self-improvement,  Success

You Can’t Change Your Past

Every so often I encounter someone who shares with me their belief that they cannot be successful.

“I’d love to [insert dream here] but I can’t. My parents were abusive/poor/absent so I’ve got too much of a disadvantage.”

If it’s not some variation of that excuse, they claim that they got married or had kids too soon. Sometimes they’ve even spent time in jail or in mental health/rehab centers.

Many times they tell me that they’re too old to even try.

But you know what?

You can’t change your past but you can refuse to let it limit your future.

I was raised by alcoholics.

I helped my father in his bootlegging crimes.

I turned to alcohol after my father died and didn’t sober up until I discovered I was pregnant.

I had to carry two young children on a three mile journey to the grocery store whenever we needed food because my husband refused to help.

I was committed by that same husband after I made an escape attempt. He told them (among other things) that I’d attempted to kill one of my kids. I was so depressed after that I tried to kill myself.

But you know what? That’s the past.

I can’t change it.

Instead, I placed it behind me the best that I could and moved forward.

I escaped my marriage.

I built my writing business.

I became a stay-at-home single mother in order to raise my youngest child.

I now work to help others learn how to help themselves as I focus on the next step of my journey towards self-improvement.

Excuses are Easy

It would have been easy to throw up my hands and say “I can’t.”

It would have been easy to give in, spread my legs, and find a “good man” to take care of me. Heaven knows that enough of them have knocked on my door and hit on me over the years to establish that.

I could have said that due to the way I was raised that I didn’t have a chance; that I wasn’t raised to amount to anything.

I could have said that I was too scarred from my marriage to even get a job. My husband had me certified insane, after all.

I could have even said that I had my kids too soon and so all of my opportunities had passed.

Hell, I could say that I’m too old to go back to school now. I’m almost 50 so what’s the point?

Fighting is Hard

Every time you make a step forward, you win.

Every time you say “yes, this happened, but so what?” you win.

Every time you ignore the haters you win as well.

And every single time you prove the world wrong you really win.

Is it easy?

Nope.

But winning is worth the effort.

What part of your past do you want to move beyond? Please share your stories in the comments below.

6 Comments

  • Linda Sand

    I was expected not to succeed. Success was never meant to be part of my future. In spite of being smarter than average I was told I was too stupid to be successful. I’m glad I finally got past that message.

  • Melanie

    My story of success isn’t mine, but my mama’s. We had so little money growing up. One of my strongest childhood memories is from a time when I was about 5 years old and my brother lost a library book. I can still see my sitting on the sofa, crying because she had no idea how she would pay the $7.00 the library was charging her to replace it.

    My mother worked hard, but never made more than about $20,000 a year. I wore hand-me-downs (and to this day, I love thrifting) and we didn’t eat out very often, and we ate off-brand names at home, but we never went without what we needed to survive. She had a passbook savings account and she would put $5.00 a month in — more if she could, but there were months when that was all she could afford.

    Like you, she learned to invest. She was about your age when she began; I was in college at that time.

    When my mother passed away at 74, she had over $100,000.00 in the bank, and the mortgage on her little house was paid off.

    With singularity of purpose, we are capable of achieving amazing things.

    Melanie

    • Annie

      What an amazing story, Melanie! Your mother sounds like an amazing woman.

      I can only hope to be half as successful as her.

      Thank you so much for sharing!

  • Carolina

    Dear Annie,

    Your doubts and fears are very understandable. Your past SUCKS.
    But *blieb* that. You’ve accomplished so much already, and you’re really going places.
    You’re an inspiration to me and many others, and I wish you all the best. Don’t forget to enjoy your college classes!!!!
    Love,
    Carolina

    • Annie

      Bwahahaha! Thanks, Carolina. I needed this today. The demons are being rather annoying I’m afraid. Thank you for the vote of encouragement.