I don’t know about you guys, but when I was a kid, I always wanted to be more like Disney’s character, Pete. He was neat and tidy, and I really liked how he always had a flowerpot on the desk in his office. Maybe it was because my grandparents on both sides of my family were flowerpots. I don’t know.

The thing is, as much as I wanted to be like Pete, I never really fit the bill. Sure, I was the kind of kid who cleaned my room, folded my shirts, and had a flowerpot on the desk (just like Pete), but I was also really clumsy and never did any of the things that teenage boys are supposed to do. As much as I wanted to be like Peter, I was more like Peter Pete.

Then, when I was 17, I decided to leave home and move into a shared flat with two other guys. It was scary, moving out of my parent’s house, not knowing anything about the city you live in, and being completely on your own. We were all nervous about the whole thing, but we managed to make it work. Suddenly, I had my own room, with my own bathroom and shower, and a desk, where I could put my flowerpot.

It was around this time that I got really into music. I was listening to a lot of different stuff, but mostly older bands that my granddad loved when he was a young man. I wanted to be able to play music and dance like him. I picked up guitar and taught myself to play. Then, one day, I was walking down the street with my guitar, when a friendly stranger asked me if I was interested in making some extra money. I was already doing odd jobs here and there to help pay for my music, so I figured, what the hell, and said yes.

This is how my whole ‘rock star’ thing started. The first time I walked into my boss’s office, the first thing he said was, “So, you’re the guy with the guitar, right?” I was completely thrown off guard. I said, “Yeah, that’s me,” and then he said, “I love your music. Can you play at my daughter’s birthday party?” He was basically giving me a chance to prove myself. It was literally the best birthday present ever.

I’ve been playing ever since. Sometimes, I would bring my guitar to work and jam with my co-workers, who all loved jazz and blues. It was pretty cool to see how much everyone got into it. I mean, I’ve been in bands with my brothers and sister, but this was different. This was more intimate. We were all in it together, having fun. After work, I would sit down with my guitar and write songs, trying out different melodies and chords. Sometimes, I would play in local jazz clubs, sometimes at house parties, and sometimes in my boss’s garage, because he had a room that he never used.

Now that I’m older, I’m still doing my music. Sometimes, I’ll play at local bars and clubs, and sometimes, I’ll play at weddings and parties. People still come up to me, 20 years later, and say that my music helped them through a rough time. It’s humbling and mind-blowing at the same time. Like I said, this is a completely different side of me. The kid I used to be, the one my parents and grandparents raised, he’s still in there somewhere. But for the most part, this is the guy they hired. This is the guy who shows up every morning, ready to work.

All this to say, never really fit the bill as Peter Pete. So, in a way, I’m glad I wasn’t like him. I did all these things, but I did them in my own way. And that’s more important than having a flowerpot on the desk, or being neat and tidy.