As I spend my final hours being 25, I’ve had a real difficult time coming up with proper thoughts because it’s been the most challenging year I’ve ever had.
As much as I have little fond memories to really share about the past 365 days, there’s plenty of takeaways.
In fact, three words come to mind when I look back at life as a 25-year-old journeyman — Self-Esteem, Recognition and Love
The first third (October 2019-January 2020) of being 25 was an absolute vibe where I was slowly starting to fully appreciate what I’ve accomplished in my motorsports media career.
From being annually credentialed in the two racing sanctions I love to improving my photography skills where I’m slowly getting the act of capturing action shots. Like Kyle Busch said, “everything’s great.”
I was genuinely happy for the first time in my whole life. Like, legit happy. No BS, no major drama and honestly, not feeling like I’m a total prick. I was confident!
Then came the dreadful Florida rain on February 16, 2020 and of course, the pandemic.
Since then, there have been plenty of times where I’ve lacked direction in my career and personal life.
It’s cost me a lot of things such as people’s perception of me that’s resulted me being placed in a wrongful box. Worse of all, people have twisted my comments which led to verbal blows and cruel silences.
Consequently, my mental state has felt like a ping pong where I may say one thing (ex. taking a break on social media), but hours or days later, I’m back on the media grind. Right now, I’m doing better but there’s always room for improvement.
Despite my plans being altered, I’ve had chances to become vocal about each race in a respectable and factual matter. At times, I’ve asked drivers questions during several video conferences that I hope I’ll add here soon as part of my expanded portfolio.
Here’s hoping that Age 26 will allow me to lift up my self-esteem and be the man I’ve always wanted to be in the eyes of others:
A hard working Idaho alumni (with autism) who overcame traumatizing turmoil to get where he is in the media world the right way.
I’ve frequently pondered about getting recognized for my work ethic that I’ve often lost sleep. It’s because there’s a fair chance I may never get back doing what I love. My writing and photography shines best when I’m at the track and without that vibe, I’m nothing.
In a weird detrimental way, it’s just how I am because I’m that hellbent of making this profession an actual thing where I don’t have to rely on the mundane jobs for the rest of my life.
Not having a license or a car hasn’t help, but I’ve had my driver’s permit for over a month, hoping I can finally get my license to end this soon-to-be 10-year hell real soon.
At the end of the day, the next 365 days could be a career renaissance or my last ride because there’s so much I can do to keep myself active without a legitimate payoff.
I may have other projects set into stone that would carry me throughout 2021, but I could use more media work to really set myself apart.
In fact, one of the main reasons why I launched this website is to someday make my works purchasable to make a fair profit.
There’s a catch, if no one cares about what I do, why would I sell my content when there’s no interest?
Numbers are very deceiving because hardly anyone cares what I do or produce, you know.
When I started writing my reflections over the past year, I thought of titling it as “The Missing Ring.” That was quickly scratched because that title is bullocks.
Life at 25 was the pinnacle of such circumstances. I’ve fallen in love, fallen out of love, grown to hate and outgrew the hate.
Some folks I’ve lost respect for, some I just can’t figure them out and others I’ve grown to appreciate. No matter if the person is far away from my neck of the woods or battling for their life in some capacity.
So, there’s more than just romance, but I must consider self-love over everything else I’ve said. Love is such a burden because I don’t know where I stand with others, especially myself.
At the same time, I’m working on accepting defeat after defeat where I just can’t expect love when there’s zero guarantees a significant other will love you back.
If I can’t fully love who I am, how can I expect myself to feel such positive emotions. It’s a weird wicked game if you ask me.
Therefore, I must use an old trick of the book that worked well for me in the past, specifically at Cisups (a place I would love to do a video project someday): Expect the unexpected!
I’ve been way too hard on myself and I just can’t let it eat me up anymore.
Age 25 may have been a flop, but such flop can create valuable growth because there’s still a lot to learn.
I still want to create content, specifically at the Indianapolis 500 because it’s the only other event (creating video content at Cispus being the other) I want to do more than anything else. Those are my elusive pinnacles and while the pandemic and other circumstances have robbed me from that dream in 2020, I won’t give up from fulfilling that dream.
As down and out I can be, I can still accept the fact I must keep my passions alive starting now through October 1, 2021.
Instead of the dark places I’ve gone through and still putting up with on a daily basis, I hope to be telling you more uplifting stories and how I’ve learned from those experiences.
For now, I’ll cap off with a letter to myself that I really hope people comprehend the things I’ve went through and just hope Age 26 can be the year my life turns around where self-esteem, recognition and love actually happens.
Dear 25 Year Old Luis,
I know it hasn’t been the greatest year. Far from it if I’m going to be honest, but going forward you should consider this:
As much as you’ve felt neglected, mentally abused, angry and sometimes completely lost where you need time away from social media.
Understand that all those battles you’ve went through will make you an even stronger person. No matter if people see that in you or not!
You’ve had some laughs over the littlest things like old TV shows, the family puppy and shitposts on Facebook. Remember those happy thoughts.
Don’t give up on your dream of covering the Indianapolis 500. Don’t give up on doing both NASCAR and IndyCar, no matter how much you’ve felt ignored.
Don’t give up on your ambitions on trying to branch out on your photography. If photography is meant to be your true calling, make the absolute most out of that field!
When the damn pandemic finally ends and also have your driver’s license, you’ll be able to fully expand your horizons.
It may sound rubbish now, but trust yourself that you can create more content. Make yourself approachable because it can lead to greater opportunities.
Stop being so damn hesitant and dammit! Stop being hard on yourself!
Remember what Dinwiddie said back in 2013? You sure do because it’s one thing you’ve only done at Age 24 which was “HAVE FUN.”
More than ever at 26, just “HAVE FUN!”
Look back and say, ‘Wow! It was a rather competent year getting yourself out there in some capacity!’
All of this will make for a better 365 days that lies ahead. Just believe in yourself much like the few that are still with you have in this hellacious time period.
Always remember where you came from and where you’ll be a year from now. In fact, look at the things you’ve done so far.
Florida weather sucks and finding opportunities in Washington is infuriating, but often reflect on the neat things you’ve done to date and what might be in store.
You said this to a friend, “be the storm.” Apply it because you’re a storm that’ll be unstoppable in the world of media!
Enjoy being 26. The hell at 25 should be closed with the damn door fixed so the demons doesn’t bite you!
By the way, age is just a freakin’ number!
NOTE: That particular color is based on Jimmy Spencer’s Big Kmart colors from 2000-01, because his car number was 26.