“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”
--Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States (and one of the competitors in Washington Nationals’ home games races)
Whether it was running around the gym during pep rallies to distract the crowd in high school while technical difficulties were happening behind the scenes, or bouncing between coasts while in the Navy (and still afterwards), or finding myself in a myriad of part-time jobs from pizza delivery guy, teacher’s aide, karaoke DJ, or barista, I’ve tried to keep in mind the aforementioned words of the original Rough Rider (sorry, DMX).
In light of recent events—more specifically, graduating from college, getting married, and the implosion of my immediate family (term used very loosely)—I have realized that T.R.’s famous words, like many things, are better served in moderation.
For those of you I’ve spent more than five minutes around, there may be a chance you’d agree with me when I say I’m a positive person. I like to have fun wherever I am, whether it’s work, school, or play, and I attempt to find the silver lining (which, sidenote, I just read The Silver Linings Playbook last week, and good lord, I’ve never ended up in tears as I closed the back cover, but damn.) However, this “blind positivity” (as I’ll call it for now) has led me through quite an interesting journey, and well, it’s time to refocus.
A few weeks ago, in a moment of clarity amidst one of my self-inflicted 17-hour days, I asked myself, “Why are you doing this?” And well, the answer was simple, “So I can help pay the bills.” And with that, I was not pleased. Somewhere in recent past, I lost sight of a goal that truly enticed me, fueled my passion, and compromised well with reality. Among the emails of “Your Student Loan Payment is Due”, “25 New Job Openings in Your Area!”, “Enlarge your penis is six days!”, and “Enlist in the Navy Reserve Today!” I got sucked into a head-down bulldog charge of “gottamakethenextpayment.”
That is not living.
I opened my own eyes and stopped justifying why I was where I was. I weighed out some options and thought about the future. I was literally breaking myself trying to succeed at my job. There are some days when I spend more time talking to my wife on the phone when our stores call each other or when I’m behind the register at my coffee shop. I’ve been married less than a year and I already miss my wife. I’m no longer in the military, I don’t deploy for weeks at a time, and I felt that in less than ten months, I fell into a chasm of isolation that some couples live in for decades and don’t do anything about.
And I thought, “we don’t even have kids yet, and if I don’t have time for my wife now, how the hell am I going to make time for my wife AND our children in the future?” And at that exact moment everything I retained, rejected, observed, and hypothesized about the four others I lived in a house with growing up came full circle.
From the ashes, the phoenix emerges in a blaze of glory with the vigor and ferocity of a thousand suns.
The dust has officially been kicked off, the tents have been packed up, and my boots are tied tight.
After opening with such strong words, I have no choice but to end with even more poignant thoughts. These come from two younger minds that both live like champions:
“I’m gonna come at you like a spider monkey!” and “I’m all jacked up on Mountain Dew!” –Walker and Texas Ranger