a thing handed down by a predecessor.
synonyms: consequences, effect, repercussion, aftermath, product, result
As a husband and father of 3, I sometimes catch myself thinking about these things: What have I done during my time on this earth? Have I done enough? Am I doing enough? If I died today, who would show up at my funeral? What would they say about me? How many people have I inspired, helped, mentored, loved? What am I doing with these finite days that God has predestined for me? These questions have drawn me to this place.
I have had a transfomation recently…an awakening you might say. To people on the outside, they would have never known, but just like an iceberg, what you see on top is not always what is going on underneath. For the past two years I have seen a rapid RISEin my understanding of what life is all about. Before I get into detail about the events that lead me to this peace and clarity, let me share where I started. I’ve been advised by my blogging expert wife to keep my posts limited to a few paragraphs each time or I’ll lose the reader, but just stick with me here, I need to unpack a few things to set the stage of why I’ve created this blog. Sorry babe, I’m breaking your first rule of blogging. I’ll vacuum your car this weekend to make it up…I promise So, here goes….
My entire life I’ve been a pleaser and on the sensitive side. Growing up the youngest of two boys, to amazing parents who loved us very much, we had high expectations in our house. I was blessed to have natural athletic ablility and being held back before 1stgrade gave me a clear advantage scholastically as well. Being the oldest in my class and often times the best athlete, I created lofty standards for myself and I was often times my toughest critic. As I progessed each year, I felt the expectations from my parents, people around me, and myself grow and grow. This isn’t much different for a lot of adolescent kids, but I became very affected by what people thought of me…or my perception of what people thought of me. I would beat myself up if I wasn’t perfect – socially, in the classroom, and with athletics.
Instead of enjoying the moment, I was trying to live up to unreal expectations, and I would create my self-worth on whether I was the best or not. I created this lie in my head that all eyes were on me and I wasn’t allowed to fail, mess-up, or be human. However, on the outside I looked confident, up-beat, and it seemed I had everything going for me. My senior year in high school, I was Homecoming King and was voted Dream Date and Most Athletic (I really was hoping for Best Dancer – damn you Joel Lindberg!). I had accepted a scholarship to Washington State University to play football and baseball. You would think I would have been on cloud nine, but really, I felt lost. I had self-doubt that I wasn’t good enough and I was exhausted trying to please everyone, while giving myself no margin for error. I feared failure, more than I enjoyed success. I didn’t have the wisdom to say to myself, “Haters gonna hate…just do your thing boo-boo!”
On top of that I was getting burned out from all the select baseball I was playing. I have two distinct memories that defined how I felt at that time in my life. The first came late in my senior year. I remember my neighbor and one of my favorite teachers (and a fellow Coug), Mrs. Chipps, say to me, “Aren’t you just so excited to be finishing up high school and going to college? This is the best time of your life!” I remember later thinking, gosh is this really the best time of my life?…I hear people say that all the time, but I just don’t feel it.
The other memory was later that summer, while at one of many baseball tournaments, I was having lunch with my mom at the University Inn in Moscow, Idaho. I had some down time before my next game and while we were talking I opened up, which I usually never let myself be vulnerable and do, but this time I felt brave enough to confess, “Mom, I really don’t get excited anymore.” She said, “What?, What do you mean?” I added, “I just don’t get excited about doing stuff like I used to when I was younger.” She did what she always did, which was love me and shared some amazing motherly advice, but it fell on deaf ears.
One of my favorite artist, John Mayer’s song Something’s Missing accurately summed up how I was feeling: Something’s missing/And I don’t know how to fix it.
So fast forward 5 years to the end of my ride as a student-athlete at Washington State University. I had a pretty good run. I was a solid contributor on the football team that went to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in school history, one of which was a Rose Bowl (we will get back there under Coach Leach…I believe it!). After taking two years off from baseball, I joined the team my redshirt sophomore year and was later selected as a team caption my final year, which we finished with our best record in 10 years. I was flourishing in the classroom as well, being named to the Pac-10 All-Academic First Team list multiple times, as well as earning Academic All-American honors my senior year in baseball. I made amazing friendships, saw the country, was a part of unforgettable experiences, but like every senior who graduates college, the next question of what lies ahead, is the most challenging one…what do I do next with my life?
You see, up until that point in my life, every hour of every day was most likely planned out by someone other than myself: my parents, coaches, academic counselors, strength and conditioning coaches, educators, etc. All that was over. So now what?
It was fall of 2004, and I was finishing up my last year of graduate school. The Cougs were playing UCLA in Pasadena and I was down there working for the WSU Athletic Foundation. My dad came along with me on my trip to cheer our team on to victory (we did get the “W” by the way). During this 3 day weekend, we were out for a run together and I had feelings like I was right back where I was when I was finishing up high school – lost, unsure of myself and uncertain of my future. I had aspirations of being an athletic director someday at a college or university (or that’s what I told myself, along with several other people in my circle). This job was my first step toward that goal, but I really deep down inside had no idea what I wanted to do.
On top of that, I had just broken up with my girlfriend and was really going through a rough patch. No more being a part of an athletic team. No more someone setting my schedule for me; no more people guiding my every step; no more people telling me how awesome I was (first world problems); and I was dealing with a breakup, which for us sensitive people is tough stuff (so sue me if I cry over a good movie…or commercial). So feeling these emotions of uncertainty and insecurity, I sought out advice from my dad during this fateful run. I asked “Dad, at what point in your life did it all make sense? How old were you when you finally got it? He paused for a moment and said, “35.” I continued to run pondering that statement. I had an entire decade in front of me.
Maybe my dad was blessed by the prophetic word of God, or maybe he had just stayed at a Holiday Inn Express the night before, but that age always kind of stuck in the back of my mind as a huge momentous year in my life to look forward to. So here I am right now at age 36 and I must say that he was exactly right. Or maybe it was just a secret that I didn’t know about at the time that what you think about the most and believe to be true no matter if its reality or not, is manifested by your own mind, by God, or a combination of both. At age 34, one year after the age Jesus died (another year that I marked as a defining year in one’s life), was the year the light bulb went off for me.
These are some questions I want you to ponder…what is your legacy? Who is going to show up at your funeral? What are they going to say about you when it’s all said and done? Did you give or did you take? Did you fully love God, yourself, and others. Are you maximizing each second you have each day? Tomorrow is never guaranteed…so what are you doing today? Follow me for the next 30 days. Let my stories and words encourage you to be the best version of yourself. Sometimes in life you need to just take a leap of faith and jump. In this journey of life, sometimes you just need someone to take that leap of faith with you. Watch this inspiring message from my main man Steve Harvey. Let’s jump together.