EbonyGentleman has the floor.]
When AverageBro asked me to contribute to AverageNation Week, I wanted to write about how people can improve themselves. This post gets into Oprah Winfrey/Barbara Walters territory because it's about my own life. Less than six months from now, I'll hit the dreaded milestone of thirty years of age. I often find myself in a reflective mood of how my life has turned out.
My Mom often tells the story about how I started trying to read at two years old, by picking up a newspaper like my Dad would. My quest for knowledge continued into elementary school, where I was one of the top students in my class. Since I was an advanced reader, my kindergarten teachers would let me read in front of fifth and sixth grade classes. I became part of a class called "A.G.", Academically Gifted. In my last year of elementary school, I was at the top of my class, received the Principal's Award, and a Presidential Academic Award signed by George Bush.
I had a mind for science and history, and was constantly reading books. When I wasn't out playing with my cousins during the Summer, I spent a lot of time watching PBS. I had aspirations to join NASA and become an astronaut.
Things were looking up.
Then Jr. High hit.
After constantly being singled out as a "smart guy" from my early teachers and my family, I was shell shocked to find that there were more kids like me in Jr. High. Some were even smarter than I was. Being the perfectionist, I couldn't handle this reality. My confidence fell, and my grades dropped. Inadequacy was my new identity. Inevitably, my parents and I started getting into arguments about my grades.
Further complicating the problem was my newfound interest in girls. They were blossoming, and it caught my full attention. This drama continued into high school, and I barely graduated. My greatest shame today is hearing my father talk about how his co-workers were happy that their kids were graduating, and he didn't know if I would.
I went to college but I didn't finish. I live with that failure in my mind every day. At my retail job, I'm reminded of falling short of my childhood dreams every time I deal with a difficult customer. When I look in the mirror, I see what could have been. Even when reading this blog, I compare my life to what some of you have presented as success in your lives. I do envy a lot of you, though one thing is true:
I blame no one but MYSELF for how my life has turned out.
But there are some bright spots. I'm married to my soulmate, and for the near three years of the deal, she's been so supportive of every one of my endeavors. Up until 2006, I was an Assistant Manager at my job, until stress and sickness took me out of it. My mother, father and sisters still consider me as the life of the family. In December of last year, I was ordained a Deacon in my local church (SURPRISE!). I have friends and co-workers that love and care about me, and virtual acquaintances here on this blog that want me around. In spite of falling short of my dreams so far, hope still dwells in my heart.
I'm about to be thirty, and the light bulb has come back on. I'm going back to school. It's time to slay this dragon once and for all.
Questions: What is the greatest regret (if any) that you have in your lives? If you could change any decision in your past, what would it be? What are you currently working on to improve your personal lives and career? What did you want to be when you were a kid?