First I worked to educate myself, then I worked to build my support network, then I worked to prime possibilities for a career. Because of those efforts, when my release day came, I had a substantial savings account, a loving wife, and clear ideas about steps I had to take to build a career out of my 25-year odyssey through prison.
I felt the clock ticking, and I had a set of goals that I wanted to accomplish in a timely manner. Those goals became my priority. My wife and I had been planning for my release, and although she wanted me to spend time looking at pictures and sharing other sentimental moments, she understood that I was obsessed and that I placed a crucial importance on the work that I had to complete. I’d spent many of our visiting hours during my final months of prison walking her through the goals I wanted to accomplish and explaining the progress I wanted to make during my first month of liberty, my second month, my third month, and so forth. I had my first year mapped out with a plan, and when I walked out of prison, I fixated on the need to execute in accordance with that plan.
American flag and dog where liberty dwells there is my country shirt
Golf sir shanks a-lot vintage shirt
Emt life got me feelin’ like Hei Hei shirt
A girl and her Dachshund living life in peace shirt
Boxer Balloons Fireworks Independence Day 4th of July may the fourth be with you shirt
Dachshund Balloons Fireworks Independence Day 4th of July may the fourth be with you shirt
Daddy I love you even more than Fortnite and that’s a lot shirt
A girl and her Pug living life in peace shirt
Golf hole in one club vintage shirt
Corona Virus ruined my birthday 2020 shirt
My work of writing about the prison experience has put me in contact with hundreds of other prisoners. In my book Earning Freedom: Conquering a 45-Year Prison Term, I wrote about what I learned from others who were released from prison after long sentences. Many spoke about the need to connect with family, to walk in the wilderness, to explore nature. For some reason that I cannot explain, I have not felt that those aspects of freedom were crucial, at least during these first months. I’ve felt an urgency to build a sustainable business, something that would allow me to live independently. Such obsessions likely have roots in the way that I conditioned myself through the time that I served. I interviewed hundreds of men who returned to confinement after their initial release, and their stories convinced me that the best way to ensure I would not get pulled back into the criminal justice system was to create a life of stability. As a consequence of priorities I set, several months passed before I allowed myself the liberty to spend time with family. I work seven days each week. I’ve been quasi free for more than five months. Other than time I spend with my wife, all of my energy has been an investment in building a career.