Every year on the last Thursday of November, Americans cook large dinners and round up family for an evening filled with gratitude and love. Sometimes, we go around the table asked to speak on something/someone we are thankful for. Trying to reflect on our journey – recent or distant. In the spirit of this American holiday, I decided to reflect on my journey to this point.
Around this time, five years ago to be exact – November 2010.
At this point, I’ve been out of college for almost a year, I played my last football game in March, I just got myself kicked out of my mom’s basement and I was about 2 months behind on my car payments ( my phone may or may not be turned on). I’m currently living with my Grandma, working at Thomas Pink which was at Tyson’s Galleria, about a 40 minute drive from my Grandma’s. This is after working as a door-to-door salesman for 3 months, in which I sold Washington Nationals’ tickets. I wore a pair of Cole Haan loafers that I walked in so much that I put a hole in the sole. I had to wear a plastic bag under my sock just in case it rained that day. And this is when the Nationals sucked!
At this point, I was supposed to be in my rookie year for an NFL team, or at least working a job making $55k with my “prestigious” Penn State degree. Instead, I’m wallowing in mediocrity. Forcing myself to forget about my first love (football).
However, looking back at that time (from June 2010-January 2011) – which I consider the most challenging period of my adult life- I realized one thing; I never stopped aiming for something better. I never lost my optimism. I may have been naive, but I only lacked information. I may have chose to do door-to-door sales that summer, but only because I wanted the freedom of making my own hours with no ceiling on income, and I didn’t want to end up hating my job like so many others in my hometown. I chose to go into retail and try to become a manager because I had a love for fashion. I was shooting for the moon, and I landed on the star that is modeling.
That period molded me. Reflecting on it makes me appreciate where I am, even though more often than not, I’m not satisfied. I’m still as hungry as that 23 year old kid who had to choose between a haircut and food. Reflect on your journey this Thanksgiving. Be thankful not only for that baked mac and cheese, or getting to see family, but be thankful that your fight isn’t over.