I believe that we make our own luck

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Freshman (College 1st year) ・English ・MLA

Discussion in the media and in American society in general over the influx of impoverished Mexicans to the United States provokes a lot of emotion inside me. About two decades earlier, these would have been my parents, as adults, trying to thrive in the land of opportunity. My parents were born and brought up in Mexico, at least before they were adolescents. The fact that they did not get any sort of formal education suggested that their prospects of finishing a white-collar job and progressing in life in this country is very small. The US at the time, as it still is to date, was the land of opportunity and a multitude of Mexicans was flocking to this country in the hope of a better future. My parents were not an exception in this immigration in the US and finally took the bold step to seek for greener pastures in the land of opportunities. They set foot in the US while they were still teenagers and started working in odd jobs immediately. I would later be born in Colorado at Estes Park.The immense success that my parents have managed to achieve from destitute casual workers to owners of a succeeding restaurant has driven me to the belief that ‘we make our own luck’.

When I was born in Colorado, we were a very poor family surrounded by very affluent individuals and families. When I looked at our neighbor’s kid, I often wished that I was as lucky as they were; being born in a rich family. I considered it luck that these kids were born into successful families while I was languishing in poverty. My parents had to work twice as hard as the rich kids’ parents, just to be able to afford the basics. When my parents immigrated to the US, they had not yet attained the age of eighteen. The fact that they had no money and that they had immigrated to the US unaccompanied by their parents further compounded the problem. Sometimes I sit and just marvel at the fact that they did not end up on the streets homeless or get addicted to alcohol and substance abuse. I believe that their strict discipline and a sober perspective about life helped them maneuver these difficulties.

My father took odd jobs at hotels and restaurants as a dishwasher. He would later graduate to a cook, courtesy of his hard work. One of the hotels that my dad worked in saw the potential in him and offered to train him into a cook. He gladly jumped at the opportunity to improve on his ranks, as well as his earnings. My mother also engaged in casual jobs in various hotels. She worked as a busser and sometimes doubled as a cleaner of the hotel rooms.

Initially, things were not that hard for my parents and they managed to sail through the American lifestyle, albeit poor, but rather comfortably. However, after some time of my parents staying in the US and sustaining themselves through casual jobs, I came by. I was born when my parents were both in their late teens. Parenting presents a set of challenges, among them being economic pressure on the parent’s finances. Realizing that they needed to make more cash in order to manage to survive as well as to feed me as a baby, my parents had to put in more effort in their work. Most Americans consider a normal working week to have 48 working hours at a maximum. The average American, thus, spends about 40 hours working for their employer. My father, however, worked double this number of hours, juggling between two restaurants just in order to make enough money for the family. My mom was not left behind in providing for the family, though. She worked full time in her old job of cleaning hotel rooms while I was in school. Weekends were also working days for mom and she had to take me to work with her then.

For many years, my parents just worked to make ends meet. Though they worked from hand to mouth at the initial stages, they developed a saving culture and regardless of their meager earnings, they managed to save substantially. Eventually, my parents purchased a restaurant in Estes Park, Colorado. The restaurant served breakfast and lunch. The experience that they had gained working in the hospitality industry would prove to be invaluable in their new venture. At this point, my parents realized that all the hard work that they had put into their casual jobs was just a learning platform for them. So why do I say that we make our own luck? Well, let us back up a little bit; in the introduction, I had indicated that my parents lacked a formal education. The affluent neighbors, however, had most likely gone through the formal system of education and were enjoying the fruits of their hard work in their school days. In my opinion, it was not luck that had placed these affluent neighbors in these jobs but rather their hard work earlier in school. They, too, had created their own luck. My parents, on the other hand, with the lack of formal education, had to learn the hard way on the job. They had to work hard too as they were learning. Eventually, they created their own luck through this learning. Am glad to state that seven years since the acquisition of the restaurant, we receive enormous support from loyal customers, and the business continues to thrive. My parents don’t need to work as hard as they did then, they are bosses now, like our rich neighbors most likely were.

Needless to say, the life that my family has gone through serves as a vital lesson for me as I begin to create my own independent life, and hopefully a family in the near future. From the experience that my parents have gone through prior to the immigration into the US, right through the time I was born up to date, there are many lessons that I can draw from their experience. As I live each day I am grateful for my parents for all they have done for me and for themselves. Am applying the hard work mentality into my education and I hope I will be able to make my own luck through it.

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