It was 25 years ago today, when my family and I arrived in the United States of America after escaping a war torn Iran. There are certain days I’ll never forget for the rest of my life and November 28, 1990 is one of them.
It felt like it was just a dream. I couldn’t believe it. I was so innocent and naive that I was expecting to run into Rocky (Sly) at the airport. I thought everyone was either a celebrity or a millionaire. It was surreal.
Just 18 months prior to arriving to America, I was living in Iran concerned about another attack from Iraq. I remember it as if it was yesterday saying goodbye to my father at the airport in Iran thinking I may never see him ever again.
The uncertainty of a war breaking out at any moment was still on my mind. Looking at my sister and my mother with disbelief that we actually made it to America.
It’s still difficult for me today when I read or watch the news on the amount of travesties that are still taking place in the Middle East. The uncertainty of an attack. I think about there being an 8 year old boy who is going to sleep tonight not certain whether he’ll see his parents in the morning. How he’s forced to grow up and not experience a childhood due to the circumstances. He’ll forever live reacting to certain noises that’ll remind him of his childhood. I imagine him spending many of his nights on his knees praying to God for a miracle. Praying things that many Americans may have never prayed before.
I think about many parents who have an internal debate every single morning whether they risk sending their kids to school or just keep them home to be safe. How do you at that very moment know which is the best decision to make. Education or safety?
As a parent now I realize what my parents had to overcome. The decisions they had to make. To leave a country they’ve lived in all their lives with the possibilities of a better life for their children.
That’s one of the reasons why I wake up every morning with a certain fire in my belly to make sure I’m able to validate their decision being the right decision. I get to now sit at the dining table on thanksgiving with my mother, father and sister as well as our new family knowing what we’ve overcome.
I sometimes get very frustrated with Americans who have never experienced anything else outside of living here. They tend to take so many things for granted. They tend to take the principles that the founding fathers created for granted. The spirit of entitlement and victim hood mentality is one of the ugliest spirits that’s getting a hold of many Americans today. This to me is more concerning than the current economy. The future success of our economy is a reflection of the current mentality of the youth. Entitlement and victim hood mentality rarely creates a booming economy. I’ve lived in that condition and witnessed the final product.
One day, your country (Iran) is a place where Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor come to visit/party and the next day NO ONE even thinks about Going there for vacation.
The challenge with this mindset is when the people of a nation think this will NEVER happen to them until it does. No one ever thinks they’ll lose a loved one to cancer until they do. No one ever thinks they’ll get hit by a drunk driver until it happens. No one ever thinks they’ll be robbed until they are.
This isn’t a message of creating fear in you but to remind all of us to be aware and to be alert. A very close friend of mine from the army whom I love dearly is currently involved in the war that’s taking place in the Middle East and every single week I send him a message just reminding him to be alert.
That’s all we could do.
Life is funny. It’s filled with many contradictions. It can drive you nuts if you allow it to. It can age you quick if you take every single event too serious. Don’t get me wrong, there are many things in life that are serious but not everything.
The bigger picture of it all is that you and I have the opportunity to make a difference. I mean a real difference. We literally have the world in our hands (Facebook, Social Media). We have the ability to make a positive impact. We have the choice to be the light in the darkest hour. We can lift people up. We can challenge weak mindsets that don’t favor the individual and the world. We can set an example that’ll speak louder than the greatest speech we’ll ever give.
Today, I’m reminded that even at the darkest hour of your life, great things are taking place that are out of your control. Sometimes you have to be ready to die in order to live the life you always wanted to live. This thing called life goes by very quickly.
Choose today to make the best of the hand that you’ve been dealt. No need to look at anyone else’s hand. No need to compare and feel sorry for yourself because you don’t have as good of a hand as someone else. Choose wisely. Be alert. Be alive. Be grateful. And take responsibility in knowing that the world is counting on you to max out and contribute. Not only will it make the world a better place but it’ll also get you closer to living an absolute full-filled life.
Thanks for reading.
I have to go put my 2 year old son who’s learned how to get out of his crib to sleep.