We Have One Shot
I was able to connect the dots on something and while it helped me, putting it into a list will be clunky but here we go.
1. Unhappy childhood?
My oldest brother was just in town with his wife, visiting. I am sort of the youngest, we have a half sister who is younger than me. In between the oldest brother and me is another brother and then another sister. The middle brother and sister (if that makes sense) have concluded that they had unhappy childhoods because of our parents.
2. How about me?
The oldest brother said he does not think he had an unhappy childhood and wondered if I did. I told him I don't think of my childhood as unhappy but I was aware of my parents dysfunction from an early age and I said I was happy as a kid in spite of my parents.
3. Overcoming stuff
The negatives included my parents going broke, my dad having problems with alcohol, my dad moving out when I was in middle school, being embarrassed about my parents splitting up and having cancer in my junior year of high school.
I've never gotten along with my mother, not back then and not now in her 90's.
4. Still happy
I had friends, I was kind of popular (having friends and popularity are not necessarily the same thing), I played sports and was pretty good (pre-cancer), continued to play sports after cancer treatments and was a different kind of good basketball player, I worked so I had money in my pocket.
5. Great memories
Despite my father having his problems, he loved me, we spent a lot of time together and did a lot of stuff together.
6. Connecting dots
In college, I worked for a couple of years at the nearby Dean Witter office, cold calling in the evening. When I was about to graduate I started the process of trying to hire in there as a stock broker. I did poorly in the role play sales scenarios which made it unlikely that I would get the job. There was still an interview though so I had a chance. I missed on a question entirely in that interview. The branch manager, his name was Ross something, said something like "you've had it pretty easy" and while that was a golden opportunity to bring up the stuff in number 3 on this list, it didn't occur to me in real time to bring all that stuff up. He made assumptions based on my demeanor and possibly my appearance to draw that conclusion about me.
7. College was a great time
I had fun, we lived near the beach, I played a ton of beach volleyball, I had a great time socially, it was unambiguously a great time. I simply did not have playing the woe is me card in me.
I don't know where that resiliency to overcome some rough stuff as a kid came from or how I further evolved to not even think about leveraging sympathy for a job but that's where I was back then. Wherever it came from, I know where it didn't come from; my parents.
Maybe I figured this out on my own? A pivotal moment in my life was when I was told I had cancer. I asked the doctor if I was going to die and he said "you could, but I don't think you will." The immediate conclusion I drew from that was it's up to me to endure whatever was coming by staying positive and get through it.
41 years later, so I did get through it and while it sucked, that experience went a long way to making me the person I am today and why I would not trade that experience.
9. Prevent/solve your own problems
I talk about preventing or solving your own problems all the time. No one will care more about your outcomes than you. I don't have health issues but I do have a couple of issues from my medical history (slight difference there). I won't go into detail but I am overcoming some stuff to be able to pack test (annual physical requirement to be a wildland firefighter) at what is kind of an old age. I am a no-doubter for now with the pack test.
10. We have one shot
We are here for a finite time. We can either let our negatives crush us or thrive and be happy in spite of them.