By Colt Wilbur
Last week I had the opportunity to return to my old stomping grounds of Eagle View Middle School. Although this would be my second visit as an adult, the last time I was there was many years ago in an eager angst as I made a transition to the high school down over the hill. This time, I would be returning to address the 7th grade RB class on my life experiences, accomplishments, and lessons.
I can't tell you the amount of stages I've stepped on with different sized crowds, different levels of amenities, and different levels of pressure that I've been through in my career that I've never even bat an eye at. This time however, was a different story entirely. I was "performing" for one of my youngest audiences to date and somehow I was the most anxious I've been in a long time.
But what would a 7th grader want to hear or comprehend? What would I have wanted to hear by a man coming into my school and speaking when I was 12 years old? As I pondered what to say, I began to even ask myself what would I even want to say?
I didn't exactly pursue a conventional path after my high school educational career. I went to college for all but a month and a half, I've worked in every field and trade known to man, and I play music for a living. The last thing I wanted was for one of these kids to go home and tell their parents "a bearded tattooed man who sings and plays guitar told me not to go to college and do whatever I want."
That may be a bit too harsh for a summary of who I am. All I've ever wanted to do was inspire kids to go after what they want in this life. I wanted to step into their auditorium and encourage them to cultivate their passions and their dreams in life, first and foremost. Happiness to me has never been an account balance, the type of car parked out front of your mansion of a house, what kind of shoes you have on your feet, what kind of watch you wear on wrist; it's been peace of mind. To find your passions and pursue them with a ravenous heart. Kindness, character, and heart cost nothing and are definitely worth more than any currency on Earth.
As they say in show biz, "the show must go on" and on it went. I spoke for about 45 minutes sharing stories, failures, successes, and goals to come. Although I didn't bring a guitar, the class was adamant about me singing a song or two. A guitar was retrieved from the nearby music department and we sang Johnny Cash and Lynyrd Skynyrd together. They even wanted to hear an original tune, which really made me feel unbelievably special. We wrapped up with a "question and answer" session where I answered everything from my favorite artist to my favorite Avenger (It's the Hulk by the way). They then thanked me and I took my leave. A round of applause never sounded sweeter in my life.
This life has taught me a lot and I don't feel like I'm even close to out of its elementary stages. If you're doing what you love, giving it everything you got, and are kind to folks along the way, then that's something to be proud of.