While you may not always have control of the situation that you’re in, you always have the ability to make a choice of how you will deal with that situation. You should not let people determine how you will live your life. You decide how you want to live your life.
Going through my childhood living below the poverty line was filled with soup kitchens, mixing dried milk with water and being on welfare. As I have mentioned before, as I have grown in my career I have made the decision to continually increase what we donate to Feeding America to ensure that those who are in a similar position as I was can at least have a good meal.
While I couldn’t control the situation that I was in, I can help others who find themselves in a similar one.
While I was growing up I was surrounded by gangs, drugs, and violence. I have witnessed things or known people that committed crimes that movies could be made of. Instead of taking that path, I focused on my grades and avoided all of it as best as I could.
I couldn’t control where I grew up, but I could control where I focused my attention, who I hung out with and what neighborhoods I went to.
When I found my mom dead I could have easily dropped out of high school and fell down a destructive path. However, I decided to use her death to fuel me through college, accomplishing more in my time than many others around me between my studies, community involvement, and work.
After breaking my shoulders I was on every pain medication imaginable. We needed a schedule and alarms to know what the next meds were and what time they were needed. An entire corner of my kitchen counter was filled with bottles. I had to have medications that countered the effects of others and then medications to counter the effects of those.
I was scared of becoming addicted to the medications so, against my doctors advice and even worrying my grandmother, I started pulling myself off of the medications one by one. What I told everyone was that if I felt pain the next day, I would start taking them again. I woke up with sweat pooling under me because my body was already addicted. After I took myself off of the medications I was fine. I may have needed a couple of the meds here and there but not on the schedule that I was on.
Knowing my fear of becoming addicted I consciously made the choice to trust my body and pull myself off of the medications.
As I laid in the hospital and as soon as I came home I became concerned with gaining weight since I was completely bedridden. At that point I couldn’t keep the weight on me no matter how much I ate because of the trauma my body was going through but I was still concerned. I didn’t want to be that stereotypical story of someone who had a serious injury, was bedridden and then years later saw themselves obese with no way out.
I immediately started running the stairs outside of my apartment and going for walks. Whether it was one flight or 5 steps, I would do it with being determined to taking a few extra steps the day after.
Even though at times I was in pain or would need to take a day off, I ensured that I started exercising, even though it wasn’t at the previous level that I was at and though I hadn’t been medically cleared to.
I could keep going through situations where I have made a different decision than the one I was told. I made individual choices and an overall choice that I wasn’t going to accept a lesser life just because someone else told me I would.
Being unstoppable is a choice. You get to make that choice on a daily basis.
Don’t let others tell you how you must live your life. As my close friend AJ is fond of saying, this is not your practice life