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Up until this point, I was pretty convinced that I had become a strong individual. I could easily admit that I had lived though many challenges and obstacles in which I felt most individuals would not experience in life. I had a sense of pride, along with a sense of accomplishment and yet a desire for more. I would argue the roughest and toughest down with no hesitation...
This past year took me back to reality. Somewhere in which I felt I already lived, but was too blind to see I slowly had left. Years prior, I never understood the feeling of eagerness to see a certain year end and a new year begin. For me, years came and passed. Celebration and excitement for the the new year consisted of being among those you love and patiently waiting for the countdown....
Last year was number 41. A number I recognized as my lucky number, my special number, most of all; my favorite number. That number 41 appeared many times in my life as a sign of new beginnings. I chose it proudly whenever I could and as you could imagine, I was going into 41 with a sense of excitement...
Last year, I realized for the first time what strong really was. I realized that challenges and obstacles did not define my strength. I realized that no matter how much I had been through already in life, I had not been through it all. I had not been through the toughest, nor was I strong enough to be ready for the newest. I realized that luck is not a number, not a mindset or even a reality. I realized how sometimes being weak is the only way to build strength. And that even at my best, the worst can tear you down.
2017 was a year of education for me. A reality check and maybe even a knockdown. It was a year that invited me to understand why some see the end of the calendar as a countdown for a new beginning. Those final days haunted me until the very last hours and drained me.
There was no big celebration this year, and no gathering with loved ones. Instead, I lay thinking of what 41 carried me through. I listened to the sounds of distant fireworks and gun shots in the night. I recalled where I was for many of the years prior and I reflected on the reality that many of those places and people are meaningless to my years ahead. But most importantly, I thought silently to myself. I reminded myself how each day is not promised and that reflected on days I will never see again. People I will never see again and most importantly, feelings I will never forget.
Being strong is not measured by accomplishments, challenges, nor achievements. It takes a strong individual to cry and breakdown sometimes. And an even stronger individual to stand back up, dry the tears and take on the next day.