“Another year to accomplish more.”
A new journal entry by Brian Bolding
Happy New Year! I know I’m about 2-3 weeks too late for that, but I sincerely hope that everyone reading this or giving me the time of day has an incredible 2023! I don’t believe in making ‘New Years Resolutions,’ but I do believe in setting goals for yourself that are do-able and manageable. In 2023, I hope to accomplish more than I ever thought I was capable of.
I was raised to achieve and keep achieving more. I was raised to never give up. They may beat you down and drag you out in the street but that won’t make us back down, in fact, that will make us fight stronger and stronger. In my family, we call that “Being a Bolding!” I was a bullied kid from junior high on into high school; bullying which nearly caused me to die on more than one occasion. Because of this, and because Dad was a Vietnam Vet who always felt like the black sheep (sound familiar?) I grew into a strong man. Because I had to.
The picture attached to this post was taken of me back in 2015. That was 8 years ago, before I lost my cousin, uncle, grandmother and Dad, before I lost my BFF Bobby and ex Alex to Covid. This was before almost 2 years of lock down (out of personal fear) amidst a global pandemic. That whole time… I continued to chug away at my college and homework, but age and the harshness of time caught up with me. I literally look 10 years older now, but I got here. I’m safe, and I’m being successful. Nearly 2 years ago, I also decided to do the YouTube thing with my Atari-centric content, which has led to meeting so many great folks and crawling out of my little bubble I’d put myself in. I’m so glad I reached out, and it has helped my heart tremendously. Listening and responding to Podcasts truly was the key there, and I pretty much owe Ferg from the Atari 2600 Game by Game Podcast credit for passing along a listeners’ message for me to meet up locally.
My Dad, while being a major thorn in my side for most of my life, ultimately became my hero and best friend, too. All that history of fighting and not talking aside, we made up in 2010 and never looked back. Dad was my biggest cheerleader, but he could also be my biggest source of self-doubt at times. My Dad was a barber who stood on his feet for over 40 years and owned a series of barber shops, the second being the most successful. Dad was an Entrepeneur, too. He sold things. Lots of things. Do you want a bag of chips and a soda? He charged for those at work out of his personal fridge. Interested in hairpieces? He eventually did those, too. My Mom even did nails in his second shop, Euless Unisex Hair Designs, and later, Mr. Thomas’ Hair Salon, in Euless, Texas. Dad taught us to strive for the top, and never give up, and keep on going. I mention this because while he and I had a rough time of it, we also realized we were too much alike, and that’s why we often fought. One of the major things I realized we had in common, something he had instilled in me, was this drive to keep striving for more and more in live and never to give up.
This year, I proudly graduate from graduate school with my Licensed Mental Health Counselor degree. It’s taken me literally since 1993 when I graduated high school to properly get here. But it wasn’t about the amount of time it took me, because I have some living to do. It’s about the journey and what I learned along the way. Had I not gone through my ‘journey’ of battling drugs and alcohol over 20 years ago, I wouldn’t have wanted to be a counselor at all. My previous major was Journalism, and I fell on that sword back in 1997 when I dropped out of West Texas A&M and decided to go home to get clean. That journey, my friends, is the most important aspect to any of this. I’ve had to struggle and eat Ramen on more nights than I could count. I’ve had to get two jobs and work my fingers to the bone. I’ve had to do what I never thought I was capable of, and do a bit more, to get to where I am today. I’m excited to graduate this June, but one huge thing will be missing… Dad, my biggest cheerleader, won’t be there. (Dad was always so excited for me to get back into college, seeing no one else in my family had graduated college completely. I pushed myself, took classes here and there while working a full-time job, and I still am, 8 years later.)
As many of you may know, my dad passed away in me and my sisters’ arms in July 2019. My Dad had been my biggest cheerleader of me going back to school back in 2014, nearly 17 years after dropping out, and 21 years after dropping out the first time back when I was 18 and attending a community college after high school graduation. I just wasn’t ready, I guess. I had a life to live, loves to have, hearts to break, jobs to tackle. I’m glad I waited when I did. I’m currently a 4.0 grad school student and on the Deans’ List. Dad passed away 3 months before I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in October 2019. It was hard to attend without him and to keep going on, but I did, and I’m so glad I did. During graduation, I felt my dad’s energy all around me… it was quite something. On the ride home from Arizona, I was seeing little signs of Dad all over the place. Thankfully, I have drawn upon that strength of his spirit being around me and this has propelled me forward, when I wanted to just throw in the towel and quit right then and there. Thankfully, I went on to grad school and here I am now, three years later. I’ve got 5 months left to go before I graduate, and I couldn’t be happier.
So, let’s make 2023 a great year to achieve more, to push the boundaries, to break the limits… to strive for the stars. Because the only person or thing stopping us is ourselves. And it’s never too late. Once we stop growing and learning, Dad used to say, we wither away, and truer words have never been spoken.
I love you, Dad, and thank you for the constant cheering on and love from beyond. I feel it every day. It’s powerful, and much needed. I love you always.
Let’s “grab 2023 by the balls” and GO FOR IT. As I said, I don’t believe in “New Year’s Resolutions,” because they almost always overshoot and fail, but if you make some small, tiny, manageable changes and commit to it, just as I did 13 years ago when I dropped 100 pounds after beginning to work out and focus on my diet, you can accomplish things you’d never thought possible. I got back into college, and I’m finally about to graduate in a few months after my internship. I can’t believe it, but in a way, I can, because I’ve done the hard work to get there. You just gotta commit yourself to it, and you’ll be amazed at what you accomplish.
This one is very inspiration, my friend. It’s wonderful to see you aglow in this post.
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Thank you my friend! Let’s have a fantastic year