A story from my childhood that taught me a hard lesson

I grew up learning most everything the hard way.

I probably am responsible for my mother’s high blood pressure in some way. I am sure the doctor said, “nobody in your family has hypertension, by any chance is your son Jay Ashman?”

It makes perfect sense to me.

As we get older, we realize the stupidity of youth.

Hell let’s go over some asinine mistakes I have made as a young idiot..

Well let’s not for the sake of my “net image” shall we.

I will; however, go into one lesson that I learned, and learned in a way that still rings with me to this day.

Hard work.

I had a job since I was 12, yes 12. I delivered papers for the Reading Eagle’s morning edition. Which means I had to get up before dawn, walk to the drop about 5 blocks away and hand deliver the morning paper door to door to those that subscribed.

I didn’t have parents that were going to hand me anything, they tried to instill in me a work ethic from a young age and judging by how hard I work now, they did a good job.

But it wasn’t always that simple.

I rebelled, I had jobs that I slacked at, stopped showing up to and got lazy.

One day my mom said, “enough” and forced me to make a decision.

That decision was to learn how to value hard work and keep a job or get the hell out of the house and fend for myself.

I was 18. Not too many 18 year old kids are ready to be on their own completely contrary to officially being an “adult”.

So I had a choice, and I took a wise one.

I got a job at a local sandwich shop for the summer, working close to 60 hours a week. This place was THE local quick stop to eat.

My job was simple and it was also hard. The boss was a massive asshole to work for. A drug user, a compulsive gambler and an anger issue towards customers and other employees. I saw him threaten a 16 year old kid, I saw him pull out a shotgun when the store next door got robbed and for some strange reason I never had to deal with his bullshit personally. He was just a bear to work for.

But I worked hard, I came in and prepped food. I stood on line at the crazy lunch hour never writing down an order but never messing up (well maybe a few times) and I learned, for once, the value of earning money.

I was bringing home decent cash for a kid. There were weeks when I brought home 600+ a week, for a sandwich shop.

He also had a generous side. I ended up staying there as I skipped the first year of college to get my shit together and around holiday time I got a nice bonus.

For a sandwich shop, mind you.

Too bad that job had to come to an end, not because it was a sandwich shop but because the owner’s drug issue finally got the best of a work environment where I had to walk away.

Within a year they were closed for good, his compulsive gambling and other habits cost him a lucrative business.

Damn shame because that place really made some goddamn good cheesesteaks.

I took a lesson that was forced on me and I still remember it well. Nobody is going to give you anything. You have to earn it.

You start a business, work your fucking ass off to make it work or fail.

Put your ego in check and realize that quick.

You want to get better in the gym, it takes hard ass work, it takes sweat and it takes sacrifice.

You want to succeed as a person, you have to look in the mirror and be honest with your own faults and work to change them.

That bullshit about people don’t change is just that, its bullshit. People change when they want to, people change when they finally face their own demons and go after them.

Some people never do, I am glad to say that I have in many ways. I am not the same man I was 5 years ago and I will keep improving.

It all started with that lesson I was forced to learn.

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