It seems like too often I find myself not allowing myself to celebrate and bask in the glory of my accomplishments. I pawn the credit off on others, avoid the spotlight, and bathe in the constant flow of worry and fear that I keep the tap open on.
Today is my 34th birthday. It should be a beautiful day of celebration and excitement but I simply find myself at work this morning pondering and worrying over what the next year is going to bring. We are looking at moving our business, I have machines that need to be replaced…..expensive machines, I’m feeling inadequate as a father, and 2017 simply beat me down. Will I recover this year?
And then I change my perspective and think; We are looking to move our business….this is a sign of success and will be a huge financial step as we begin investing that lease payment into an asset of our own as we purchase this building. The expensive machines that need to be replaced have been well used, showing the demand that is placed on them and the income they are bringing to our business, pushing it towards these successes. I am a father, married to a beautiful and, quite simply, amazing mother. My children love me. I am involved with them and put in effort to be there. I’m doing good as a father and the love that is felt in our home is proof of that.
2017 was hard and 2018 may be even harder. But all of these things are signs of success. So why can’t I celebrate? Why can’t I be a bit selfish and say “I made this man; I am where I am because of me”?
I am a 34 year old business owner who didn’t crack under pressure when it was layered on time and time again. I am finding paths to success and making it happen. I am a father that works hard to take care of his family, provide for their needs, and seizes opportunities to be in their lives. I love their mother and together we work hard to make our home a happy, safe, and loving place to be. I’m doing better than many when it comes to this.
But instead of taking pride in who I am and what I’ve done, I shrink into corners rationalizing that I am only where I am because of help I’ve received along the way, or circumstances that routed me towards where I am. That in most cases I’ve just been a passenger along for the ride.
Now here is where I insert a personal view: I am a religious man with a deep belief in a God and the help and support he can give us, and more importantly, wants to give us. I do attribute all I am and all I have to Him. But along with that religious belief comes a belief in freedom of choice. That we are allowed to make our own choices whether they be for good or for bad.
So I think we should be allowed to give ourselves credit where credit is due. The recently late religious leader Thomas S. Monson once said: “May we maintain the courage to defy the consensus. May we ever choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.”
I think the “consensus” of the world is to take the easy route; to not have to deal with the discomfort of changing, trying, or fighting for goals. To walk away from a marriage or relationship rather than fighting to renew it because we gave our word years ago that we would. To declare bankruptcy rather than putting in the extra hours, blood, sweat, and tears when you are getting collection calls and past due notices. Because you made a commitment to that financial institution that you would pay them back and your conscious won’t let you set that aside.
The consensus is too often to let a device or other media be the babysitter when you get home and are too tired to spend time with your child. To let that media raise and train your child what the world expects rather than sharing your expectations and wisdom to prepare them for the false advertising and misguided ways and views the world presents daily.
These are all choices I have had to make within the last decade of my life. I’m not climbing up on my high horse especially since the last time I was on my horse I nearly got bucked off (true story…..). But what I am saying is this: when the choices are laid before us; when we fight, struggle, bleed, and bear the burden of going against what our body or the “consensus” tells us is OK and push ourselves up the long, rocky slope towards what our mind and heart tells us is right. When we have proceeded with conviction, whether we have stumbled and slipped during that pursuit, to finally find a success, then we deserve a bit of a pat on the back.
I deserve to celebrate this day and who I am. My loved ones feel to help me celebrate, recognizing my effect and influence on their lives. So why shouldn’t I? This is my day, my mile-stone, my life. I chose to be here, I chose to be who I am, and I have fought daily to maintain and support those choices. Yes, I had help. Yes, I had support. And yes, I made plenty of mistakes and missteps along the way. But even those that have help and support still choose to not live up to their potential. They choose to allow those missteps to define them rather than fighting back and pushing forward.
I think I have reason to celebrate and I think I deserve to celebrate. So maybe today I will take off a bit early, I mean I am the boss, and go do something that will relieve a little stress. I’ll go where I can be surrounded by loved ones and bask in this day. I’ll celebrate my life for what it has been, albeit imperfect, and what it can be as the years keep rolling in.
Happy Birthday BossDad! You earned it!