Growing up in certain places has its challenges for everyone. For some it is harder than others. Cole Young, 33, has had one twisted journey throughout.

At a very early age, Young had to start fending for himself. Even though he had a rough upbringing, that did not stop him from changing his path.

How old were you when you started living on the streets?
13 or 14

Where did you live?
Started in Big Bear, then moved down the hill to San Bernardino, then Inland Empire, then San Diego, then San Clemente.

How long did you live there?
On and off from 13-14 to, shit, probably 28, I was on the streets when I got my job at Four Star, I went to go pick up a bag of weed from Spud, and the warehouse manager was out changing his exhaust on his car. He was like “Hey you do good work, want a job?” And I have been there for like 13 years now. And it is not like I was trying to turn my life around I was buying a bag of weed. All of sudden career and shit, I don’t know how that happened. I was supposed to be dead at 30 I didn’t plan for any of this.

What was it like when you got your first job and how old were you?
It was horrible I was working for my dad at the pet store in Utah. I was about 16 when I was homeless and I was sick of being homeless, so I asked my dad to save me, so I moved in with him and started working with him, then shit didn’t go right, he had a coke problem so he chased me out of the house with a butcher knife, so I was homeless again in Utah.

How long were you in Utah before coming back to California?
I grew up in Big Bear from elementary school to high school. Then I got kicked out my sophomore year. After I got expelled is when my mom was like “Fuck you, you’re not living here anymore.”

Not long under a year. I like it but I had some fucked-up friends that were my dad’s who I considered friends and when shit went down after chasing me out of the house, they were all like “yeah fuck that kid, you tried your best” to my dad and I was like “no dude you did fucking blow the entire time you didn’t try your best.

So I hit up my grandma and she flew me back down to San Clemente and then I started touring with ‘The Voids’ a San Diego punk band and they took me around and grandma and grandpa took it as I was doing drugs, drinking going around with a punk band so they decided to kick me out to, then I was homeless in San Clemente.

That was my longest stretch [of being homeless]it was up until I got my job at Four Star. So years, I can’t remember how many years, there were so many drugs and alcohol involved I can’t remember. This story is going to make me go to jail.

What has it been like since having your current stable job and place to live?
Life changing. I became part of a family instead of part of a lower class fucking slave-drowning bullshit. They accepted me in and taught me things. Really within the first week of being there I knew it was a fit. I got lucky that the people I was working with were more or less around my age and experienced. If it wasn’t for them I would be still stupid, junky, homeless Cole. They changed my life. I knew from the first week that they changed my life and I wasn’t going to have to go back to a Big Lots or a bull-shit job that didn’t matter. They took care of me right away. My boss was the one who gave me the security deposit for my first apartment.

What was it like to get your first apartment?
It took a lot of adjusting, it took a while to realize that when you throw things away they don’t just stay in the street and go somewhere else. My apartment was full of trash in the first month. I still didn’t have a bed on the floor, I didn’t know how to take care of myself yet and it was disgusting. I almost wasn’t ready for it.

What made you change?
My boss, Jake, He came and just said you can’t live like this and actually paid for a lot of shit like my first couch, um, and he just showed me how to be an adult. Let me know I was a loser and people can’t act like this.

What has been like since then?
It’s had its ups and downs I mean, I’ve been here for a while you know so, it’s been a battle with the drugs, physical violence and getting hurt myself, a lot of self destruction, car accidents, DUIs, broken arms, broken bladders, broken faces, broken neck, brain injuries.

What do you plan to do for your future?
I don’t know. Figure what it’s like to be an adult, I realized no one knows what the fucks going on, I’m just running through this trying to figure it out. Trying to grasp it in my own fuckin’ way and try to make something of myself.

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