If chicken soup is food for the soul, then personal memories are fuel for motivation.
I often daydream, and when I daydream, I think about the people in my life that aren’t here anymore.
I daydream about my father who died at 48, my beautiful grandmothers, my grandfather I knew until I was 11, and the other who seated me on his lap as he died of stomach cancer. He was 52; I was but a few months old. I feel a connection to him even though our lives were intertwined if only for the first few thousand breaths of my life and last few breaths of his.
And my great grandparents, whom I had the privilege of knowing during my very young life. Memories of my Pop Pop’s cigar smoke, and my Nana’s baked goods wafting through our house each holiday seems to provide a blanketed comfort to me even now, many years after their passing.
When I have my lowest moments or I think I simply can’t break through a problem or there is no light at the end of the tunnel, I think about them. All of them. I think about what they would do in my difficult situation. It pushes me and forces me out of my comfort zone. I know they never rested, so why should I?
My grandparents, depression era babies, were taught to save their money, to sacrifice for family and country, to take what was given to them and not ask for more, and to never complain. In a world where we expect so much and give so little, their example and legacy always manages to place a quick fire under my feet to take positive action and to alter my course. Most often than not it works and it reminds me that life is only hard if you choose to view it that way. They never did.
My father was a college vice-president and a local politician whose wit, intelligence and charm could, as they say, sell ice to the Eskimos, but it was the simple lessons he taught me in my brief 25 years with him that push me to not settle, to question ideas, to think about new approaches to life’s lesson and yet to always be polite, gracious and humble. As I think back over our many arguments and sometimes moments of debating unpleasantries, I realize now, he was challenging me, motivating me intellectually, emotionally and psychologically. It was as if he was saying to me, “Ann, someday when I’m gone, you will thank me.” I do. His voice resonates now and it’s energizing.
These people all had a stake in who I am and quietly from afar motivate me beyond my own perceived potential today.
I thank all of them. Because their bright, beautiful, smiling, wise, kind faces shine in my memories literally everyday and it’s those memories that keep me fulfilled.
I believe that memories are fuel for motivation and I’m eternally thankful for the least expensive and most cost effective energy this life has to offer.