Primerica, Hardship, & An Epiphany

Wonderful Listeners,

I don’t think I have felt this conflicted in quite some time. There’s a lot to what I’m about to say so it’s going to be quite a bit of rambling (you’ve been warned.) I’d just like to get right to it.

After I came home to San Antonio from my college town, my mother introduced me to this opportunity. At first, you know, I wasn’t really all that interested in finding out what it was. It didn’t sound like something that would make my radar go off. But I went to inquire more about it anyway. I suppose you can blame that on my kindness, my restraint on judging before knowing, and because it was my mother who was asking.

Well, I went to a meeting on Thursday in late May for this company called Primerica. I wasn’t sure what to expect. All I really knew at the time was that there was some information from this meeting that might be useful, so I took it.

Showing up, I was the odd one out. Everyone at the meeting was pretty much middle-aged people—the kind with salary jobs, families, and maybe a house. And I was the only 21-year-old in the room so needless to say, I felt awkward.

Once the meeting got started, I realized some things rather quickly. The people running the meeting and giving the presentation were very good at what they did. To be honest, I was a skeptic walking in the door. I had all of my walls up, because I knew I would be dealing with business people.

I don’t trust business people, and most businesses for that matter. Why? Well, I’ve just never really seen them as people who have someone else’s best interest at heart. I think a lot of people who run a business are just trying to get what they need out of you, and then they move on and leave you behind in the dust; I don’t think they care about others (not like I do anyway.)

My walls were super-duper strong. I mean, sure, they seemed like nice people but I played face effortlessly. I made them think that I was really into what they were saying, but the truth is that I was questioning every single thing that came out of their mouth. I won’t lie, they were very good at their tactics. Peggy Flores, in particular, was the one who impressed me with those tactics.

She pulled out all the stops to make sure that people who didn’t even know her felt included, felt wanted, felt safe. I’m too perceptive to be fooled by that. A good tactic, but you can’t swindle someone who’s seen the tactic in action multiple times. But, she did a good job regardless.

The meeting lasted for an hour. I managed to meet people who were on her team and were her associates. They were all wonderful people, who probably lead wonderful lives. That’s good. However, I have no reason to want to know them or get buddy-buddy with them; I kept my distance.

I will say that Frank, Peggy’s father, is quite the talker. His story is a heartfelt one but, again, my skepticism allowed me to clap and nothing more. I left that meeting with more questions than answers. My mother seemed very intrigued with how I felt. I told her I would come back next week after having some time to think about what I heard.

As a souvenir, I took a print out booklet with me about how money works. I will admit, the information in that booklet, I was also skeptical about. However, after doing my own tests with their information to see if the numbers and answers they presented were true, I was speechless. No lies present.

That lowered my guard a bit. It seemed as though the information that I was given was all true, but I had to verify for myself if it was or not. That’s how untrusting I was with these people and their information.

That same week on Saturday, I went to Frank’s house. He lived in a nice house, one with three stories and a backyard to be exact. Showing up, I still kept my distance. Admittedly, I did love their house. It was clear that it was their home, what with all the family photos and upgrades and personalization.

I also met Kim, Peggy’s mother, that same day. She introduced me to the full story of how Frank & Kim got to where they were in their old age. They started from nothing, living in an apartment but they got into their Primerica business, and built themselves up from there. Honestly, it wasn’t until within the last decade that they moved into the house that they live in now. They lived in a small home with their kids, saving up money and investing it where it would grow the most for years.

Frank’s stroke was probably the most interesting part of the story. He had a stroke and, because of his business, managed to be able to pay for the physical therapy in full. Even after the doctors told him that he wouldn’t walk again, he pulled it off after 9 years of hard, intense work. It’s sad that no one believed in him, but he believed in himself, and thankfully had the money to help himself.

I left that Saturday with more of my guard lowered. I began to see that the people in this business were real people. They were people who I could learn to trust, and accept. They weren’t out to get me, and they were actually really nice people.

I came back the following Thursday, sat through the same meeting, and by the end (after having a week to think about all that I felt and all that happened) I decided to join. I paid a pretty penny to join, but nothing is ever really free right?

My mother seemed so excited. I wasn’t, at least not about the business part. I joined because I wanted to learn more about finance and how to be financially educated and savvy. At the time, I wasn’t concerned about all of what everyone else wanted me to be concerned about. I just wanted the knowledge, so that I could make smart decisions in the future.

I’m all of 21, and don’t know everything. In fact, I know nothing about finances. All I really know is that it’s good to save money when you can, and spend it wisely so that you’re set when you really need it. That’s it. But no info on the ins-and-outs at all.

So, the Saturday of that week, I went to orientation in the morning. I will admit, they broke down a lot of the steps for me but I still had a lot I wanted to know, which left me with no comfort at all. I was so blind going into all of this that I was overwhelmed. Yet, I managed to stay strong.

It all weirds me out how excited everyone in that office is about what they do. I mean, seriously. Perhaps, it’s because I don’t know what it’s like to be in debt, working a job for 6+ years and not be fully satisfied, have kids, live in a house, and understand how hard life can really be. Maybe that’s why they’re so excited because this is their “out” from all of that.

What I do realize though is that being around these people has brought a lot of grief on me. Why? Because I’m starting to realize a lot of things that are important that I don’t have a good grasp on.

The biggest instance was when Peggy asked me what my goals and dreams were. I told her that I wanted to be a fine artist and to make art. It was that simple. But then I realized that that wasn’t truly a dream or goal. It wasn’t something that could be put into perspective, have a plan for, and it didn’t light a fire inside of me.

That made me go home and cry inside. It’s not because I don’t like making art, far from it in fact. It just made me realize that I was making a hobby, a passion, into a goal with no real support for it. Like, what am I to do with that passion? I still don’t know. But I tried distracting myself with doing the business.

I began to call people up, see if anyone else wanted to join or at least come learn the information that I did. I figured that I should call everyone since anyone could benefit. Some people were flat-out uninterested (and some of those people really surprised me with this response.) Some people were down right away (because I was their friend, and nothing more unfortunately.) Some people needed some time.

I managed to get three people to the meeting thus far: Brandi, Keri, and Roland. While they were all thankful, they all used the same word to describe the experience—interesting. That is a hard word to swallow in these types of situations because it usually means something negative. If they can’t pull out a positive right away, it usually means they’re turned off.

But doing some of the work for this business has revealed something about myself that I didn’t want to admit. I don’t want to do this alone. There’s no one in this business (because it’s not focused on my age group) who’s like me or relatable to me. And getting friends into the same things you are can be hard, especially when you yourself aren’t sure about it.

That scares me. I understand that what I signed up for is a great opportunity, but it sure as hell scares me to death. I’ve never been a go-getter, a risk-taker, and truly spontaneous. I’m very methodical, and cautious through and through. So being in a business where I’m trying to do the exact opposite of what I usually do is petrifying. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve wanted to quit just because I’m scared.

As a matter of fact, I don’t believe in myself really. I just… well, I don’t know how to feel actually. When it comes to academia, or being responsible as an adult, that’s easy for me. Doing good in school and paying bills on time, and making sure I stay within my limitations has always been easy. It’s been safe for me. Perhaps, that’s why I’m so good at it because there’s no overwhelming challenge.

Don’t get me wrong. School and life have been challenging at times. But I always am able to look it in the eye and not waver. “I’ll do what I have to do” I usually say. But here, where everything is completely on me, and only me, without real backup… I’m running for the hills. Nothing has ever been this tough.

My mental barriers are definitely hard ones to break. Anyone can tell you that who personally knows me. And I’m my own worst critic and best cheerleader. But as hardworking as I am, I’m just unmotivated.

That brings me to why I’m writing this post now. I would like to see a bright future ahead with this business that I’m now a part of. But… I don’t. I’m not motivated like the people around me. My mom has a reason to be motivated. She wants better for herself after working for 15+ years at her job and not completely loving it. She wants better for her children (which includes me too.) She has a reason to fight.

I don’t. Going in I didn’t. Knowledge is great, but what reason do I have to do this? Money is great but it comes and goes and I knew that long ago. So, I’m conflicted. I have no reason to fight for this thing I’m a part of, but everyone else does.

I think that’s why I’m so hellbent on not doing this alone. Sure, I have my mother with me but it’s not the same because she’d be there for me anyway. But having a real crew who’s like myself, that will help each other work on the same thing to get everyone to a better place, that is something I can fight for. Because I wouldn’t just be fighting for myself, I’d be fighting for them too. 🙂

Heh. Wow. I really strange how I keep answering my own questions and pulling myself out of my “funk” by writing down my thoughts. I’ve been saddened by everything up until this point because I haven’t known what to do. I still don’t. But, I know why I feel the way that I do now.

I gotta find something to fight for. Something that will push me through taking this huge ass risk. I gotta find something that will get me up to do what I should be doing, but I’m still searching for it. I don’t know when I’ll find it, which means that doing this in the meantime will be a challenge every step of the way. I really hope I find that something sooner than later.

It would be so easy if I were like some other people. Some friends have children to protect and that’s a reason to fight. Some have families that are broken and they want to mend them, and that’s their reason. Some people are selfish and just want better for themselves (which I’m not knocking as long as its respectable to other people.) Everyone else seems to have something, but not me…

I thought that just wanting to take pictures would be enough, that wanting to write would be enough, but maybe it’s not. Maybe I do need something more than just something that makes me happy when I’m doing it. But what could that be I wonder?

I can’t predict how Primerica will change my life. I can’t predict where I’ll be in a few years, or even a few months. But something won’t let me leave. Something keeps telling me not to quit, to stick around despite the heartache. Something inside of me just keeps saying, don’t quit. Don’t quit. DON’T QUIT. Even though I have good enough reason for myself to quit, I just can’t.

Maybe it’s that nagging expectation in the back of my head and in my ear all the time. People expect great things from me, because I just seem like the guy who will go “to infinity and beyond.” Why do people see that in me? I mean, I do have what it takes to be successful at anything I need to be successful with. But wanting success is a whole ‘nother level for me.

I’m not sure I’ve wanted success for a lot of things actually. I think I’ve just felt that I need to be successful and therefore, failure or less than 100% was not an option. So I didn’t consider it one. But this… well, I don’t need it nor do I really want it. It’s just something I’m doing.

What have I ever really wanted success for in my life? What has been optional that I wanted to see be at its prime? I really can’t recall. My mom always expected me to do my absolute best so I never settled because I knew I could be better as long as I got the help when needed. It was my expectation (after a while) that doing my best is required.

I’m not sure if that left a whole lot of room for my own wants to peek through; something I wanted so bad that I dreamed of it at night. So there’s never really been anything that I wanted to be successful at just for myself, without any influence. I’m not sure if I ever had a dream that was my dream that no one could take away from me.

Huh. That’s weird. Not a single thing? That’s weird. Don’t other people have something that they want but don’t need and are working hard to get? Why don’t I? I think perhaps it’s because I try not to want a lot in general. If I don’t need it, then I won’t give much thought to it.

*sigh* But what am I doing, huh? I don’t even know anymore. All I know now, after rambling, is that if I want to go somewhere, I need something to shoot for. I don’t have that anymore. So I gotta find it. This is the part where I admit that I’m in the same boat as Anthony.

You know what? Maybe I should get a buddy system going. I mean, I’m a ripe candidate for it anyway. I never really give up on people, even when they give up on themselves. I’ll campaign harder for everyone else before I do it for myself. People need uplifting because there’s already so much negativity in the world. But if I had a buddy, someone who I felt I could depend on to have my back through it all, then maybe I would go the distance.

I’m a guy with no goals, just passions, and I’m looking for a reason to keep fighting. I’ll find it. How? I don’t know. When? Don’t know that either. What will it take to discover it? I’m not the person to ask. But, I’ll find it (or it’ll find me.) I’ve got to find it. Or else, I may never truly get out of this funk.

So what am I to do guys? Have any advice for me? Anything at all? Please, I’m all ears. I don’t feel sad anymore, but I’m still just as lost as I was before with no sense of direction.

To want great things in life is fine, but there’s gotta be something more that lights a fire in one’s soul. Where is my fire? I’m still looking for it. I thought photography was enough, but perhaps I was wrong. It’s gotta be something greater…

It has to be…

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3 thoughts on “Primerica, Hardship, & An Epiphany

  1. It’s all up to you to decide, Carlos. It’s your choice whether or not to get into the business. If you overcome your initial fears, you might do great at it. You may, however never have liked the idea. I believe that whatever you choose, should secure your future while keeping you happy in the present.
    All the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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