Okay — quick gratitude list this Wednesday. I love starting my day this way. I love living my life this way, come to that. What are you grateful for?
I’m grateful that my parents valued education. We didn’t have much money (mom was a teacher, dad was a blue collar mechanic/construction worker depending on the economy) but they spent an inordinate percentage of their small income to send my sister and I to a rigorous Catholic school. And then they drove us there, every day. We were buying our clothes at K-Mart and our groceries from a “reclamation warehouse”, but we went to school with CEO’s daughters. Their value system and sacrifice changed the trajectory of my life, and I’m grateful.
I’m grateful my grandmother provided my daycare while my mother worked. Grandma loved me beyond all logic and reason, and I felt it. I can still remember sitting on her lap, dipping my graham crackers in her coffee, while we played Solitaire together. (And you wonder why I love coffee?) Lucky me.
I’m grateful to be third generation immigrant. My people worked. Scratch that, my people WORK. And my people value family. I only know now how blessed I was to grow up in a personal culture like that. My father would ask me every day, multiple times a day, “Is your homework done? Is your school work done? How are you doing in school?” It made me crazy at the time, but I’m grateful for it now. So grateful.
I’m grateful that I was brave enough to take a straight commission job to prove how driven and tough I was when, early in my career, I was trying to break into an industry I had no qualifications for. I succeeded, and it started me on the path I’ve been on for the last two decades. So grateful.
I’m grateful that I sat next to my now dear friend Rob at the HR orientation of my first Real Job ever. “What’s a 401k?” I asked him in a whisper. He looked at me, incredulous, and said, “Give me your paper, just hand me your damn paper.” Sheepishly, I handed him the form. He filled it out, handed it back to me and said, “There. Turn that in.” Rob had signed me up for the employee stock purchase plan (which, five years later, would provide the nest egg I used to buy my first house). He had also signed me up for my first 401K (I know what it is now, Robbie) and I’m so, so very glad to have it.
I’m grateful that whenever someone has told me I couldn’t do something in my life, I’ve taken it as a challenge. Thank God for that stubborn, naive, idealistic streak in me. It has taken me so far.
Make your own path. Work hard. Don’t buy anyone else’s limited vision of your future.
All things, my dear, are possible.
What’s your dream? Go get it.