« On choices and consequences

What keeps me going

I recently gave an example of why I think my parents did a good job of raising me. However, their impact on my life goes well beyond that. What I am today and where I am today is because of the sacrifices that they have made and for that I am forever thankful.

I grew up like any normal kid with obsession with cartoons, action figures (He-Man was pretty big back then in Nepal) and playing with the neighborhood kids. Despite having a modest income, my parents always made sure that me and my brother got what we wanted as long as it was reasonable. We weren't always reasonable so having that restriction taught us that when you can't have everything you want, you learn to focus on what you need - an important lesson that has helped me a lot throughout my life.

But you already knew they were smart so I will focus on the part about toughening it out. I was not necessarily a tough kid. A little scolding from my parents was enough to get me teary eyed. So when I came to the United States in 2002, I was clearly concerned how I will be able to handle the pressures of academics, making friends in a new environment, having to figure out how to manage finances and making enough money through on campus jobs to pay for my own education. For someone with a childhood shielded from most of the tougher realities of life, this was a pretty tall order.

When I look back though, there are two things that clearly have helped me in times when I most doubted my ability to make it through the immediate crisis I was faced with. The first thing that I remembered was what my dad had told me in the car about a week before I was scheduled to leave for the US. I still remember the moment clearly, his expression proud of what I had done up to that point but also aware of what challenges laid ahead me. "Son, the only kind of man worth being in this world in a self-made man."

Boom! I still feel the power and wisdom in those words and they continue to fill in me a sense of determination to face any kind of challenge ahead of me and see it through. They weren't empty words either because my dad was exactly that, a self-made man. Whatever we had growing up was a result of his hard work and my mom's amazing ability to manage the resources to the fullest but I will talk about them more in detail in separate posts in the future.

The second thing that keeps me going is a picture that we have of my parents in our living room. In this picture, they have a huge smile, the kind of smile that reflects that they are truly happy and content in that moment with each other and with the life that they have. I remember the first moment too when I noticed the picture and vowed to do everything in my power to make sure that I bring them the same kind of joy over and over again. It's like every son's dream, to make their parents proud and I think so far I would like to think that I have been able to give them at least one or two such moments.

So there you have it. Those are the two things that I always think of and they always manage to give me the energy, focus and determination to take on any kind of challenges. So even though I am far away physically from them, I can still feel their presence everyday around me, guiding me and encouraging me and that is what keeps me going.

Here is to you Mom and Dad!

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