by Luis Torres

I'm a graduate from the University of Idaho, currently pursuing the dream of becoming a motorsports media personnel.

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