“Don’t quote your heroes, become them.”
Alright, I’ll admit that there are layers of irony involved in using a quote about not quoting others. But Ryan isn’t my hero; he’s my friend. And besides, the quote is cool — even cooler than a bowtie.
If only Ryan had said it a couple years ago, it’d have been useful. Then again, maybe I wouldn’t have heard it. You ever have times like that? There’s a great lesson, maybe even the exact lesson you need, staring you in the face…and you walk away from it.
If you were sitting in a theater watching the movie of your life, “No! How can you possibly walk away from help and toward the serial killer!” would be screaming through your head. But the real you walks away anyhow. I went through that for a while.
There’s a website called Early to Rise that I read. A guy named Craig Ballantyne is part owner and writes most of the articles. The ideas he writes about aren’t new to me. They’re part of the motivational, self-help, and financial information that inspired me to go to college, become a doctor, and run my own business of helping others.
The ideas he writes about stem from principles that have stood the test of time.
And yet, for a while, I thought they no longer applied to me. I was broken — I can no longer physically take the demands of treating patients or going for the long hikes I once loved or playing the occasional game of tennis. Even just trying to keep up with yard and house work is a struggle.
The Early to Rise emails kept showing up in my inbox like they were automated and didn’t know how much my life sucked. I’d intend to delete them, but the subject line would pull me in and I’d read Craig’s latest story. Instead of inspiring me, I’d actually get a little pissed off that his words no longer applied to me. Early to Rise…yeah, that’d be great if only I were able to rise.
That continued for over a year until one day I sat beneath a bridge and realized that we’re all broken (you, me, the lot of us that are too tall – short- fat – skinny – tired – poor – pretty – ugly – bogged down with emotional baggage – in pain – unable to do what we once did – old – young -etc.,) but broken doesn’t matter. I was broken differently than I’d grown accustomed to for many years, but I was just as able to rise as I’d ever been.
I can look back and laugh at myself. It was easy to embrace and apply the principles of success when I was young, rested, and life on my own was in many ways easier than life as a kid had been. But when I most needed to grab onto them — when I needed something steady to guide me and stop the desperate bouncing from one plan to another — I turned away from the logical path of help and walked the path toward the movie serial killer even though the theater audience was screaming not to do it.
Only it wasn’t me the fictional killer was after. It was my hopes, dreams, and ability to live a purposeful life…on second thought, the killer was after me.
It’s been over a year since I sat below a bridge and realized that until death claims us, we’re all able to rise. The moments when you and I most think we can’t — the times when you think you’re an exception or an exclusion or that what you want is impossible — if you’re still breathing, you’re wrong. Suck it up Sweet Pea and use those breaths to improve yourself.
What if I’m wrong and there is no way to improve your or my situation? Well, won’t your life have more meaning if you keep trying than if you just quietly slip away? There’s going to be pain and heartache either way. You might as well fight for some laughter and love to go with it. If things can’t get better for you, why not use your last breaths to make them better for someone else?
I’m not saying it’s easy. I’m just saying it’s possible. If I can do it, so can you. You’re able to rise, to become the heroes you like to quote, to change your life. I don’t know if you’re willing, but you’re able.
I’m going to write again. No stupid lists. No weird tricks. No saying stuff hoping to generate a sale here or there. No trying to be trendy or drive blog hits. From now on it’s just me talking with you about life — the mistakes, the things I think made a difference, how I deal with celiac disease, what’s working for me to improve my health and fitness, what it’s like to start all over with a new career in my mid-40’s, learning to deal with drama, etc. — hoping to help you avoid some of my mistakes and make positive changes along the way.
Posts may not be regular for a while, but they’ll come. If you don’t want to miss any, there’s a subscription box up in the corner. Hope to see you around.