Since moving back to New Jersey I’ve been afforded the opportunity to be closer to my family than I’ve been in over 10 years. That being said, I have no problem saying that I pick favorites. My favorite person in my family is–without a doubt–my grandfather. Though we don’t alway see eye to eye, generally we’re on the same page more often than not.
My grandfather has worn a lot of hats professionally: journalist, author, actor, sports commentator, radio personality, and teacher…personally he’s a father, husband, trustee, mentor–the list really goes on and on. I’ve been blessed to always have him on my side no matter what the situation was, if I need financial assistance, academic advice, or just someone to cry to, I knew who to call.
He recently told me a story from my childhood where I rushed into his room. I was worried, frantic, asking him if he was picking me up from school that day. I have no idea why I was so worried, but he reassured me that he would be there and I calmed down instantly. I knew then what I still know now, that I can always count on him.
When I was preparing for my final stretch in my career as a college student, I had a mini-breakdown over where my life was going. I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to get a job in my industry and I was considering just about anything so that I could have money in my pocket. I had already voiced my concerns to my parents and had plenty of talks with my classmates, because we all had the same fears. I could only think of one person to call to ease my uncertainty and it was my grandfather.
I was already coming up with a plan of action for graduation and I still had a months to go. I made plans to go back into retail and work as a manager to put money in my pocket and was already coming up with all sorts of alternatives for if my dream job didn’t happen. His words of advice came as a surprise to me, “Ashley, this is not the time to be practical.” I prided myself on trying to be as rational as possible when I thought about my future. When I was younger, I wanted to be a singer, but by the time I hit my early teens, I’d already said a career in the music business was an irrational train of thought. “It’s an industry driven by preferences that are always changing and I don’t want to have to conform to what people want to have a successful career,”–yes, I was one of those kids.
He continued to tell me that I didn’t have any reason to stress and that when it comes down to it, choosing to go with a backup plan for fear of not getting a chance or possibly failing when given a chance, was losing. “You weren’t raised to be a quitter Ashley. If you want to do retail and you want to do management, then by all means do so–but if this your idea to run away from your fear of failure, you’ll just end up more upset at yourself in the end.”
Lesson: Always follow your dreams because even if they don’t end up going as planned, at least you can say you tried.
Stay tuned for more lessons from my grandfather, he’s got plenty of knowledge for all of us. ;)