She noticed my eyebags. My response was “occupational hazard.” She goes on to say, “I hope the sleepless nights pay off”.

Here’s my response in its entirety to that.

I really don’t think I’ll live long enough to see the things I’m working towards. My goals and ambitions are too big to be achieved in one lifetime. And no, I don’t mean that negatively, I don’t mean that with a lack of hope.

Because I’m doing everything within my power to realize those dreams. But I also know the entirety of my vision is something that is only realized and measured in generations.

Maybe I started off seeking more short-term goals, growing up as a university student, independent of my parents, all I wanted then was a little more than I already had. All I wanted was to have a little more money in my pocket, to be able to eat what I wanted, buy some more clothes, to be a little more capable than I was.

But somewhere along the line – I can’t put my finger on where exactly – the vision began to change. The goals and the ambition became bigger, and because I didn’t realize that change, it kept growing. It grew so well under my nose that by the time I caught on, it had already outgrown any ambitions I had even as a little kid with a wild imagination.

Now I’m duty-bound to my spirit to fulfill the task at hand. Because I’d not be able to revert, I’d not be able to go back to wanting less, to having more short-term goals.

Recently in conversation, I’ve realized that I’m not going to see the real fruits of the work I do now and will continue doing till I die. While that might seem discouraging, it’s only driven me to dig deeper, to fight harder, to plan better, to save more, to learn more, to dream more, to believe more, and the biggest thing; to sacrifice way more than I ever thought or was willing to.

So what’s in it for me now since I won’t be here when the vision is fulfilled?

Just as I told her: “even if they (the sleepless nights) don’t pay off, my satisfaction isn’t in the rewards of those sleepless nights”.

“My satisfaction has and always will be the man I’ve had to become to endure and actually chose the discomfort of sleepless nights”. To be the man that would choose to act in defiance of all social norms, constructs, and pressure. Not for anything but to see the vision fulfilled.

Because once I was the complete opposite of who I am now. To be the man who is actively choosing to be what I wasn’t, to be the man that actively keeps choosing to stay on a path this hard, to be a man that is not only is a dreamer but an executioner of those dreams, is all the reward I’ll ever need.

And that gives insight into my gratitude. That lets me approach life the way I do. That makes me value all that I value.

I’m so grateful for the life that I have, that if I didn’t wake tomorrow, I’d be satisfied with the life I’ve led.

Because what else could a man ask for than to find true fulfillment?

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