People say “nobody likes you when you’re 23.” Take a step in my shoes, 27 can make a strong case of being the age nobody really likes you.
The number 27 lives in infamy in music due to the large number of artists who perished and of course, the number that’s synonymous to Gilles Villeneuve, who died in 1982 with that number.
For me, Age 27 was the worst year of my life, surpassing Ages 11, 17, 19 and 22 by a country mile.
At this time last year, I was “happy.” Finally covered my first Indianapolis 500. Finally got my driver’s license and had a car that I’m paying for. I had feelings for some people and of course, the Seattle Mariners haven’t made the playoffs since 2001.
Pull behind the happy curtains, I was working a non-media job I genuinely hated and had constant heated arguments with close minded, careless folks. My sleeping habits nosedived and struggled staying awake for 11 months.
Fast forward to the last day of being 27. I didn’t get to cover this year’s 500 with my passion for racing waning. Consequently, I became very vindictive until July.
It paled in comparison to losing “Mazzy Gue” (my car) last October and was lied about getting a replacement vehicle. I now depend on two family vehicles to survive.
Tested positive from the Rona not even a week into 2022, but made a full recovery. It was a miserable start that kind of carried all throughout the first half of 2022.
Such feelings I had for some people is gone and it’s a tough pill to swallow. Love isn’t meant to be for me at 27. Let alone, long distance.
A race team that blocked me on Twitter for unknown reasons and I didn’t took that moment well. To say the least, racing hasn’t fully loved me back.
I’ve lost friends and the trust of some peers over my Instagram getting compromised while hanging out with new folks at Texas. All the connections I’ve made with racing, modeling and so on is gone too. Essentially, I had to rebuild my name from scratch.
On top of everything, I lost my non-media job during my leave of absence. They never cared about my mental wellbeing and I’ll forever resent that job.
Pull behind the sad curtains, the Mariners finally handed the longest playoff in sports to the Sacramento Kings. Thank god! Got my playoff tickets and thrilled to witness something genuinely new in my lifetime.
I’m a two-time National Motorsports Press Association award winner in photography. I also have three seasonal jobs covering hockey, baseball and occasionally basketball.
Covering Daniel Suarez’s first NASCAR Cup Series win rivals Helio Castroneves’ fourth Indy 500 win last May as my favorite on-assignment moment ever. That was a sight to behold if you ask me.
Most importantly, what I did with those negatives and anger along with the pluses made Age 27 worthwhile.
What I did was believe in myself to get better, act better and perform better in anything I set my mind on.
As much as being 27 was a curse, it was the sign I needed to find better ways to cope with my lifestyle and mental wellbeing.
Rather than feel miserable like I was for 11 months at that job I was let go, I decided to take a huge gamble by solely living on what I enjoy doing.
That enjoyment is creating and/or providing media. If it means sacrificing racing on-assignments in order to earn some money back home, it is what it is. I’ve hardly made a dime covering racing anyways. As I see it, I’m still paying my dues.
I’m not closing my racing chapter yet. I still have plenty in the tank to provide for The Podium Finish and Motorsports Tribune, but I know deep inside I must think about life outside of the only dream I had for nearly two decades.
I must make my name present locally and get paid for it. When time allows and if there’s a budget, I will make the trip to shoot photos and write about NASCAR, INDYCAR and ARCA.
Right now, Phoenix will be my last event of 2022. The grand goal for 2023 is to cover the final race in Fontana under the two-mile layout and the 107th Indianapolis 500. Can’t fully plan out the whole season because time will tell how my photo business goes.
Unless someone is interested of having me create content in either NASCAR or INDYCAR (for starters) in 2023, my focus is local events.
That’s why I’ve been encouraging folks to donate because my works comes a long way. Without any support, I can’t fully thrive on expanding my horizons.
I’d love to sell my photos to people. I’d love to sell my photo albums I’ve been making the last two years out to the public. I’d love to have a studio to properly do photoshoots in the future. I’d love to pay folks to be a part of my vision.
Hell, I’m going to say it right now. I want to create a documentary of Mt. Triumph Leadership Camp. It’s out there now! I feel like there’s magic to be created because I love videography and want to top my 2016 Idaho Volleyball season highlights.
I’ll gladly create such documentary and miss the All-Star Game in Seattle. Sounds naïve but it’s how I roll.
But the grandest takeaway of “Life at 27” is this. Some colleagues of mine told me, it’ll work out in terms of making profit and I come across as happier than ever.
The latter is rather strange to me, but in some essences they’re not wrong. As much as I relish 2021, I had demons that tortured my body and soul. Now that 2022 is coming to a close real soon, some of those tormented demons is fading.
That’s the greatest compliment I’ve had in a long time. More so when I know it’s noticeable because if I’m not happy with what I’m doing, I would stop pursuing a declining passion.
Although I got a ways to go to make a name for myself as a business photographer, it sure hell beats being the one carrying an entire frozen product team any day.
Running this website and outlet isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are days where I get no email feedback, my services being declined and devalued no matter the effort I put into each event I cover.
But when I’m in the zone, I’m in the zone. That’s when I’m in my happy place and slowly but surely, I’m accepting happiness in the moment rather than retrospective.
I’m breaking out of my severe introvert bubble and began communicating with people from different walks of life. Providing my services, explaining what I create and hoping they’ll remember me.
I’m hopeful that being 28, the same age my father married my mom, will be the best one yet. There’s no extreme expectations.
Instead, I’ll let things naturally unfold. If there’s any issues I must patch up to move forward (i.e. with that race team and one specific driver), I’m open to the idea. Being physically, mentally and emotionally healthy is paramount.
At the end of the day, I know my worth. I sure people see that in me over the next year because I’m just getting started.
Any support I’ve had so far goes unnoticed. Any support I’ll likely have going forward will also go unnoticed.
At the end of the day, I just hope I provide joy to people from different walks of life.
Until we meet again, I leave you with this self-typed letter.
Dear 27 Year Old Luis,
You’ve said goodbye to several types of love again. I hope you realize it serves several purposes that’ll make you stronger over time.
It may not be today. It may not be tomorrow. It may not be for a period of time. But things will get better and it’ll lead to even greater avenues when you least expect it.
You should be happy to survive another year and continue fighting the good fight. It’ll only make you stronger and so far, it’s looking promising.
Although it took many setbacks to get where you are, it’s only the beginning of what I sure hope marks a fantastic 28th year.
Continue building that confidence and spirit in anything you want to accomplish. Sure, there will be times that you wish you’re in a better spot. I mean, don’t we all, but it’ll work out.
Be patient. Treat certain things as a hobby and keep your true friends close. They’ll have your support no matter what!
Your greatest works are still yet to come.