Friday, May 25, 2007

Overnight Success

It seems just like yesterday at times, but it was really almost three years ago. I was at a crossroads in life. I needed to find a job and for the first time in my life I was having trouble finding one. I have an abundance of skills in a wide variety of areas and a history of finding not just employment, but usually interesting jobs that paid well. After “lowering” my standards to what I considered menial labor and still not having any luck, I was left with only one feasible option - go back to school.

My school career had actually re-started a year earlier, but for reasons I’ll not go into here, it was sidetracked and redirected such that I felt maybe it was just not in the cards for me. I stand corrected. But it didn’t happen overnight and I had to exercise the patience I didn’t think I had with the perseverance I knew I did. After three years of plugging away, each day bringing with it new but invisible progress, I am an overnight success.

Sometimes success culminates in a rapid succession of events, so rapid that it appears almost miraculous. Almost like luck had something to do with it. I know it has appeared so for me. Today, I know better. My life today is full but not overwhelming, exciting but not burning me out and filled with moments of celebrating success - mine and others'. It has been so for a while now and at times it feels as though it has been like this forever. However - and this is critically important - I must remember not only how hard it was for me to get here, but also have the empathy for others making a similar journey toward self-awareness.

It didn’t happen overnight. Come mid-December, I will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree from a major university. In that moment I will be transformed from an undergraduate to a graduate. However, I have been chipping away at this goal a little bit every day for a very long time, often not realizing that I was. It’s not like I would look back on a day… maybe a particularly hard day and say, “Wow! I’m one day closer to my degree!” Oh, no - there was no such celebration of progress in my life. Not until quite recently.

Today I am so very near the end of my undergraduate experience; I can see very clearly the progress each day brings, watching that metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel growing ever brighter. And I thought that light had been snuffed out long ago for me. Indeed, at times I believed there never was one. Today I am warmed by its glow and beckoned by its radiance. It is in these moments of gratitude that I acknowledge not only the effort I have put forward, but also the help I have received along the way. If not for the encouragement and help from family, friends and even some institutions, my life would have continued to languish is everlasting “could’ve been.”

I write in this space for a number of reasons. I have expressed many of them right here and they are, to some extent, the same reasons many other writers write. One factor that drives much of my blog writing is the desire to offer hope. If it were not for others who have escaped living a life of quiet desperation and lived to tell about it, I might not have had the motivation to continue. My writing here, therefore, is often uplifting and inspirational, if not actually inspired. I have a solemn obligation to freely give back what was so freely given to me. If I can fight back and succeed in discovering who I am - anyone can.

Epilogue: Work is now seeking me!


OldLady Of The Hills said...

WOW! That is quite a moment here....! And it makes me think of Van Gogh who never sold one painting in his whole lifetime, (except to his brother..) And ultimately changed the face of Modern Art. One never knows what will happen or when, but if there is anything to be learned from you or Van Gogh it is to stay with and be who you are in all it's uniqueness and never give up hope. It is so sad to me that Van Gogh did not see the impact his painting had on the world....It is great that you are experiencing the impact you are having, now, in your lifetime, Mike. Comgratulations!

Michele sent me today, Mike!

kenju said...

Naomi said what I was thinking too, Mike. And HOORAY for the epilogue! Good things come to those who work hard for them!

Michele made me do it!

jac said...

stopping by tongith from michele's and it is so nice to hear that you're seeing the fruition of all your hard work and many ways. congratulations on your dedication and commitment to self-discovery and growth.

Karen said...

Congratulations on your success and your perseverance. So glad that it paid off! Way to go!!!!

Michele sent me. Have a great weekend!

Catherine said...

Your post made me think of the quote: "the harder I work, the luckier I get" Congratulations on reaching your goal (well, almost - I'm sure graduation will be upon you in no time). Michele sent me

Lou said...

Thank you for visiting my blog earlier. I am so glad I have visited yours. CONGRATULATIONS. My husband and I have recently celebrated graduations from our respective university courses. December will come soon enough and your family and friends will be unbelievably proud of you. University is such a rewarding experience albeit a real test of endurance. I can tell you though that a few months after you have completed your studies you may well be looking for another course, that extra time can really start to bug you. LOL

craziequeen said...

Your perseverance to be yourself, and not what people say you should be, is admirable and soon to be rewarded with your degree!

And I peeked at your front page article on the Pacer Herald - good work, my friend!!

Michele sent me to say -



mckay said...

so, when's the graduation party??! congratulations on achieving this goal. knowing you, you'll be smacking a few more outta the park in the coming years :0)


carmilevy said...

"I have a solemn obligation to freely give back what was so freely given to me."

This is a fundamental principle of my life. I am who I am because so many guides and mentors took the time to share their time and expertise with me as I was learning and rising through the ranks.

It is now my privilege to do the same for those who follow. I don't know if this is some sort of universal code for writers, but it feels good in my heart.

Snaggle Tooth said...

Now that you're experienced in published articles and got a network of contacts begun, of course they'll hear of you and want the good writer you are!
(Hope you can keep up with it all-)

Lady Prism said...

indeed..and your story never fails to inspire...

you should be teaching...