10 Things that Shaped My Youth: Part 2


It has been a year since part 1.  Which you can find here:


That post got Freshly Pressed and due to that I met some awesome people and had over 400 comments with people sharing some of the things that shaped their lives. It was so much fun and so cool to see how many people connected with it.

And seeing as that I titled the first one Part 1, I figured (even though a year later) I should at some point follow that up with part 2.

So without further ado; here is Part 2.

Let me know more of what helped make you you in the comments!


10. Monty Python’s Flying Circus


Connecting instantly with me was the irreverent and wildly silly antics of Monty Python. The first time I was introduced to them was with ‘The Holy Grail’ and then by my mom’s records of their recorded sketches. I would listen to them over and over again laughing my tiny butt off as they discussed eating a man’s mother instead of burying her, burning her, or dumping her in the Thames. I practically died laughing about a certain cat detector van and the trials and tribulations of Miss Anne Elk. I appreciated that adults enjoyed being weird and that my sense of humor was not alone in the universe.


9.  The Simpsons


With ‘Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire’ in 1989 was my first exposure to The Simpsons (I was 6 and this was their first full length episode). I still have it recorded on VHS somewhere in a box full of mostly unmarked VHS tapes that I refuse to give up for some reason. There isn’t much that I can say or add to the discussion as to why The Simpsons was so important for me. Those who grew up with it know how diverse, cutting, deliriously hilarious it can be. It remains my favorite show of all time and I wouldn’t have been the same without it.


8.  Swimming in the Creek


I came alive on the banks of the Conodoguinet creek, a Native American name meaning ‘A Long Way with Many Bends’. Unbeknownst to me at the time, but this name was a metaphor for my life. In the summer I would splash around in its cool waters, sometimes catching crayfish, sometimes flattening my back and letting the current drift me down along the bends in the river, until I would get out and walk back home. I found a tree that had hollowed out, and I would hide my toys in there and climb to the top to look out at the world. Everything seemed gigantic and it was always changing, always bending.


7. Learning to Let Go with Baby Birds


A few times growing up I would find a baby bird that had fallen out of its nest. I felt responsible for the life of that bird and we would take it in, fill a shoe box with leaves and grass as a bedding, and feed the bird baby food through a dropper. I had one starling that once able to fly would do so throughout the house and would land on your shoulder when you called it. We could even take them outside and most times they would come back. But eventually they would get the urge to fly away, and though it always made me sad to let them go, I knew it was for the best. I could never hold them captive because I knew if I had the ability to fly free I would never want someone to hold me down because I couldn’t think of anything that could be more a symbol of true freedom than that.  It helped me understand the importance of taking the good from what you have for as long as you have it and to carry that on once it is gone.


6.  Long Summer Nights


Growing up in the country afforded me a lifestyle that was unrestrained from much outside force. Everything felt alive and free and summer nights were the epitome of that. Sitting on the porch and watching a storm roll through, or seeing a field glow with fireflies. I can remember the long nights where friends would spend the night and we would tent out in the backyard, loaded up with sugary drinks and youthful energy.

My favorite part of those nights would be staring up for hours into the night sky, which at the time was not polluted by man-made lights. I would gaze up at the millions of stars and wonder and dream.


5.  Getting Lost


In the time before everything revolved around TV and the internet, the most important thing would be what adventure you could get into outside. Those journeys would sometimes get you into trouble when you would look around and nothing was familiar. It was then when you had to use your own ingenuity to find your way back. Even when panic would set in it was a way to learn yourself, how you dealt under pressure, and when you made it back you felt stronger because of it.


4. Everything’s Recorded on Cassette Tape


I had a tape recorder growing up. And the narcissism of youth allowed me to record many moments of that time. Some were just me making silly observations about what was going on, singing, recording thunder storms, or just being a big goofy dumbass with some friends. We would pretend like we were DJ’s on some radio station and I would play records and hold the tape player up to the stereo to record. It was silly but fun and every once and awhile I will pop one of those tapes in and listen to it like an audio time capsule that takes me back immediately to that place.


3.  Make Believe  


Pretending is something we take for granted the older we get. But we forget how important it was. How we had the ability to create anything within our minds and picture it in front of us. We had the power to transform reality and to make it our own. To take ourselves to other lands or other worlds, to be whoever or whatever we wanted to. It was like a lucid dream that we controlled. Somewhere along the way we lose sight of it and we become grounded in this world, but we should never forget that we still have that power within us.


2. The Great Outdoors


I’m taking this from another post I wrote which you can read in full here


I think it captures what I want to say the best

Remember beauty. Most importantly remember that you are alive. You may or may not have one chance here so best to enjoy it while you have it. Look at the world around you and see it for the majestic beauty that it truly is. This construct of life, that is just as alive as you are, is always around us. We become so enveloped in the grand scale that we rarely stop to appreciate the intense beauty that is in the everyday around us.

As long as I have a means to walk, I will. I will retain the earth that lives inside of me.


 1. My Parents



When you become a parent, you realize just how much of an effect your parents had on your own life. How important a job it is to be parent becomes clear. I feel lucky to have had the upbringing and parents that I had, to which has made me the man I am today.



11 thoughts on “10 Things that Shaped My Youth: Part 2

  1. Seriously awesome post! I have to heartily concur with so many of these things (and many on the original list – Looney Toons? THE BEST). Oh man, tape cassettes! CLASSIC. I would steal my mum’s Commitments Soundtrack and have mad dance parties in our basement. Make believe was probably more my reality that reality itself and I still quote the Simpsons to this day. Also, anything to with the outdoors is tied intrinsically to my spirit and well-being.

    Your parents I am sure are damn proud of you sir! x

  2. Brilliant as usual, Kloips.

    I dunno what made me me; I expect my parents had something to do with it, and certainly Monty Python… the old telly with the wonky tube that gave everybody massive fods and little legs… Star Wars, then Alien… the post-punk movement… Manchester City… football hooliganism… the stars & planets… the birds… words on a page… a trail of broken hearts lookin back at me… pine woods, a fast flowing river…

    Yeh, the river… This song is me right now:


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