Liz Murray has had many ups and downs during her life.
But, she persevered and believed that a brighter future was ahead. Putting one foot forward every day, she finally created an inspirational life she’s always dreamed of.
“Life takes on the meaning that you give it.”
Liz Murray was born to drug-addicted parents and lived most of her childhood in poverty.
Her parents did everything they could to get high. For instance, Liz’s mom stole her $5 birthday money, sold the TV, and a Thanksgiving turkey from a church to get enough money for drugs.
There were many nights she had to eat ice cubes and toothpaste as there was no food available.
By only nine years old, Liz was already working bagging groceries to pay the bills.
When Liz was 16, her mother died of AIDS. Similarly, her father disappeared and also died of AIDS later. She became homeless at 9 years old and had no one to protect her.
The experience was devastating for Liz, but she says it was an experience that changed her soul.
Liz recalled, “I realized life is short, precious, and a gift. My mother taught me to be grateful for what I had. Right here, right now, I can do something different. I can totally reinvent my life; I did not have to base it on my past.”
Liz decided that education would give her opportunities, so she threw herself into schooling. At night, the subway stations became her bedroom.
Throughout the years, Liz kept her homelessness a secret. But she refused to let it hold her back. She slowly dared to dream of her future, and ultimately won a scholarship to Harvard University.
To make sense of her life, Liz started writing down her experiences, which became the book ‘Breaking Night.’ In it, she adopted ‘dream, but don’t sleep‘ as her motto for life.
Additionally, a movie called ‘Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story‘ was even made to feature her life story.
Liz is now a motivational speaker and an advocate for underserved youths.
No matter the circumstance, Liz Murray focused on the possibilities that lie in her future. She refused to let her past decide who she would become and focused all her energy on doing her best, taking the next step forward.
What possibilities lie in your future? And what is the next step you could take today, giving all your energy to it, to help yourself in the future like Liz Murray did?
“I said to myself: what if I woke up, and every single day I did everything within my ability during that day to change my life. What could happen in just a month? A year?”