Standing on their shoulders and paying it forward
It's my birthday! I turn 0x22 today, beginning the downward slide to 0x28, and then death. ;) Seriously, it's an interesting birthday because I'm definitely not a "young hotshot" any more. (It's possible I haven't been for 10 years, but I can dream, right?)
It's funny how these things happen. I didn't think I'd be a Computer Person. In high school I was into Theatre, doing a number of plays, a few as the lead or co-lead, and I'd always assumed I'd be on TV by now. Of course, Ryan Reynolds has my career, so I can't do much about that. Heh, maybe I'm still in theater and I don't realize it?
Anyway, before high school, my 5th grade teacher called a meeting with the superintendent and principal and said "if we don't challenge this kid, we're going to lose him." This is teacher-speak indicating that I was a bit of a rambunctious child, likely to be convicted at some point of a white-collar crime.
The idea they came up with changed my life. They agree to let me and my dad "steal" the school's computer (there was only one at the time) on Friday nights by backing my dad's truck up to the school, so I could use it over the weekend, as long as I got it back before Monday morning. Mind you we're talking about $2500 in the early 80s here, so this was a significant risk she was taking. That risk started me on the road I am today. If she hadn't taken that chance, who knows what would have happened?
I think about the chances that various people took with me over the years and the trust they placed in me, without which I wouldn't be here. I think of the people, like my parents, who love me unconditionally, and for that I am grateful.
I remember when I was 15, in a particularly nasty teenage phase when my father said to me "Son, I love you dearly, but I don't like you very much right now." What a powerful statement that is and nearly 20 years later I remember it. It's important to be able to make a statement like that, and it's a testament to one's love to be that honest.
I'm sure my parents wanted to throttle me (and still do) a number of times, but they stuck with me and my brother - their two boys, now men with families of our own.
And now, at 34, I have two boys of my own. These tiny men who put their trust in me and my wife to do the right thing, stick with them, and take some chances in order to give them the very best opportunities and propel them to heights we haven't dreamed of.
I think about my wife, and the ridiculous decision she made in marrying me. We had a date on July and were married that October. That's a three month-long courtship, talk about taking a chance. That was over 7 years ago. I hope she renews me for another seven! ;)
All these people have helped and continue to help me, and only now as a man of 34 am I mature enough to look down and realize that I've been standing on their shoulders all these years. For this, I thank you all. I will repay you all the best I can by paying it forward.
If you have a blog, Dear Reader, why not take a moment at the beginning of this new year to write a post about the people that helped you get where you are? Parents? Teachers? First bosses? Friend? Spouse? Whose shoulders are you standing on?
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