What motivates you?

Disclaimer: this is not the usual technical post. Close your shell or editor. Time to get a little human.

All of us have things in life that drives us. Something that gets us out of bed in the morning. That motivation to do what we do, and do it to the best we can. I have a few of these including my wife, kids, myself, but I wanted to talk about the first of them, my Mother.

I was a “Momma’s” boy as a child. I always wanted my Mother around as much as possible. She was my safety net, which is the same for many children. I believe I was a fairly good child by most criteria, although far from perfect. The one area where I was severely lacking was in school. All through grade school, I had no real interest in learning or trying to obtain good grades. I just never really saw the benefit. I enjoyed school for socializing and maybe a few classes, but for the most part it was a hindrance.

I remember vividly one occasion after school my freshmen year in high school. I was in my room when she came in and shouted and cried because I was failing three classes. It made me feel terrible and it upset her so much. From there I put in the minimal amount of effort to pass those classes. Still rebelling against the idea of doing well in school.

It is sad to say, but I barely graduated high school on-time. I graduated with the exact minimum number of credits, barely skating by. This was due partly because my Mother put pressure on teachers and administrators to pass me when in most other circumstances I would not have. That is embarrassing to say, but it is the truth. She was an unbelievably good debater. A public school system stood no chance. She always pushed me to do better in school, but I rarely listened. Only when it was between staying back a grade or not.

I am sure this put a tremendous amount of stress on her, and I regret the hell out of that. God knows how many nights likely she laid and thought why her son wouldn’t just put in a bit more effort so that she would not have to worry constantly about where he would eventually end up.

With all of this said, we still had a very close and loving relationship. She was a wonderful human being, loved by all that new her. Even as a child of hers, I idolized her. I would always tell people that was a perfect Mother. The fact is though, I failed her when it comes to education. I could have done more.

Now that I have given you some background, you can understand how distraught I was when at the age of 23, I lost my Mother to cancer. At only fifty-two years old, she was taken away from us far too soon. When she passed, I had honestly not amounted to much in terms of a career. I was working a dead-end job at a mailing company. I had gone to a tech school after high school for a year to be a audio recording engineer, but not much had come of it. I was going nowhere.

It took a few years, in 2007, I was given an opportunity to enter the IT field, as a computer tech. I knew nothing about computers when I took the position, it was given out of dumb luck to be honest. I just happened to have a friend in the department and that was my “in”. Having worked for a few months there, I quickly realized that 1. I liked the field and 2. I could make decent income in it. I knew this was my calling.

That year I returned to college online in attempt to obtain a Bachelors degree. Working full-time, going to school full-time. I threw myself into this as if my life depended on it. I studied hard. I received good grades. I worked hard too. I enjoyed trying to make something of myself.

In 2010, I received my BS degree in IT. A year later, took a better paying job as a systems admin. A year after that, I took an even better paying job, which is where I currently work now. During these last two jobs, I went back to school to get a Masters degree in Information Systems, which I finalized in 2015. This was my greatest academic achievement, and I dedicated it to her because without her, I would not have been able to do it, or maybe even wanted to.

In 2017, I started my “community” career. Freelance writing, helping others and public speaking. It has been something that I had wanted to do for a few years, but finally with the help of others in the community was able to start.

All of these accomplishments and experiences can be traced back to one person, my Mother. The person who thought higher of me even when I was not at my best in terms of educational achievement. She always drove me to do better, but was never able to watch me rise up. Deep down many of these accomplishments have been driven by this need to make the sacrifices she gave, the love she gave and her death mean more. She would have loved me and been proud of whatever I did, but accomplishing these goals feels a little better because she would have enjoyed experiencing them with me tremendously. It is my way of attempting to provide her with some validation that all of the crap she dealt with, was worth it in some way.

 

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