Looking Back to Shape the Future

980 words | 4 page(s)

Life throws a curve ball to some people some of the time. For my life, it seems to have thrown avalanches of problems all of the time. In other words, life was and still remains a struggle for me. However, in addition to fulfilling pre-set goals and reaching my potential I hope to serve as an example for others. The biggest lesson learned after enduring so many trials in life is that attitude determines altitude. I had to look back over my past and decide on how to shape my future.

I am one of six children. We grew up having a mother who worked hard to take care of us all. She was a single parent and didn’t have any formal education. We had no support at home to help my mother manage all of us. By support, I mean that (with my mother working) we didn’t always have someone there to make sure that our school work was complete. Doing homework was not the priority.

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The priority was eating, sleeping, playing and maybe watching television. I can only imagine how my life would have turned out if someone were to make us practice for spelling, math and other exams. I can only imagine how different life would have been if we had someone who told us that we should go to college. It is amazing that we all breezed from one grade to the next when we were young. Instead, my older sister is the only one who has a high school diploma. She must have blazed a trail because now I am finally getting my diploma as well. Looking back on all of the years we struggled, two things come to mind. First, there was a mental process that placed me on this current path to success. Secondly, I plan to leave a lasting legacy for my children. It will secure a bright future for their children as well.

Many teenagers think they know it all and no one can tell them anything. Girls think they know everything about boys. They think they are in love. They think that school is boring and it is not important. As a teenager, social circles are such a heavy priority. Unfortunately teenagers can choose to glue themselves to the wrong crowd. I didn’t bond with a crowd of kids who were adamant about finishing high school and going further. As an adult, I know now that I cannot blame my old buddies as the reason I didn’t finish school. I am responsible for the choices I made in my youth. However, there is no denying the heavy consequence that I paid by structuring and maintaining the social life that I had. In my adult life, I whole heartedly subscribe to the saying, “whosoever fails to plan, plans to fail”. I don’t know what wise person said those words but, when I discovered it I realized that I was living it. Something had to change. A lot of people think that living a better life simply requires changing old habits. That would be like trying to install the steering wheel before building the car. It is my personal belief that habits and addictions cannot change until a person acknowledges their problems, flaws, needs for help or choices that led to their place of struggle. Only then can a decision be made to adopt a new attitude.

I had to take on a new mind-set. My decision was to take ownership of the future I wanted for myself by addressing my attitude. Critical questions came to mind like, “If other people can be successful then why can’t I be successful?” Secondly, I asked, “If I keep doing what I’ve been doing for the past 13 years, will I keep getting what I am getting now?” With no high school diploma, I am limited to low paying jobs. Low paying jobs surely limit the type of living conditions that I can provide for myself and my family. Low paying jobs can potentially keep me dependent on governmental programs that are structured to keep me in the rat wheel. I wanted a career that could offer upward mobility. I emerged willing to persistently work hard and pursue more education starting with obtaining my high school diploma. I am on my way to higher altitudes because I first changed my attitude.

It is amazing how looking at the past (not re-living the past but merely glancing at it) served a dual purpose. It showed me that I am strong, iron-clad and resilient. Secondly, it reminded me that I have a hundred reasons to make sure my children live under better conditions than I had. My children are six years, five years and six months old. At the age of 26, I believe that it is never too late to get a good education. When I look back, I am reminded to teach my children things that the adults in my life didn’t teach me. I didn’t have a guidance counselor who pushed me and believed in me.

I am now their guidance counselor. I didn’t have a dual-parent household to display a healthy marriage featuring team-effort and financial balance. My children have that. I didn’t have anyone telling me about the importance of reading, good study habits and comprehension. My children have that in me. As a full time mother and babysitter, I am serving as a shining example for the children of my clients as well. The legacy I leave my loved ones will be priceless because I (along with my sister) destroyed the family trend of extreme limitations due to lack of education. It is not easy to stay motivated. However, I know my attitude will color my future and carry me far. The gray days of my past will not hold me back.

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