Stepping Stones

Graduation season is upon us. For many this time of year only means being graduationinconvenienced by ceremony traffic or the need to send a gift. I compose my thoughts today for the graduate that may stumble onto this site.

A retrospective glance of my academic career brings three regrets quickly to mind. The first is not exploiting my potential academically. I cheated myself out of so many opportunities by never cracking a book. Second, not realizing I possessed the ability to make anything happen I decided until later in life. Third, how precious time is.

High school or college, challenge yourself to do your best in your studies. I did not and found myself hustling to catch up after college working a job light years away from my passion. While I was financially successful money holds no value if you dread Monday mornings. Excelling academically opens many doors allowing one to choose. While my natural ability to catch a fish from a puddle did not have a degree I have no doubt challenging myself in my studies I would have followed my dreams sooner and majored in something more useful than history and political science. School rarely captured my interest more than fishing, hunting or making an ass of myself, but that is an excuse and everyone can manufacture a pathetic excuse. Challenge yourself to discover your limitations then shatter the ceiling establishing new boundaries.

The only attributes I have going for me is a rock hard head and most of the time an endless supply of determination. As a child before life had an opportunity to jade I made a decision and things happened. I had a lawn mower repair business at ten that I ran until Coach Nichols thought I was lying when I charged him.$0.35 for a needle valve and had his mower running like new. In junior high I was supplying several Atlanta restaurants with Jumbo Wisconsin Quail I raised in our postage stamp backyard. Unfortunately, I did not understand or appreciate the power of decision until faced with the death sentence of ALS. If you have a dream decide and make it a reality. Now is time to follow your dreams when you are not burdened with family responsibilities and financial obligations. This is your “me” time not later in life when others are depending on you.

It is refreshing to look back at my able days and know I never took time for granted. My father told an occupational therapist early in my diagnosis, “David isn’t sick, he’s worn out! He has lived two lifetimes in 26 years.’ That I cannot argue, but I did not appreciate how short a lifetime is. It passes as quickly as the air is unpleasant from a gnat’s fart. Carpe diem! There is no time like the present to saddle up and get moving. I would hate myself looking back realizing I wasted my “me” years partying, playing video games hours a day or allergic to taking on responsibilities because of laziness. Seize this golden opportunity to be all you can be. The stars are the limit! I congratulate all graduates including my son Gavin! Have a great day! dj

2 comments on “Stepping Stones
  1. Michael Teasley says:

    My 16 year old will be reading these wise words when she returns home from school today! Thanks, David!

  2. sue says:

    Very well said, David, but there are two things I would like to add…

    The first is to learn early to overcome fear. It took me a long time, but I learned. Most people are afraid of failure. Don’t let that one get in your way. Henry Ford said, “The man who thinks he can and the man who thinks he can’t, are both right.”. You can never let fear stop you from trying something or you won’t ever try. Even if you fail, so what? You just have to try something different or attack from another path. You can aim for the stars and find yourself on the moon…is that really so bad?

    The second point is to be flexible. Your dream may change as you get older or it might not work out due to things you cannot control. If that happens be ready to change your dream. Reinvent yourself happily and often. You might just find that the original dream wasn’t really what you wanted after all and the new “you” is the better person.

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