“Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional”
No matter how old you are, or how far you have traveled, there is always something that reminds you of growing up. Maybe it’s a specific smell or eating a certain food. That said, we have all changed a lot in our lifetime; we acquire new jobs and learn new skills. Most importantly, we mature and take on more responsibility. All of these changes in our lives occur gradually, but they start at specific points in time. Those events alter our outlook on life and inspire our choices. In order to understand how much I have changed, you first need a picture of my childhood. I grew up on a working farm in the middle of nowhere in central Illinois. We raised feed corn and soybeans as our main crops, but we also had sweet corn, tomatoes, hay, peppers, pumpkins and lots of other food staples. By middle of nowhere, I mean that the closest town was about five miles away; it had a population of about 200 people with three bars and a church. Beyond that, we had about a 15 mile drive to get to grocery store or a gas station. On the farm, we owned a lot of different types of machinery that was all old and in constant need of repair. Tractors, a combine, mowers and excavation equipment were all things that I spend my childhood playing with and fixing. When I said certain things could remind someone of their childhood, this is the sort of thing I was referring to. Whenever I am fixing something at work or if I walk into a machining or repair shop, the smell of scorched metal and stale grease are like a child’s blanket, making me feel safe and at home. Some people are inspired by a book, song or movie; these rusty pieces of equipment that I became so well acquainted with were the real inspiration in my life. The way that they fit together perfectly and how they can withstand so much abuse always amazed me. It inspired my love of equipment and fixing anything I could get my hands on. My childhood was an atypical experience...
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