Some of the most meaningful things I've experienced in life have grown out of soil tilled with an investment of honest-to-goodness blood, sweat, and tears. Our society is selling a version of happiness that relies on an easy and pain-free road. Don’t buy in.
Fight for BETTER, even if the road to get there seems to be paved with impossibility.
I met this man in college, in architecture school, who exuded an unconscious tenacity towards everything he set out to do. This man, his coke-bottle glasses, and his 'my priorities are elsewhere' appearance was always ‘doing,’ always on call. He was the 'go-to' guy. He stayed up late helping his classmates cram for exams, build models, and troubleshoot the routine computer apocalypse.
With external factors interfering with his student loan security, he registered for classes anyway and came back for another year; in effect, homeless. To pay tuition, he took various jobs and paid as he went. Surrounded by a studio culture where students sleep under their desks and practically never leave, he assimilated effortlessly.
I voluntarily 'lived' in studio as well, and by the nature of our paths crossing, we spent a lot of time together. I shared my aching desire to build and he for the same. I imagined myself working with him out of college. Standing in the middle of the road during a blizzard one day, he asked me out… but I managed a version of the kindest ‘no’ I could find. He shrugged knowingly. He and I were almost best friends. It was hardly worth the jeopardy. Eager to help him meet someone, however, I took it upon myself to get him new glasses…
I believed in him. He came up to me after that life-alteringly pivotal moment, where the University's Department of Architecture gets to decide if you've got what it takes to be an architect (via admittance into the professional track). He didn’t get in. I assured him, with all the hope and faith in me, that he’d find another way. At that juncture, this man was homeless, meal-plan less, and working 3-4 jobs to make tuition. His journey had been a scattered obstacle course towards credits and survival. Victoriously, he graduated college, a 1st for his family, with a pre-professional degree in architecture.
Don't lose your Focus
by lamenting the 'Greener Grass' which surrounds you...
That still-life that portrayes and curates an impossible fantasy...
Cropping out all the hardship and heartache...
He went on to get married and ended up buying and renovating an abandoned house near his college campus to finally have a roof and bed to call his own. His wife pushed him towards submitting to the internship program for architects (IDP), although his chances for licensure appeared illusionary. He managed to obtain authorization to sit for the architect exam (outside of his home state) and beat the Architect Registration Exam (ARE) in around 6 months while working full-time (with kids)... and passed them all on the first try. He navigated the ever-changing landscape of requirements and secured his 1st license. He excelled in the field, project-managed like a ninja, and yet still carried himself as an underdog, although licensed.
Full credential was the final frontier, which is, to obtain an NAAB accredited degree. He applied to and excelled at the graduate level, achieving academic excellence, and with his gaze fixed on prize, secured his Masters of Architecture (an accredited professional degree in architecture). This man never shied away from ‘difficult.’ He leveraged his own immediate happiness to secure a future for himself and for his family, all the while, keeping a firm afloat - during the worst recession since the great depression.
If you can’t tell by now… I have a crush on this man. Luckily for me, I also happen to be the woman he married. Happy Father’s day, to the world’s Manliest hardest-working man I’ve ever met!
Let's now enjoy building that life and those dreams we mulled over while drinking unlimited refills of iced tea... before we were an 'us.'
To Shawn, my Mr. Man,
Thank you, for holding out for the best... and
Congrats on achieving that hard-earned alphabet soup after your name!
Happy Father's Day!
On the Road to Success,
failure is a side-effect of tenacity. Don't fear failure,
fear having never tried at all.
fight for the impossible;
Since the road to your Best
is likely paved with Impossibility...
Take THAT road anyway.