Captain Yan Shmatnik

My Story – Part 1: Captain Yan

Storytelling is one of the most powerful arts available to a person.

The command of words strung together ever so carefully and thoughtfully is a beautiful thing. It should not be used lightly and should definitely not be used as carelessly as it is today by modern society.

With all this being said, I would like to introduce you to the boy in the photo above. That boy is me, a younger version of me before life hit and the world got real.

I had no idea what was in store for me at that young age of 2 or 3. Life was just beginning and everything was wondrous. Life is still pretty much wondrous for me now at 32 years of age, but that perspective had to be learned for it was lost as I grew up and the raptures of life hit.

I write all this to share my story.

For as I said before, storytelling is powerful and the greatest stories we as people can tell are those of our own lives. If we don’t tell our stories, then who will? And whom better to tell our own stories than ourselves?

My story begins in 1985 around the time when the Soviet Union was beginning to fall.

My father, a great man, wanted a better life for himself and his family than he had. He tried desperately to immigrate us to the United States and succeeded around 1988. I was just 3 years old when my mom boarded me on a plane destined to the states, our destination — Buffalo, NY.

We escaped what could have been a very physically and emotionally trying existence in hopes for a life full of opportunity and wonder.

My parents succeeded in providing me that.

However, not without hardships and trying times.

Perhaps that’s just what life is, a series of trials that shape us depending upon our responses.

Today I can happily say I have no regrets for the choices and decisions I have made, for they are what make me the man I am. I do look back now and then with sadness, but I would not change a thing for that would mean I wouldn’t be who I am today.

This is just the beginning, a snippet of what was for what is to come.

I’ll take you on a journey through my life and my trials which have shaped me.

Stay tuned, for much more is to come.

Share this post