Some say I'm merely excited for the future, others say I'm crazy. I'm not sure which one I agree with most. However, I do know that the thought of achieving great things, lingers on my mind constantly.
My upbringing was not your average American family. My parents were separated and to make the story short, I couldn't count on one hand how many places I've lived or how many split holidays I've experienced. I watched both parents struggle when getting "Santa" to arrive, or when it was time for back to school shopping. Somehow someway, I never went without. After winter break everyone had new shoes, so did I. When everyone started school again they had the coolest backpacks, so did I. I always had the necessities that my friends had, I was still fitting in, nothing was different about me. I didn't know.
When I was younger it never occurred to me, it was until I was about nine or ten that I noticed. We didn't have as much money as I thought we did. As a small child, like every other kid I believed we were rich. Mom would come home with loads of groceries, or dad would let me get candy every time we went to the store. My eyes open wide and I learned very quickly what the word struggle meant. I had realized that due to a few mistakes and bumps in the road, your life could be ten times harder. Being a parent was ten times harder. Life is not that easy, it's hard.
Around this age, I was curious about my career. I stopped playing around with the "I want to be a princess, or a singer, or a mermaid." I remember starting to develop a passion with a with my life. I would: choose a profession, research it and be stuck on it for months, then change my mind. The cycle was never-ending. I was focused on where I wanted to go to school, what I wanted to do with my life, who I wanted to be. I was infatuated with the idea of growing up. I still am today.
As I grew older the passion was stronger. My freshman year of high school I met Alex, I thought how perfect this was. I have found a big piece to my missing puzzle, the "Husband/Dad" roll to my dream. I didn't know it then but I was slowly losing my mind. I had just started high school and already couldn't wait to graduate college. Around the same time, my dad was in college and starting his life over. This is when I decided it's highly important to go right after high school.
A year later things began to fall into place. I had spent a whole year with Alex, I was sure now that yep, he's the one. I also found my calling and my sole purpose for being on Earth, to teach. I decided then that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life. I have finally found it, all my missing pieces were laying right in front of me and I acted like a kid in a candy store. I started doing mature much faster and doing adult-like things. I got my first job the same day I had passed my driver's test, after buying my first car. None of those things are wrong and I am very proud of all of them, but I was skipping the steps of being a kid. I missed football games, I quit my second year of softball simply because I had to work.
My parents know that everything I do is a reflection of where I've been and where I am going. I strive every day to achieve great things and to make them proud because I know if they had a chance, there're a few things they would do differently. I am not the greatest kid on the planet, I am not the smartest. But I am prepared. I am prepared for whatever life throws at me because I have seen the real world and I know just a tad, of what I'm walking into.
I say every day that I am beyond grateful for the way I was raised and that I wouldn't be who I am, with the mindset I have, without my parents. They have taught me many lessons in life that were unsaid. I have learned to value money but also family, to always stay in school and go at the appropriate time. I have learned to have kids with someone you really love and make sure you're stable. Most of all, I've learned that the grown up life I once thought was heaven, is not all its cracked up to be. It's hard.
So whether you're just like me and you know exactly where you're going and what you're going to be, or you have no idea. Just stop, pause your life and stop. Rewind your life a little bit and go to church with your grandma, hug your mom, do yard work with your dad, go to every football game, take that Saturday off work. Do as many childish things that you can now because later there will be no room or time to even consider it. Money is important, responsibility is important. However, we are taught now to be a kid because if you aren't now, you will be later in life when you are held accountable for your actions.
Mom and Dad, you are not perfect, because no parent is. You have allowed me to see life in a perspective many kids are not capable of seeing, and for that, I am truly grateful.