Advice
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The 20-Something Struggle

My mother raised me to be a dreamer and my father imbued some dreams. She taught me about music, and freedom while he installed security, and how to be a gentleman. From a young age, I was torn in two.

The world taught me that I could do anything I wanted if I put my mind to it. That it was my oyster. That success was easy for the strong. That tragedies happen in far away places. That America was great. That, that, th…. I don’t remember anymore.

Society showed me a million people who put their minds to it, tried, tried, tried again, and then cried. Left with nothing but a heap of debt, habits, and shame.

The internet first showed me the veiled parts of a woman’s body. Taught me all about the birds and the bees and then some. What were these feelings and how do I do this dance? Shit, I’m 10, I don’t know.

Then I got a cell phone. Loneliness disappeared if I wanted it to. Discovered I had charm and that girls dug that. But if they didn’t I had apps to numb and distract from the whatever.

Friends houses became havens. All nighters pulled on the reg. We grew together through games, shenanigans, and all-night conversations about great awakenings in far off lands and what girl had the best pair of legs in the gym.

Independence was the word of the day.

I became aware of green peace, world peace, peace of mind and I wanted to save the world, I just didn’t know where to start n’ grew tired and turned on the tube.

I discovered love one day. Learned how to tangle up my life with another’s, and that it was never like they showed in the movies or sang in the songs. It was more beautiful than that, more boring than that, more complicated than that, and I was immature for a long time.

I became mature one day, or so I thought and got a chip on my shoulder. That chip made me cooler, more respectable, more like the masses. Then someone saw the chip, ate it, and spat it back in my face. I still had a lot to learn.

I read books about Chris McCandless and was inspired and then wept for his braveness and tragedy. About Hunter S. Thompsons vices and wanted to explore more my own strange soul. About Kerouac’s friends, insecurities, and adventures, and knew there was more than tradition and structure.

I went to college and wanted to counsel people for my mother’s madness. Make movies for my father’s obsession. Be a lawyer for the injust. Make a million for society. And had no idea what I wanted to do for myself.

Now I travel the world because the world shows more kindness and knowledge than most I’ve met between here and there. I believe it widens some views and expands the heart. I don’t know what I’ll think tomorrow. I may be a fool, then or now.

I’m afraid of the future because I don’t know what success means anymore or what I want to succeed for. My spirit, my wallet, my kids, or my dreams.

I worry about the future because I don’t know which is going to go first. The trees, the oil, or the island of Venice.

Dreaming has become more difficult. I use to believe in the American dream until the letters from the debt collectors came in. So now I dream smaller, it’s tough to be let down from so high.

Maybe one day I’ll get lucky and be discovered as some great writer. I’ll inspire millions and take their dollars in trade. With it I’ll buy my wife a nice bag and my friends plane tickets to see me.

But until then I think I can only afford my rent and credit card bills.

Maybe tomorrow.


If you enjoyed reading Jeremy’s work, it would be lovely if all Reefies came together and voted for him in a travel contest he has entered. He has worked hard for this, plus it will only take a second of your time (:  The contest ends tomorrow at midnight, all the help would be incredible!  Xx

The link to vote is here and his story is called “Lost in Love.”

Much love,

– Editor in Chief.


Words by Jeremy Parris // Photography by Brianna Sharma.

© 2015 Reef Magazine

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