Life After High School: Interviews with Damien Brehmer and Wes Howard

Damien Brehmer
Damien Brehmer

Today I am including two short interviews with fellow Anacortes High School graduates from the class of 1996.

This is part of an ongoing blog-to-book project (working title: Life After High School: Secrets to A Successful Life By Those Who Have Had Twenty Years To Think About It or What They Didn’t Teach Us Gen Xers In High School). We left off with part 2 of the preface/chapter 1, and I wanted to pause to include two of the shortest interviews so that you can see the questions I asked my classmates, get a feel for some very concise (and straight to the point) answers, and get a sense for what additional benefit the interviews will provide.

Although most of the participants had much longer answers, I don’t think that means these shorter ones are any less substantive.

In the final book, I will likely include these two interviews at this point, to break up the work and give you a chance to gain perspective.


Damien Brehmer

Anacortes, WA

My Life In High School

Who were you in High School and how did you feel about it?

The underachiever.

What did you think your life would become when you graduated?

Wasn’t sure. Never really thought about it.

My Life After High School

Damien Brehmer

What happened in your life to you, for you, and by you in the last twenty years (how have you used your time and who have you become)?

Joined the Navy and it became my and my family’s life. I found a sense of worth and belonging, camaraderie with my fellow brothers in arms and wouldn’t have it any other way.

My Life Lessons

What were the major life lessons and wisdom that you gained during your journey over the last 20 years?

Cherish memories. Life is precious, relationships with others are gold and the key to happiness.

Letter To My High School Self

If you could write your 18-year-old self (or however old you were when you graduated) a letter, and send it back in time, what would you say? What lessons, wisdom, encouragement, or warnings would you give yourself?

Be a good and decent person with morals. Value friendship and always keep your word. Hold others and yourself accountable for their actions and be honest with them or you.


Wes Howard

Bothell, Washington

My Life In High School

wes-howard 1996

Who were you in High School and how did you feel about it?

Wallflower

What did you think your life would become when you graduated?

Whatever I wanted.

My Life After High School

Wes Howard

What happened in your life to you, for you, and by you in the last twenty years (how have you used your time and who have you become)?

Was undecided on what do after graduation so I traveled for a bit. Then came back to a 9 to 5 job which I was not fond of. So after a few personal struggles I started my own business in 2001. 16 years later the business model has changed a bit, but still doing what I like. Other than that the last 20 years mostly uneventful. Just sprinkled with some travel adventures and much hard work!

My Life Lessons

What were the major life lessons and wisdom that you gained during your journey over the last 20 years?

Life isn’t easy! Always be respectful to other people’s opinions, even if you totally disagree. Don’t let bad people hold you back. However, I think the biggest lesson is to have patience when it comes to achieving your goals—if you work hard they will come in time.

Letter To My High School Self

If you could write your 18-year-old self (or however old you were when you graduated) a letter, and send it back in time, what would you say? What lessons, wisdom, encouragement, or warnings would you give yourself?

I would say only two things: Have patience for the things you want and you don’t have to have everything in the beginning. It will come in time. Beware of the people you associate with and surround yourself with positive influences.

It was truly an honor to have these two gentlemen answer my questions and provide a little glimpse into their lives. Also, since it is Veteran’s Day today, I want to give some specific thanks to Mr. Brehmer for serving our country!

Next time, I am diving into Chapter 1: Facebook Replaces Yearbook. I am excited to finally get this thing kicked off and jump into my experience going to my twenty-year high school reunion.

In the meantime, please leave a comment below.

Are you from Generation X? I want to hear what you think! Please comment below and participate in the conversation about What They Didn’t Teach Us Gen Xers In High School. What do you wish someone told you when you were eighteen?

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