Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Determination. It's a good quality to have. It's sets the unmotivated people apart from the motivated people. It allows one to look at a situation, no matter how complicated, and know they will overcome. It's about not backing down when a challenge arises. Determination gets you where you want to go even if it means taking small steps. I possess this quality. Maybe a little too much of it.

The Mliltary
It started in junior high with a dream of joining the military. I was determined to start a new life, my life. I didn't just want to join any branch of service though. I didn't want to be an airman (although that was my initial plan). I didn't want to be a sailor. I didn't want to be a soldier. I wanted to be a Marine.

I started speaking to the recruiters when I was 17. People questioned my decision. I was too skinny (don't I wish that was the case now). The Marines were too tough. I was joining because I wanted to be surrounded by boys and so on. I made my choice and when I was 18 and had graduated high school I started my journey as a Marine.

Now there really aren't that many women in the Marine's so why did I choose that branch of the service? My answer, because I was determined to do what few (male or female) would ever think to do. I was determined to show myself, despite what some others had said, that I could do it and I did it.

Single Mom
Single motherhood, that was the next big challenge I was determined to face head on. I never really thought I'd have kids so being a single mother definitely never crossed my mind. Having a child was not something I yearned for. I never pictured myself having a big princess wedding, getting married, or having kids. Those were not my dreams but dreams, plans, changes. I became a mom and subsequently a single mom all in a short period of time.

Single motherhood was tough. Especially tough when going through the initial shock of being separated or going through a divorce. Even tougher when you're very young and not yet established in life. And even more tough when you start over again with nothing. No job, no possessions, nothing.

I left my ex-husband on a whim. I didn't give myself time to think about it. If I had then I wouldn't have left. I needed to leave.  I left. This meant I was leaving my life behind, my apartment, my job, my furniture, my husband. What I didn't leave behind was my child. Instead I became a single mother. A single mother who was determined to establish a healthy and happy life for her child. I didn't want help. I didn't want pity. I wanted to just get through it. I received no aid. I received no child support. I asked no one for sympathy. In fact I was embarassed. I was 23, about to be divorced, and a single mom with no education aside from high school. All this against me yet I was determined to show myself I could overcome. I did.  I am now happily married, educated, and have a good job.

I got my associates degree as a single mother. I worked 40 hours a week to support myself and my child. I had my own apartment. I had my own car. I had my child. I had everything I needed all because I was determined.

College was never in my sights. It wasn't something I ever wanted to do. I was going to retire from the military at the age of 38 so why did I need to go to college? Well, life took me on a different route and I enrolled shortly after I got out of the Marines.

I knew that to get anywhere in the workforce an education was key. I didn't drop out of school when I left my ex-husband.  Oh no.  That would have been easy.  Sit around and wallow in my misery.  No, not me.  Instead I transferred to the local community college and trucked on. It was defnitely hard to work full time (night shift for a few months even), go to school full time, socialize, and have a toddler. I was even going to the gym a few days a week. I am sure I complained a little. I'm sure I was exhausted but I knew I had to do it. I set out to get a degree and I was determined to get one. After 2 1/2 years I had an associates degree.

Determination kicked in and a few years later I had a bachelor's degree. Next a master's but don't mention that in front of Andrew. He thinks I may never stop going to school. He may be right.


And the challenge that influenced me to write this, work.

After the military I had a series of low paying jobs, most of which I knew would lead me nowhere. I soon learned that not only did I need an education but I needed a lot experience as well. I eventually decided that I needed to stick to one field in order to move up in the world. Somehow I landed in accounting. Honestly, I hate math. How did I end up working with numbers? I learned that it's really not that hard as long as I have my trusty calculator and Excel spreadsheets.

My last job is what I credit for getting me to where I am now. That and determination. I knew within the first week at that job that I couldn't stay. I had hopes and dreams of growing out of that postion and moving forward and up. After a year I realized that wasn't to be. I was miserable. I hated the job. I had a deep dislike for some of the people who worked there. I didn't agree with some of the practices. I was going nowhere fast. Rather than look within the company to promote they hired from outside. I was in a dead end job. After that realization hit I knew what I had to do. I was determined to get my experience and get out. I did that and more.

For a long time I wanted to work in the department I now work in. I had been telling people for a long time that I will get in somehow. It's hard but I'll get my foot in the door. I didn't know what I would do within the department to start but I didn't care. I wanted in. Last year I got in. My determination overcame the obstacles (and there were some). Now that I'm in I've already set my eye on the next step. The step that I had planned to get to all this time. I am determined to get where I want to be. I know I will get there. Determination drives me. In the end I will make it happen.

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