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!