“I’ve had a tough life.”
Is that the understatement of all time or the petulant whining of a man-boy who never got what he wanted?
Truthfully, I think it’s a little of both.
On the one hand, fate saw fit to give me a severe mental illness that manifested early in life, but put me in a situation where no one would understand what was wrong with me. I grew up in a religious household so strict, so utterly brainwashed by religion, that if one of us were to stray, we would be shunned by the community and the very family that was supposed to be protecting us.
When my teens and early adulthood came along, I made a series of mistakes that set the tone for the rest of my life and how my I would be shaped over the years.
It culminated in my late 30s to early 40s as I was divorced, alone, destitute, friendless, and at the end of my rope.
It took a suicide attempt that almost ended my life to turn things around, and even after, years of slow, agonizing improvement.
On the other hand, I was born white, and even though we were poor, we had the means to feed, clothe, and house our family. Religion aside, my parents were the greatest parents to walk this earth, my dad a hardworking, self-sacrificing man, and my mom the kindest and most loving person I’ve ever had in my life.
I worked full-time from the time I was 15, and although I quit school early, I went back and got an Associates degree. I had jobs to feed my family, and after college some were even good jobs, able to help me make six figures and own a house with a pool.
And even though I was mentally ill, I had good healthcare over most of my life, and much of it was paid for as I was able to get on Social Security.
Peers of mine were homeless and drug-addicts, and I was able to survive because I was allowed to rest and heal and still be able to support my family.
Either way you look at it, I arrived where I am today. I have improved mentally and am improving more every day. I’ve been able to start working and will soon be able to survive without government intervention. I am going back to school for my coveted degree, either Bachelor or Masters, and am in the best period of my life thus far.
I’ve worked hard to get to this point and confident I can maintain it for the long haul.
It has been my dream all along to get the finer things in life and to be able to travel, and this year I will finally get to see some of that happen. I have projects and plans, businesses and retirement scenarios that will play out over the next ten years.
I have a beautiful wife and five wonderful children, two of which are still young enough to live with me.
I have a good life. I have a comfortable life. I have the life I only dreamed of those years suffering from an illness I couldn’t control.
I guess when it comes down to it, life, or the universe, or karma decides the time is right and gives you the things you deserve. Many people aren’t patient enough and never live to enjoy their success, but I am, plus I have a stubborn streak a mile wide.
It has served me well.
Dredging all that crap from the past up made me grateful for the opportunity I have now to shine like a star and find for myself some version of the word “success.”
Success is so hard to measure because it means different things to different people at different times.
For now, it means I can finally do some of the things I couldn’t when I was too sick to even lift my head from the pillow in the morning. Even though I am getting up in age, I feel like a kid again; a kid with hope and motivation for what will come in the future.
Whatever is working in my favor right now, I hope it continues to work it’s magic, because I like the new me and the life I have because of it.
Lead on, life and take me where you want me to go.