I was born in Philadelphia, raised in the Coal Region of Pennsylvania and came into my own in a tough little city named Williamsport. All those places speak to resiliency, chips on shoulders and a stubbornness to keep getting up when the world knocks you down. The world has been kicking mine and its’ own ass this year. I keep trying to get back up. I keep trying to get back up. I. Keep. Trying.
I don’t know how to stay down. I don’t know how to quit. I don’t know how to give up. I’ve never known. I’ve never quit. I’ve never given up. I expect to succeed in some capacity. Every time.
I should quit this. I should. Fiscally irresponsible not to. Forget the money, I’m embarrassing myself. Health messing with the work schedule. Second thought don’t forget about the money. I haven’t been able to pay a print bill all year. Hell, if not for my wife, I wouldn’t be able to pay any bill. I’ve been treading water for a couple years. Maybe I’m too dumb to drown?
I should quit. I won’t. I’ve been quit on. The 400,000 plus kids I work for have been quit on. My heart, their hearts can fight on. No matter what the doctors say.
My health issues aside, I’m all heart. I’ve been down half my life. I got up every time.
I’m Rocky. I’m the piece of coal that becomes diamond when pressure is applied. I am success when success is in doubt. I am all these things and all the places and people who are all a part of me. But it’s tough, man.
I’ve been losing days to all that ails me. Sessions in front of the computer that should garner productive work is now a staring contest with my laptop screen. I’m learning to milk the streaks of clarity I get throughout the day. These end of year issues are ridiculously late. The end of this wretched year was the apex of my health issues. No matter what I tried, I couldn’t get a fix on handling these medications. Most days you could find me, mouth agape, staring in the direction of a television. It’s a difficult task; snapping out of the pill induced empty hours. This magazine depends on my ability to work at a feverish pace. I’m not doing that lately.
I could bail, who would blame me? That’s the ticket. I can just refund folks and ride off into the sunset. I’ll start a new life. One that isn’t in my office. I could stop doing useful work and deal with my medical stuff. I could just shrink away from the foster care world and take away a resource with me. That doesn’t sound like me at all.
No, I imagine I’ll take my lumps for these incredibly late issues. I’ll get into the new calendar year with a new determination to get back to the quality work I had been known for until recently.
I’ll get it figured out. I’ll get up and dust myself off like I have so many times before. I’ll lean on my upbringing and lessons of the past to maneuver my new reality. (FYI I took over Mr. Villasana’s column this month to explain my health issues. Mainly to explain why an issue might be late.)
Life is tough. Things don’t always work out. Somethings are out of our control. When this happens, it’s been my experience to put your head down and work three times harder than anyone else in the room. So, that’s what I’ll do. Enjoy this issue and the Year In Review to end the year most of us will want to forget.
Here’s to 2021!