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Picture this (haha, get it?): The year is 1988 and it’s finally time for Kevin to graduate from college. (By the way, he was drop-dead tired in this picture. Poor guy).
We had been dating for one year when he graduated. And I remember his graduation ceremony clearly (which is saying a lot, considering my faulty memory).
I was both proud and envious. I had dreams of going to college, but I didn’t think I was smart enough to handle it. I did poorly my senior year of high school (mainly because I was a stinker and spent most of my time trying to figure a way out of going) and I hadn’t taken the ACT test.
Who would accept me?
But still. When Kevin walked down that aisle, accepted his diploma and looked so carefree and happy, I was jealous. And I vowed that night that somehow, someway, I would graduate from college someday.
(And I did. After going on and off for nearly ten years, I finally graduated in 2003).
Seeing Kevin in his cap and gown inspired me. It wasn’t just the fact that he was graduating, but all of the sacrifices and hardships he endured to get to that point.
He originally wanted to be a musician. He had been playing with a local band for a while and they were well-known in our city. He had grandiose ideas of making it big.
But reality crashed down on him and he realized that though he may be happy, he would most likely not make a lot of money.
So, he altered his plans. He toyed with the idea of going into computers (this was back in the late 80’s, before computers had become so commonplace) and he was talked out of it.
He was persuaded to give accounting a try. He was good at numbers. And he was an excellent problem solver, so … he went to school and graduated with an accounting degree. (He later went on and passed his CPA exam).
He was dirt poor when he went to college. He worked two jobs and after paying his bills, had $5.00 left over until next pay day.
He existed on Ramen noodles for months.
He was exhausted. And at times, he was discouraged. But he trudged forward and never gave up.
He does not have fond memories of his college years and that’s mainly because they were so difficult for him. He had to struggle and fight for everything. He had some pretty major personal problems going on at the time and that only added to his stress.
But he never gave up.
And over the years, since our married life, we have struggled, scrimped, saved, and sacrificed so much to get where we are today.
And given our background and our experience, that’s the reason I get so impatient, and even downright angry, whenever I hear people complain, and express envy for folks “who’ve got it good.”
Successful people weren’t always successful. Chances are, they started at the bottom and worked their way up. The difference between a successful person and a not so successful person is perserverance.
You can’t give up.
Not if you really want something.
So, I suppose the moral of this post? Don’t be jealous of people who have more than you do, be inspired. Success is hard, and seemingly impossible at times, but boy howdy, is victory sweet once you get there.
And everyone who lives in America, has the CHANCE to succeed. The question is, are people willing to put forth the effort to make it happen?