Posts Tagged With: growing

10 Years From Now…[Part 3]

 

So, to recap Part I and Part II of this series,

I basically equated one of my teachers with a well-intended, roid-raging version of Mr. Keating from Dead Poets Society.

Ya, that’s a pretty rough metaphor. So, “Dr. Reality Check,” if these posts somehow make their way back to you…….(as they inevitably do in small towns)…ummmm….you can tell it however you want, when you make your own blog. I’m just doing what you taught me. Sorry, but you knew this day was coming when you enticed me into taking an extra course, “for fun”. Yes, I’m grinning as I write this.

But in all fairness, I’ll admit, it was one of the most important classes I took in college.  And inspired a blog post a year later. I’d call that a compliment. (I see the meaning of it all now. Hey, better late than never)

 

As I was saying,

It turns out, this class had a lot more to do with life than I thought. [See part 2 for backstory]

We only hated him because it resembled life all too well.

 

Life is a lot like Dr. Reality Check’s second question

#1: What do you want to be in life? What are your highest aspirations, if nothing stood in the way?

[Give essay answer]

 

#2:Now list 10 specific steps you will take to get from here to there.

 

We face these impasses, after a ridiculous amounts of training and motivational speeches, without a plan, and go……

“Ohhhh. Shit.     I got nothin.”

Not because you don’t sincerely want a real solution, but because you have always relied on the “right answer.”

Generic quick-fixes have a funny way of never being directly applicable to our life. In the real world, you have to think for yourself and want things for yourself. Nobody else can administer the motivation. There are no presets. There are no fill-in-the-bubble quizzes. And, sadly, the majority of us don’t realize this until its too late.

Way too late.

It sounds simple…because well, it is. The first part always is, remember? You read this and probably mutter, “Yayayah. I know. This is nothing new.” But this isn’t about reading something on a computer screen and changing your life. I’m not that conceited. Hell, I won’t even pretend to give you advice like that. Its near impossible. But mostly, I just won’t. It’s not up to me. You have to want it for yourself.

I will just settle to be your inspiration. That’s it. That’s all I can do for you. I just want to show you through actions and not just words— the important part. The second part. Your goals, dreams, aspirations. And the stuff down deep you haven’t even uttered out loud, much less to someone else. The stuff you think is impossible, so you try not to dwell on it more than a few meager, depressing seconds.

Like the screaming teacha’ suggested,

Write it.

Write all those things down. Even if you don’t show anybody at first.

But most importantly do it. Until you get it onto paper, it’s just theoretical, swirling around with your daydreams of a mid-afternoon nap and Reese’s cups, with hardly a speck of chance to be realized.

 

 

You can’t step forward on stones that haven’t even been laid out!

 

#1 Reason: It stops feeling imaginary. It becomes a possibility.

#2. It reminds you of your goals, everyday. Which you’ll find is really helpful for the times of hopelessness. (Post it on the bathroom mirror?)

#3. It makes it easier to verbalize, to construct, to explain, to share with a trusted and close friend.

Confiding in that someone, sharing your vision is a double-whammy, a 1-2 punch to the gut/ego. They will hold you accountable, but will also encourage you or offer helpful suggestions (unless you have that sarcastic best friend who likes to motivate you by insulting you, calling you sissy and whatnot). It’s a balance. So pick someone who knows you. They’ll be like a doubt-fighting sidekick. But without the tights. (unless you want, ladies)

 

So, this part isn’t even about the faith of “stepping stones”. You aren’t there yet. This is (figuratively speaking) about mapping your route on paper, road by road, instead of just pointing to a state, mouth dumbly gaping, shouting “I want to be there….”.

You’ll be surprised by how it makes those far-away dreams seem a little more real, and just a tad bit closer. And this doesn’t even have to do with your school or job, necessarily. I’m talking about bigger things. What is it you want to do, to make a difference? outside the 9-5 everybody works. [If your biggest aspiration is a job, you need bigger goals. If you don’t believe me, see Kid President.]

What impact do you want to have, beyond just showing up and punching in the right answer, to get you by?

I don’t want to just “get by.” I want to live a radical, interesting story– one you can’t even attempt to nod off to. I don’t want the usual “solution” for my problems, or to embrace the status quo, just because that’s what we were taught. 

 

Following my own advice

Big announcement for my friends (and acquaintances/followers): In the upcoming months, I will be preparing to chase after my dreams, instead of just talking about them. Real preparations for a NON-hypothetical adventure. Rather than just whining about unpleasant circumstances and what I wish I could do, I’m going to make radical changes. I’m just going to do it.

Whether or not I succeed, is not the point. Whether I leave this chair, instead only writing about them, IS.

south Texas.
January 2013

This spring, I’m going to be embarking on an epic, solo road-trip across America. On foot. For a couple months. This is something I’ve been planning for a while now.  

At the lowest point in my life…..l want to show you this leap of faith IS possible.

And I will- show you- not with words, but with actions. I will follow through on my own advice, which as we know is the hardest thing to do. I will abandon all my fears, knowing it “only goes up from here”. I will continue with my project of complete honesty and traversing the unknown, no matter where it leads.

You can keep me accountable and encourage me.

I reached a point where I want to stop talking about my desires in life, and start chasing them.
Funny how, all of a sudden, when you have to flesh out that second question Mr. Reality Check asks, the realization hits:

We’re scared to actually go after some lofty goal. It’s easier to shoot the shit. Trying means failing is an option.

But I’d rather have 1 small dream I’m actually living out, no matter how insignificant, than die having 100 unfulfilled, lofty dreams.

It’s the illusion of actually living that kills us. Sometimes, it’s the talking about dreams that kills us. Because that’s all it ever ends up being. Talk. And more self-doubt. And excuses.

 

But, 10 years from now, do you still want to be making excuses?

 

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Home.

There’s nothing like walking back through your front door after a long trip away, or collapsing into your own bed after a long day.

Home is a special place.

Wherever that is for you.

No matter how hospitable someone is, it’s never quite the same to be a guest in another’s home. Not quite as comfy or…safe.

I think home is a place where you let down your guard.

So I can see why falling in love  with someone has a lot of the same qualities.  And getting married for that fact.

Home is a hard place to define. We use phrases like “home is where the heart is” to describe the feeling….because it’s temporal. It changes. It’s hard to pin down. It’s not confined to walls.

It’s dependent upon people as much as it is a place.

College is as much about finding your next home, as it is about trying to leave your parent’s. It’s a slow process. A kind of limbo we get stuck in. Between kid and adult.

Dorms don’t really help that.

They’re minimal, whitewashed, impersonal, and void of any semblance of familial warmth.

If you’re lucky like me, you had the chance to “move off-campus” after you’ve done your time in the small prison-shaped rooms, possibly with a solitary window.

But I do see now why most schools require you live 1 year on-campus first. They understand that home has a lot to do with community. Not just a physical place.

Now I live in a 7 bedroom house with my best college buddies. It’s a beautiful southern house (which if you want you can read more about in my previous post).

But the place in that picture…is important to me for another reason.

I was adopted into a new sort of family. The other guy in that picture is one of my closest friends now.

I didn’t go “home” (to my parents house) for two years after I left for college.

When I did finally go back, I didn’t recognize my hometown. The usual shock I suppose: high school quarterbacks working minimum wage jobs, your sweetheart married, religious zealots now drunk dropouts, the nerdy kids who became ridiculously successful, and an assortment of druggies, community college cop-outs, baby-mommas, and the lost friendships.

Not to mention the physical changes of the landscape. As the city slowly started to creep in on my quiet suburbia. The bike trail I used to ride on with my best friend, taking long day-trips far away on countless adventures, was defiled by a modern transit system which links to Dallas. Well, there goes a piece of my childhood.

And finally, when I reach my old bedroom. It. doesn’t. feel. mine.

At night, I lay in bed, on the top bunk, unable to sleep. I jolt awake in the morning, wondering what strange place I’m in. It takes a couple seconds after I rub my eyes to realize the blurriness is just a side effect of unfamiliarity.

All this to say…. it’s a tough journey from 18 to your mid-twenties, trying to find where you belong.

I realized after being gone for 3 months, drifting sleepless through the unforgiving deserts and mountains of Africa, the place I missed most was…..that little ‘ol town in Southern Oklahoma.

Yet, when I am home, in Durant, I am still restless. I must continue my search.

Ethan Cox says it best on his blog http://ethan-cox.xanga.com/,

“Both sides of my grandparents also live in Willis (less than 2 miles from my parents’ house). Needless to say, I feel at home in the Bottom [Willis nickname]. However, I have a certain unquenched spirit that spurs up especially strong when I’m at “home.” It’s a spirit of travel. I have had the privilege of visiting a couple of continents, and now I can’t seem to get my fill. I don’t know what “home” really is, but my spirit feels most affirmed when traveling. Maybe the road is my home. “

I’ll give one last example, because it may do better justice than me.

One of my favorite movies in high school was the movie “Garden State.” It had a clip in it I didn’t really understand… until I had been gone at college for a few years.

Now, I see it. I understand. Destined to forever be in search of that place, until you recreate it for your kids.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qw7Om-7sD48

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