Perseverance quote: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.

Day One: Today is the first day…

…of the rest of your life.

Dec 31, 2018 was officially my last day employed by the Ottawa Carleton District School Board (OCDSB). I can’t comment yet about what happened at work that lead to my decision to quit, but it’s a great story. (Sign up here to read the story when I finally am able to write about it.)

Once upon a time, I was a grade 8 teacher.

On the very first day of school, I would often show a quote on the big screen projector at the front of my class. It would say, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.”

We would talk about this idea. Grade 8 is the beginning of the end of middle school. It literally was the first day of school, so a lot of students thought it was a reference to that. Some students would talk about how this was a fresh beginning – a chance to do better than last year.

The next day, I would start the class with the exact same quote: “Today is the first day of the rest of your life.” And we would talk about that. Except this time, it wasn’t the first day of school. It was the second day.

We would chat about how this could be. And eventually, we would get to the idea that every day is the first day of the rest of your life. Every day is an opportunity to restart and rewrite your story for the better.

Except, we don’t.

Until something happens, and we’re forced to.

For better or for worse, I believe that our job is to be better than the person we were yesterday. You don’t have to be perfect. We’re going to make mistakes. But the goal is to be better than who we were yesterday.

That means, there’s always opportunity to become better.

That means, we shouldn’t have to feel bad when we fail.

Notice how I said “when,” instead of “if”? The goal is to be able to pick yourself up, learn something, and keep going. If we do this enough times, it gets easier to pick ourselves up. (I think.)

Table of Contents

Perseverance quote: Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
Fresh snow, for a fresh beginning.

So, today is the first day of the rest of my life:

  • I no longer have a job.
  • I no longer have a paycheck.
  • And, I am blasting a hole through my savings account.

But, as one person recently told me, I have the gift of time.

Today, I have an opportunity to start fresh. And tomorrow, I will have another opportunity to start fresh. And the next day, and the next day.

I have a few goals, in no particular order:

One goal is to make the world a better place

  • I think that’s one thing I’ll miss most about the classroom: The opportunity to embed life lessons and social justice into the curriculum.
  • Right now I’m developing lesson plans for teachers to help them teach important life skills to students: character, citizenship, collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.
  • I’m also working on starting a movement to build grit, tenacity, and resilience in students to get through life’s struggles and mental health challenges.

Starting from today, I’m taxing all of my income before expenses and donating that money to two charities that support children’s mental health.

  • Students are resilient, and yet, I live in a world where there’s a need for Do It For Daron because we have stories like Daron’s around. DIFD is about Daron, and not about Daron at the same time – it’s about mental health for each and every youth.
  • I sleep better at night knowing that when kids are in crisis and need someone to talk to, they can call Kids Help Phone. As parents, and teachers, and caring adults, I don’t think we always know what’s going on in people’s minds. So, I’d like to make a difference for a kid that I’ll never meet.

The third goal is to make one million dollars online

By the time I’m 65. That’s around a quarter of a century away. Lots of time.

But, I love playing on the internet. And I’ve made some a little cash on the side through affiliate marketing and web design.

So, now it’s time to see how much I can learn in the school of hard knocks. (And, wow, SEO, webhosting reviews, and making money online are tough niches.)

So why am I writing this blog?

To be honest, it feels a little bit like a script for a Netflix series. A real rags to riches kinda story. (Quick, what literary device did I use there. What, there’s more than one hiding in there? Crazy.)

We are introduced to the protagonist, and over the next few episodes, we’re given clues about what happened that got him into this situation.

There will be ups and downs, but, I’d like to think that eventually the protagonist becomes a successful web entrepreneur and makes lots of money online.

Will he reach one million dollars online? I hope so.


Well, aside from the obvious self-serving reason that I’d like to be able to kick-start my coffee shop habit to the next level, if I’m able to make $1 million, that means I’m able to donate $100,000.

That’s a lot of money to help students in crisis.

But, more importantly, if I’m able to succeed in changing my story, I’m hoping that this story will be able to help other people – youth, and adults – find a way to change their stories as well.

So, here’s to the first day of the rest of our lives.

Cheers, Mike.

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