“Be better every day.”
That’s what I tell myself. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions or picking up a new habit that will start next week. Every night, I make a point to tell myself to be better tomorrow- almost like hitting a reset button. I do this because I have learned to push myself.
You never said to be anything.
You never told me to do my homework. There was one year when the first day of school surprised us and you forgot we had our Summer Reading Logs due. You had us bring you any book we could find around the house. Ryan and I ran throughout the house, searched for books in our reading level, and brought our findings to the towering pile before you as you wrote in the titles.
You forged our Summer Reading Logs.
You never told me to join any sports or pick up any kind of athletic habit. I signed up for dance class because my best friend Brianna was enrolled. You would drop us off in a hurry so you could avoid being flagged down from the front desk. Before I could walk in the studio, I was pulled aside. Then I would have to try to explain why your check didn’t go through or why a payment was late. It was a surprise that I made it to the recital, but it wasn’t a surprise you weren’t in the audience.
I never could get my tap shoes to make the tap sound anyway.
In middle school, I began taking an interest in academics and I began to push myself to be better. I enrolled in honors classes in the beginning of high school. By my senior year, I signed up for AP U.S. Government and Politics and AP Psychology. There was the option of taking an exam at the end of the year, which was what everyone in my classes were working toward. If you scored at a certain level, you were granted college credit for the course. I opted out of the exams because I couldn’t justify the cost.
I figured college application costs alone were enough of an ask.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, you never pushed me to be anything. The truth is if you had known me before, you certainly don’t know me anymore. Over the years, you created an empty space that I learned to fill with life.
I graduated college. I started a career. I bought a car. I adopted two cats. I traveled the country. I joined a gym. I began volunteering. I donate blood regularly. I laugh a lot.
Most importantly: I surrounded myself with people who I love and love me back.