Monday, September 19, 2016

The Man in the Mirror

There is a poem titled, "The Man in the Glass" by Peter Dale Wimbrow, Sr. You can read the whole thing here

But the last stanza says:

You may fool the whole world down the pathway of years
And get pats on the back as you pass
But your final reward will be heartache and tears
If you've cheated the man in the glass

I actually read this while I was reading a book called, "Season of Life". If you haven't read that one, I would encourage you to check it out, particularly if you are a dad, coach, athlete, but I think there is value there for just about everyone. But I've been thinking about this alot lately, how so many people are working jobs they don't like, or leading lives they don't want to lead, or they've pursued things or done things, or married people, or purchased things just because they feel like they should have, or because they didn't have a choice. And then, we look in the mirror at some point, and say, "who is this guy" or "what am I doing", or "is this what I really want". The point is, we need to be true to ourselves, not what everyone else wants. If we bend and morph into what the "right" path is or the "safe" path is, what happens when we get along down that path, and take a check in the mirror, and we don't recognize what we see. What then?

I asked myself this recently, mostly, "is this what I really want" And the answer was no. And "this" to be clear, is not all that bad. I've got a wonderful family, a good job, live in a nice place. That question doesn't come from a place of being ungrateful. It comes from a place, I think, of healthy discontent. Wanting something different doesn't mean you don't value what you have. And just because you don't want to live the current life you are leading, doesn't mean that you want to get rid of EVERYTHING.

I think there is a little bit of value for me, in asking that question, but not a lot. It doesn't take much courage to say, "I would like to pursue a different career" or "I want to have more financial freedom so I can spend time with my wife". Those aren't courageous statements, I don't think. They are thoughts, verbalized, and we all have those, and we all cry out sometimes, and we all say things and have ideas. Those are a dime a dozen. (I wonder sometimes, if there was ever a thing, in history, that was a dime a dozen).

For me, the challenge is, what are you going to do about it? Because for me, if I do nothing, it's like a double whammy (double whammy, I'm pretty confident, is a real thing. Check out an old game show called, Press Your Luck). The double whammy is this. I'm already frustrated by the fact of living like everyone else. For example, go to college, get married, stable job, kids, no time, work yourself to the bone, wait for retirement, reconnect with your wife, enjoy your kids once they are grown, travel when you get older. So if I express that frustration AND don't do anything with it (what most people do), I get the double whammy.

So I have to do SOMETHING.

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