The way life works is very similar to a water journey to the sea.
When we are born we have a very small and humble beginning, we enter the world with our family around us.
Until we reach the age when we go to school this is all we know. Family life, a few playmates nothing more. As we flow through the years we start to form friendships and these friends come and go like the tides.
At 18 we enter university or “the real world” this is the first drop into what the world really is, we meet new people, begin to carve out routes and find out who we are.
The people I’ve met since I’ve entered the wider world know the person I am now, but to truly know me you have to understand the journey to how I got here.
The journey of understanding begins with the people closet to me, my family.
My family are, and will always remain the most important part of my life. I’m blessed to have grown up a stone’s throw away from my extended family (Uncle’s Aunties, Cousins and Grandparents) which resulted in many of my weeks as a young boy spent playing with them at my Grans house. Each member of my family has played a significant role in my development as a person. It was one of my uncles who first took me to my first football game, my cousins who taught me how to avoid getting into trouble and my grandparents taught me the importance of family, hard work, and humility.
I was lucky enough to grow up with all my Grandparents – I had 22 years with all 4 of them. I’m blessed to be named after both my Grandad “Dominic Philip John or DPJ for short. With this, my whole life, I’ve felt a need to impress them and live up to their names. Both of my Grandad’s were a great Husband, Dad, Grandad and the values they lived by were passed on to my Mum and Dad. I’m lucky to have spent so much time with Granny / Grandma, which they’ve always been known by. My Grandma is properly my biggest fan right now, and comments and likes everything I do – this has been the same throughout my whole life, she has given me so much support from a baby to 24 year old. My Granny is the spearhead of my Mum’s side of the family and despite having no idea what I do, only every wishes that we are happy, healthy and not hungry. Her resilience through tough times has been what has held our family together and for that – I’m entirely grateful.
I’m one 1 of 4 boys (Poor Mother). Growing up, as you can imagine we are all fiercely competitive beyond belief and frequently got up to mischief. I’m proud to say, to this day, that between the 4 of us we have never fallen out and still continue to support each other no matter what.
I’m the 2nd Oldest, my older brother is a lot more like me than he’d let you believe. Academic, Loyal and with the wittiest sense of humor. Growing up, he was always the person I admired to beat at everything and his achievements motivated me more than would believe. My 2 younger brothers are again, both incredibly unique – the youngest, lives in his own little world, but with an IQ close to Einstein’s he’s more than likely going to be the most successful one out of all of us. Finally, my younger brother is properly the one most different to me – Introvert, Caring and an all-around great person – Not saying I’m not great – but he truly is special.
I love them all deeply.
Like most people, the two most important people in my life have been my parents. I’m biased, in saying, that I have the best parents in the world. Even, to write a number superlatives to describe them would be an injustice. My Dad is the most selfless, hard working intelligent person I know. His sacrifices and commitment to us 4 boys gave me an understanding of the dedication needed to get anywhere in life. This is a lesson, which was never needed to be taught to me, it came from watching him over the last 10 years work Weekends, Overnights and long days so that he could afford to send us to private school.
This sacrifice is one that will never be forgotten. Beyond work, My Dad spent the majority of his weekends come rain or shine watching me play football – hauling me up and down the country while I chased every kid dream of becoming a professional footballer. While he supported me during the process of chasing the dream, as I spent stints at Hull City & Leeds United – his support for when I choose a different path, instead focusing on School / A levels gave me the confidence to feel that I could achieve anything.
He’s most frequently saying to me was “You can do anything you want, as long as you set your mind to it”
This saying summed me up as a child – “As Long As You Set Your Mind To It” – I grew up a dreamer, coasting by on the bare minimum and it wasn’t until I set my mind 100% to one thing – Social Chain – that I achieved something to be proud of.
My mum is my best friend. She is the first person I’d go to with any problems, and the first person I go to with any successes. I cannot list the things she’s taught me, as it would almost be endless.
She continues to be my support and motivation for making myself a better person, without her I wouldn’t have been able to do half the things I’ve achieved so far.
To have a family of 4 boys, who at one point were all under 6 years old, was never going to be easy. We are surprised that we were never left outside at night, or forgotten at a shopping center (though we did try) which is credit to both my Mum and Dad for the tireless hard work that creating 4 truly unique individuals who are all set to succeed in their own world.
Left to right
Matthew (26), Me (24), Dad, Mum, Henry (22), Oliver (18)