PURPOSE DRIVEN, DREAM CHASER…no truer words have been spoken or written to describe who my father was! Yes this blog is about me, but I have to tell you a bit about him so that you’ll understand ME more…
My Dad was a great man of character and morals who loved both his family and church family to pieces; he also was a “big picture” thinker, he never allowed his surroundings to suppress his dreams. Dad instilled in my brother and I to chase our dreams and our purpose would be realized in time. I can distinctly remember when Dad and I went on a walk through the Piqua cemetery and he told me that this placed housed people with the most untapped potential and lost dreams. First of all, walking through the cemetery was scary enough, but I definitely knew I did NOT want to end up like one of these people!
My Dad had his own financial advising business and he was thebomb.com at it! I thought I wanted to follow him in the financial world, I even got my undergrad in Finance (boy was that short-lived lol). I soon came to realize that my one true love was Human Resources (HR), which Dad was happy with. He always told me to take baby steps but he could see me as the lead HR Manager for a Fortune 500 company…but I digress, Dad was so good at what he did that he was always with a client or winning trips for his family to go on! My parents always had my brother and I traveling somewhere from an early age; Cali & Florida, to name a couple. This is when I became interested in traveling and seeing more than my small city of Piqua, OH. Yes, I blame my love for traveling on my parents! But even more important, I accredit them to allowing me and pushing me to chase my dreams! You should want someone (especially loved ones) to rally behind you and push you to be the better version of yourself.
It’s amazing how time fools you into thinking that you have soooooooooo much of it, only to be shown that you do not have that much time here on Earth! I still can’t believe the day that my Pastor called my Mom, brother, and I to our house and had to tell us that he had unexpectedly passed away. Part of me was like is this a sick joke, but then I jumped into survival and protector mode for my Mom and brother. I mean how could I worry about myself when Mom just lost her soul mate and my younger brother just lost his Dad? Four years later, I still find myself wanting to call him and just crying for no reason…People tell me that it gets better with time, but I’d have to respectfully disagree. I actually came across a quote by Rose Kennedy that I can relate to, “It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds’. I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.” The pain is always there but I’ve found ways to lessen it, such as running and traveling to new countries.
I live my life in such a way that I will not bring any shame to my family’s name or myself. There are too many negative opportunities for people to get into while dealing with their grief, I said no! I want the Jackson legacy to have a bright light, not only be like my Daddy but better! That is what he would have wanted for me. I can hear him sometimes whisper to me while I’m on a run, “Ashley go chase your dreams, go be free!” Once again, thinking time was on my side, I had become complacent and scared; telling others that they can go chase their dreams. I even formed a scholarship foundation in honor of my Dad (www.piquadreamchasers.com) to help Piqua area seniors pursue their dreams of going to college, I even convinced my good friend Mindy to quit Kroger! Even when the nay sayers or I like to call them “dream crushers” talked to her, I was in her corner rooting her on! I even supported my friend Amber when she asked for my advice about going back to school to pursue her dream! I’m not saying that I’m freaking awesome or anything but I will rally behind anyone pursuing their dreams. So why was it so hard for ME to? Why couldn’t I take my own advice or even exhibit the behaviors that were instilled in me at a young age?
I have always wanted to explore our world and dive into different cultures, languages, and yes definitely the food! This small city girl wants to see the big world! Every time I go to a different country while on vacation I would come back home wanting more, and quite frankly anxious that I would have to return to the monotony, anxiety-filled, and stress of Kroger life. The insatiable wanderlust FINALLY took over, because I am proud to say that I turned in my two weeks notice on Sweetest Day and my last day with the Kroger Co. will be today, Halloween! I am excited about this new chapter in my life and the fact that I won’t have to worry about a retail holiday season, but spending quality time with family and friends before leaving the country. Throughout this process I found myself wanting to call my Dad’s cell, but then I looked up to the sky and smiled. He just knows my heart’s desires and he would be so happy that I took the leap of faith to chase my dreams! I will talk more about this planning process and where I’m going in future blogs, but I want to leave you with this quote from my Daddy, “You can either have foot prints in the sand or butt prints on the couch”! So you CHOOSE which path you want to walk (or sit)…Dad your baby girl is about to leave her foot prints all over the sands of the world!