Growing up, I always assumed my mother had a college degree. She managed to have a career, run a side business and raise us on her own. She was so adamant about us getting an education that it never occurred to me that she hadn’t finished school herself. It wasn’t until my sister and I finished school that she was able to fulfill her dream of obtaining her degree. She did herself one better and obtained a master’s degree one year later!

It’s that type of dedication that has stayed in the back of my mind every time I think of succumbing to a setback or postponing another goal. I didn’t have the straightest path to a degree (I dropped out of college twice), but the sense of having “unfinished business” to handle was the fuel I needed to accomplish my goal.

I recently decided that I wanted more. Obtaining a position at my dream job isn’t enough. More Money.  More Time. More family trips. More everything. I never went without, but I was fully aware that we were “have nots”. As an adult, I want more than just enough. I want a life that doesn’t revolve around paying bills and squeezing out a day or two of vacation that I’m too tired to enjoy.

These thoughts keep me going (and awake at night) while I carve out my next plan for financial and familial fortitude. We don’t have babies anymore. Every move we make leaves an impression on our kids. When I slack on my work, it opens the door for them to feel they can do the same in school. If I’m up late working on a project long after they went to sleep, they know I take myself and my work seriously. This time next year, two of us will (hopefully) be walking across two stages of our own!

We can’t control everything that happens to us, but the light at the end of the tunnel is worth the journey. For some of us, it’s starting a business. For others, it’s raising a family. For a lot of us, it’s getting an education.

At the end of the day you have three options: Give up, give in, or give it all you got!