It seems foolish of me – borderline selfish – to have spent over $3,000 in the last year to finish my college education when we had other pressing medical financial issues to deal with. Now that it’s done, I don’t regret it because I can see the rewards for all of that hard work “paying off” now and I can count those feelings that we should have gone about things differently as inconsequential.
There is a power in undivided attention to one task. Of course, I don’t just have one task since eating is still a full-time job and I can never stop being a husband, but at least I don’t have to decide whether to run my business or do school now.
Last year, business was doing great until late in the Fall semester when I was full-bore school. We were limping along, but I was determined to finish in May without having wasted the Spring semester tuition just to try to increase revenue – that would have been a double penalty in the end: paying tuition twice and dragging out the courses to graduate.
If I had a dollar for every time in the last 10 years that I wanted to give up on getting my college degree, I wouldn’t need to work. Conversely, if I had a dollar for every time I kicked myself for not finishing at any point after 2001, my descendants would never have to work. I am my own toughest critic. I can’t count on both hands and feet the number of evenings and late, late, late nights I was either working on homework or trying to get business done after being at school all day in the last 9 months. Those times were hard. “Is a degree worth this?” “How badly do I want this?”
There are winners and losers of every walk and health status, so these questions are not a CF thing. Piper Beatty has a law degree. Then there dudes with 30 piercings, goth makeup, and mom in tow – at adult clinic, probably to be sure he went. There are times that things at the moment can be so bad that you don’t know if taking the next step to get to the end goal is worth it. What’s one more aerosol when you take four? What’s one more class when you have 20 to go? What are 5 more FEV percentage points when you’re all the way down at 35%? Sandy is getting pretty frustrated now , thinking that her niece doesn’t remember her when she wasn’t always sick. I’ll see what I can do to help you all from my experiences.
Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.Make sure your goal is written down. Look at it often. If you lose track of the end goal, taking the steps will be impossible, no matter the task. Certainly some goals, such as paying your electric bill at the end of the month, doesn’t really need a written Post-It note, but others like “gross $10,000 this month” would be a good goal to write and place somewhere you’ll see it a lot. My notes should go in the refrigerator, toilet, or by my Megase. I have to take my own advice on this one – I skip this step a lot.
Take baby steps. Break down the entire process of reaching the goal into bite-size steps. Baby steps. Think about a bad day at work. You think about making it to lunch, then 2pm, then 3pm, and so on, with the goal for that day being to go home and take care of yourself. Everything in life can be broken down the same way; with both positive and negative situations.
Do it for yourself. You should value yourself enough to make reaching your goal worth it because you want it.
Do it for someone else. While this may seem like a complete contradiction to my last tip, it stands in both courts, depending on your self-worth. I have mentioned before that it was a hard punch to my emotional intelligence from Beautiful one night that made me turn the corner for my care. Sure, I’m getting healthy for me because it’s my body and living with a pair of healthier lungs is easier than sick lungs, but when you’re married… there’s more to your life than you. My decision to be healthy is not just a decision that affects me. My decision to transplant or not if/when the time comes is not just my decision. Don’t neglect your spouse if you’re lucky enough to have one. I have comments for single people who would be considering a transplant for another article another day… maybe tomorrow… check back to find out, you single people, you.
Go forth. Write your goal. Take baby steps, and do it for you or whomever truly comes before you.