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At the end of 1993 my skateboard career was over.
I was financially broke and spiritually broken.
Big Brother Magazine put the nails in my coffin by putting me on their list of “Washed Up Skaters”.
I was 23.

I crawled back to New Jersey with my wife and our one year old daughter Emily to figure out what came next.
My parents welcomed us back into their home, like a soldier coming back from the war.
I was starting my life over.

I would get in my car and drive around the old neighborhoods.
Like a graveyard ghost rattling his chains.
I kept going back to the same places, trying to figure out what went wrong.

Everyone around me told me that it was time to grow up, to get my GED and get a job.
I just couldn’t shake the feeling that “growing up” would be the worst thing that I could do.
My wife and daughter deserved better from me. I deserved better from myself.

With the encouragement of my wife Ann, I decided to continue to pursue my skating.
The thing is, I had to skate.
It was everything to me.
It was the only place I could go where everything made sense.
So, I kept skating.

I skated through one of the worst winters on record.
I skated through a snide and ridiculing skate media that only sought to tear people down and permitted nothing to have value.
I skated through all the noise of the day that wanted to dictate what skateboarding was and instead focused on what skateboarding was to me.

I realized that my suffering held no value, only my fight against it mattered.
And my energy returned.
My belief in myself, and in my skating returned.

I was still laughed at and ridiculed and considered “Washed Up.”
But those people didn’t matter. They never have.

I had my family and I had my skating.
And I would be just fine.

— Mike Vallely

See Also:

Mike Vallely: Los Angeles (1994)

Someplace (1994 – 1995).