What Makes You Proud

Life is a series of questions and answers. And I was recently asked what in both my personal and private life makes me proud. It took a moment to come up with the answers but I would have to say…

In my professional life, I would say I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to sustain myself by writing for over 10 years. In 2008 I was hired to be a senior editor and writer, which was both an amazing and horrible experience. It was amazing because I finally, after searching for several years, knew that there was no going back and this is what I wanted to do. And I called all my friends and told them that I was a writer! And they all laughed and said that t hey already knew that, what took me so long to figure it out?

But the company that hired me had very nefarious business practices, and my immediate manager was horrible and hated that I was so talented and could write circles around her favorites. She made mu time there miserable. But I still left that company extremely grateful for the opportunity given to me to write, for the first time, professionally. And even with a horrible boss, I still learned so much that would carry me and motivate me not only to continue writing full time, but to have the confidence to strike out on my own. And from there I made a name for myself writing and working with contracting agencies and small companies. And slowly I built a formattable reputation and could always find work writing in some capacity. For over 12 years now. While there have been some hard spots, and a few bad projects, over all it has been a wonderful experience and I am extremely grateful for all the opportunities I’ve had, given to me by those who believed in my talent and abilities.

In my private life there are two accomplishments for which I am proud. The first is putting my oldest nephew through college. I promised him that if he went to school in Atlanta, I would make sure he had everything he needed. And he did. This was also during the time that I first struck out doing contract work, so things were tight. That is when I learned the expression “motivation by obligation.” But it was a joyful obligation, as there is something so meaningful in investing in a young person’s future. I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he could set the world on fire if he was given the chance. And no matter what happens in life and career, you always have your education. No one can take that away. He had a natural gift, and his school gave him the platform on which to build.

And I loved hearing about his classes and experiences. I loved hearing about his adventures with his friends, and getting calls that he was craving Waffle House…would I mind taking him? Of course not. It was a joy.

The second thing that makes me most proud is that I was able to take care of my Dad after Mom died. They lived in a wonderful but remote area, so I moved him in with me. He had end stage liver cancer, and he was getting treated at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, so it just made sense since I was not far from his doctors. That 7.5 months was difficult, as anyone who has been a care giver knows. But it was also such a gift. I had those months to spend with my Dad, to talk with him, laugh with him, get to know him better. To help and support him the way that he and Mom loved and supported me when I was younger. They were the best parents in the entire world, and to know that I did something to maybe pay them back just a fraction of what they gave me, makes me smile. And I know that I did right by them, my parents. And that brings me peace. It was hard, but it was beyond worth it.

These things that make me proud, they define who I am. I believe in hard work, but I also believe in taking care of those you love. I believe in believing in others. And I know that when you strive to accomplish tasks with love in mind, there is nothing that you can’t do. And I also know that now that I have taken care of others, it is time for me to invest in my own life, my own tasks, my own dreams. And that makes me proud as well.

Life is short. So live life in a way that you can be proud. Yes we all make mistakes, have missteps, and even fail. And that is OK, be proud of those failure too (that is another blog topic). I’ve made huge mistakes in my life, but I always did the best I could at any given time. So even when you fail, strive to learn and be better. Because if you can do that, then you can always hold your head high.