I was 20 years old when I became a father. I was finishing up my sophomore year at UNC when my then girlfriend told me the news. Abortion was never an option and neither was skipping out on my duties.
Neither of our parents were in a position to help us out financially. But I was on scholarship and everyone encouraged me to finish school. I got a part time job and my girlfriend dropped out and began working full time at a bank nearby. I felt like such a loser. She had dreams too. I promised her that as soon I graduated she would be able to go back.
Well, I graduated and was able to get a pretty decent job, but there was no way we could afford a baby, rent, full- time daycare, and a college tuition. She took a few online classes but we both knew a college degree was a long ways away.
A few years later I began to really hate my job. My company switched management and everything was different. My new boss was a tyrant. He would require us to work longer hours, made up impossible to achieve deadlines, and basically just treated us all like crap.
Everyday seemed more horrible than the last and I began to grow resentful. The only reason why I took that job in the first place was because I needed to make money fast. I needed a career that would provide for a family, not a job that I loved and was passionate about. I tried not to take my frustrations out on my family but I was so miserable and began to wonder what the point of any of this was.
The only bright spot was that I received a pretty large raise. The raise was big enough that my now wife could go back to school. I watched her get ready for her first day school. It was like watching a completely different woman. I knew she loved taking care of our daughter but she seemed so much happier that particular morning. She was singing as she got them both ready for the day and smiling ear to ear.
Over the next few weeks I began to feel happier too. I think I finally realized ‘the point of it all’. I loved being able to keep my promise to my wife. I loved that she was able to fulfill her dreams. I loved that I was able to provide for my family.
I didn’t love my job but I loved what it meant. I chose to focus on the good. To focus on all of the gifts and benefits that job gave me. I truly believe now that happy people choose to be happy.