Who Inspires You?

12 08 2011

So what’s your source of motivation? Who inspires you to do better…to be all you can be? Whoever that person is, be sure that you remind them and thank them for being a great support. Don’t wait until it is too late.

For me, that moment has long passed. A few weeks back it was the fourth anniversary of the death of my uncle and in a few days it will be the seventh anniversary of my grandmother’s death. I miss them both very much.

When I was younger I always thought that my grandmother, Carmen Cardona, would live forever. I never prepared myself, in 21 years of life (at the time of her death), for life after abuela. So when the time came, in 2004, news of her impending death crushed me. Another cancer victim. Her two dying wishes were for me to quit smoking cigarettes and for me to get an education. I promised her I would. Within a year and a half I was tobacco free.

Then, in 2007, my uncle Juan Carlos suffered a freak accident and passed away a few days after having gastric bypass surgery done. He was the most charitable and selfless person I have ever known. He would give you the shirt off his back in a heartbeat. The best part about it was that he was such a large man that the shirt could fit four average sized humans easily. He was more charitable than he knew. 🙂

For most of my teenage and early adult life he urged me to go to college or a trade school. Tio Juan Carlos would always point out that in the near future anyone without at least a GED would be unemployable. During his last moments on life support I told him that I wouldn’t let him down. Whether he heard me or not I’ll never know.

Just two months after his death I was enrolled in college.

Today, these individuals are two of the biggest reasons why I strive to be the best person I can be. Of course my soon-to-be wife, Carin, and daughter, Kylani, are also major reasons. There are others…and they know who they are. I love them dearly. The difference is that Carin and Ky are alive. I can tell them how I feel and thank them for their support.

Unfortunately, for grandma and Tio Juan Carlos, their deaths were what motivated me to turn my life around. Although it hurts to not be able to share my success with them, I know that they would’ve been awfully proud of me.

I don’t know if they can see the man I’ve grown up to be, or the man I plan on becoming, but I want to thank them for believing in me. Had it not been for those promises that I made to these two individuals on their death beds, I probably would have been stuck in my past ways.

I know that photography (or any job in the arts) will never make me super rich. In fact, it may never pay off at all. However, the one life lesson that my grandmother and Tio Juan Carlos taught me was that the only thing, with any value, worth pursuing in life is happiness. If you aren’t happy in life, then it is imperative that you evaluate your existence and make the necessary changes.

I don’t know if my uncle and grandmother can read this, but thanks. Although I chose to earn a degree in a field that doesn’t pay very well, I chose to do what makes me happy…just like you guys taught me.

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