One of the first things you should do when you get to prison and get settled in is find a purpose for your time.
Depending on the length of your sentence the purpose may vary. A lot of the year and a day guys use their time as a “fat camp” and they spend the 9-10 months that they serve losing weight and getting in shape.
Guys that have a little more time to do may focus on something bigger, or even set multiple goals that they want to accomplish.
What is most important about find a purpose is making sure you are treating your time with value. It could be finding God, or devoting your time to religious studies, mastering an art, such as learning how to draw or paint or leather making. You can learn a new skill or trade, and pretty much every compound has apprentice programs where you can learn to do plumbing, electrical, woodworking, or HVAC, anything that can improve your chances of not coming back after you are released.
Different facilities offer different forms of education, all offer GED, many offer, high school diplomas. Yankton offers associates degrees, and you can always take correspondence courses through the mail.
For some people, prison can be an opportunity to do some soul searching, try to find a purpose in life, and figure out what you are going to do differently to get your life back on track.
Looking back now as my time is winding down I am happy with the way I used my time.
Sometimes I think: could I have got more out of it?
Should I have done correspondence classes and received my master’s degree? Should I have learned more trades so I have something to fall back on if working with Morgan and Jamie or painting doesn’t work out?
During my seven years in prison I have probably spent too much time trying not to think of my immediate state and that is time that I am forced to be away from my family… and that probably held me back from reaching my full potential.
That said, I did learn a lot as well. I learned about prison life and how to do time.
To balance my day through a routine, something I lacked greatly in the years prior to incarceration. I found yoga, softball, and fantasy football, three things I will most likely participate in the rest of my life.
I built the best relationship that I can with my mom and daughter over the phone, as I call them once or twice a week, which was a lot more then I ever did between high school graduation to incarceration.
Then 7-8 months ago my sister came to visit and started talking about her blog and I offered to write some stuff and she said she would like that. So I did and look at us now. I guess you could say my purpose found me, out of nowhere without even trying.
So maybe in hindsight I only used 18 of my 84 months productively when this is all done. But what’s important is that I think I found what I am going to do when I get out, and that is help others battle this thing called addiction, whether you believe it’s a disease or simply a choice.
And finding a calling is something many wait a lifetime for, so I am grateful for it.
Thanks for listening!