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This week we have: Josh from Money Life Wax!
Josh and I have worked together in the past – namely when we squared off on what to do with a large inheritance. So when he offered to participate in this series, I knew he’d have some great stories and lessons to share with us. But I had no idea he’d take his post in the direction he did… The things I’ve learned about and from others in this series are immeasurable, and I can only hope that you readers are enjoying these posts as much as I am… Josh didn’t hold back here – so I’m going to let him get to it. Take it away, Josh!
Thanks for letting me share today in your Wins & Losses Series! To be quite honest, at first glance this seems like a pretty simple topic to write about… considering I am a blogger and what not.
Being the founder of a blog that focuses on Money & Life, this sort of topic should be right up my alley. That being said, I will admit talking about wins and losses, even as someone who often does, is still somewhat out of my comfort zone.
So with any article I post, I like to always say that I have two goals: add value and add perspective. My hope is that my wins or losses can then, in turn, help someone else. Additionally, I might like to add that pinpointing just two of each is actually pretty challenging. So thanks for stretching me, Mike!
Where should I start when it comes to describing some of the wins and losses in my life?
Part of me wants to talk about the professional accomplishments I have had or maybe the athletic victories from earlier on. But I will actually flip the script a little and talk about my losses, and how they eventually turned into victories…
In 2011, I got a call that would forever change my life
It was like most days until about 4:00 pm. That is when I got a call from my mom that forever changed my life. She called, crying, to tell me to come home that she had to tell me something. I can tell you that the 45-minute drive home that day from work was sheer agony. My mind was racing, but deep down I had a feeling…
When I got home I saw my brother on the porch, and I knew it was bad news. He proceeded to tell me that our mom, at the age of 50, was diagnosed with stage III Ovarian Cancer.
I was pissed, confused and upset
How could this happen to her? She gave up a lot to always care for us and be the nurturing mom, and even the nurturing father figure when needed. So losing her at age 25 was one of the hardest experiences I have ever had.
Over the course of the next 15 months, we would experience many highs, as well as many lows, as a family before she passed away – just shy of her 52nd birthday.
At the time I was 25, my brother Q was 23 and my youngest brother was just 13.
To this day, that has been my biggest loss
Without getting into a whole life tirade, my mom basically did everything and anything she could to make sure her boys would be OK in life. Fast forward just two short years later, and the hits just kept coming
I sometimes feel like life happens and when it rains it pours. It is why I want parents to let their kids learn how to fail early, so they can deal with life later. I went from never dealing with a death in the family to losing a mother, an aunt, and three grandparents in a 5-year timeframe.
And while death is part of life, it was actually not the death of a family member that might be my second loss, (all were huge losses) but something I have actually never shared.
How Addiction Can Hurt an Entire Family
Quite honestly, I don’t know what is worse- losing a family member of having a close family member deal with addiction. With the death of a family member, you see the hurt and pain, but the desire to get better. You can fight together and love harder.
With addiction – it is completely the opposite. Because what you see is nowhere close to what the user is going through.
I can tell your first hand their addiction can almost become your addiction if you are not careful. Not the actual use, but the consumption and loss of happiness. Like I previously stated, you want the person to get better so bad, that it can sometimes consume all your energy.
Some families are predisposed to certain problems – addiction, poverty, divorce… Breaking the proverbial cycle can be challenging. Without getting into all the details, helping with someone addicted to opiates isn’t easy. Your desire to help them is not always reciprocated.
You can see the path they are heading down and it is hard to let them go down it alone, but I have learned that sometimes you have to. And that by far is a hard loss for me. Letting go is just not as simple.
My 2 Big Wins
Well if that doesn’t perk you up I don’t know what will. Kidding aside, my wins actually stem from my losses. My mom’s death and the dealing of addiction with a close family member have actually each become wins for me.
But Self Improvement & Health are now my two biggest wins
Here is what I mean. Since my mom’s loss, I have become a better man. Nothing can fill the void of losing a parent. Especially a mother who was more than just your average mom.
I alluded to it earlier, but my mom did anything to make sure she always provided. Things were not always sunshine and rainbows, and she had to scrap to make ends meet at certain points. However, learning to do everything to the fullest and always get better has been a huge motivator for me since her death.
And her loss actually put me on a positive path. Gone were the days of living for the weekends and in were the days of helping others and becoming an overall better person.
It sucked losing my mom, but I had to make such a horrible loss into a win. I now find it as a source of motivation when needed
When I am tired, I do my best to tell myself to push through.
When I am tempted to be distracted, I find her death as a source of motivation.
When things are not going my way, I stay committed.
When I am not my best, I stay steady and improve.
When my wife and I see our friends living it up while we pay student loans, we keep pursuing.
Dealing with the loss of my mom has turned into my biggest win because personally, it was a wake-up call! Not a wake-up call from a bad life, but a wake-up call to go live a great life!
Health always wins
Sounds cliche, maybe a little redundant but I am grateful for my health and my wife’s health. While it is a priority for us to remain healthy, we also strive to be mentally healthy as well.
We also know that it is not always up to us. My wife works in the inpatient rehab setting so she sees the daily struggle of what some patients go through. Paired with my family losing members to cancer and seeing others struggle with forms of addiction, we are grateful for our health daily.
In a world where it is sometimes so easy to get wrapped up in things we can’t control, we know we are fortunate to have our health.
Sure the weddings, successful careers, and personal accomplishments are great. But they are the things we can’t control that sometimes become our biggest victories. All of which leads me to my final point as I wind down:
Whether they are wins or losses, we will all experience something that can be tallied in either column during our life. And while somethings like being financially sound and eating healthy are controllable, others are not.
So if you have your health, you have your parents, you have your siblings – or maybe you don’t – always be grateful for the things you do have… instead of what we don’t!
The thing that I take away from Josh’s stories is: perserverance. How easy would it have been for him to just roll over and take it? No. He chose to get up and fight. To move forward and try to make a positive impact on the world – and I respect the hell out of that. What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Thanks for reading!