Many people have told me that the substance abuse issues with which I battled as a teenager and then emerged from stronger than ever made me who I am today. When I was 18 years old, a casual observer might have rightfully doubted if I would lived past the age of thirty. I was living a life rife with disrespect for self and others.
This all happened around the age of 18 and 19. Beginning at age 21 I embarked on a college career that took nine years to complete culminating in a Bachelor’s of Chemical Engineering from Villanova University. I worked 30-35 hours a week for a 250 person engineering firm concurrently to this so I had no life for that decade. Ten years following that, which included nine with a global professional services firm, I went back for an Executive MBA (also Villanova).
I share this because often I am told that rather than be ashamed of my past (I still battle with shame constantly) I should embrace the good that emerged from it. I have a strong sense of appreciation for things that many people (dare I say most) take for granted.
There is much in my memory bank that is associated with those dark days. Do I block them out of my mind? No! They were mistakes. And from them, I emerged a stronger person more capable to deal with what life throws at me than I otherwise would have been able to.
It ain’t all pretty but it’s me. Not proud of it all, still ashamed of much, but never to be forgotten.
This is my personal analogy to the removal of objects that remind us of our national past.
Have a Great Day!