Blame, deflects the pain.
Like a ray of light hitting a piece of glass,
Erasing any sight,
Of the part I played,
So I don’t have to feel how you feel in this moment
Striving for self control,
Because I never had it, it’s a struggle,
But I’m maintaining, staying focused, no more playing,
Devil on my shoulder and he’s looking for entertainment, I can’t blame him,
We live in a…..
World full of pleasure that pulls at me daily,
Studying my every step, watching me when I’m sleep, preying on me when I’m weak-
Want to take this fu**** phone
That hacks my psychology
Without my consent
AND THROW IT
Into the middle of the Indian Ocean. Where it can’t tell me what to do and what to watch and What to care about.
And what to be.
Take one last look at it,
One last time, over the horizon,
Watching the sun rise before I drop it,
And enjoy my next few days with natives.
Fishing for lobsters that we plan to cook on the grill that night.
Off the coast of Madagascar.
Striving for self control, because I never had it.
College is a whirlwind. For most, like myself, it’s the first time that you’ve actually been on your own. And also for most, the thought is exciting.
“I can stay up as late as I want”!
“I can do whatever I want, when I want”!
This excitement can blind you from the realities you will face and the questions you haven’t pondered. What will I eat today? How will I go get the food when I don’t have a car? Where do I go to pick up my books for class? Where is the math building? And laundry. That damn laundry our mom did that we took for granted. We slowly start to realize that this freedom people hype up isn’t necessarily free. We realize that college is more than just hanging out and having fun. Thankfully we have a class schedule that blocks off certain times throughout the day that tells us when we can take care of all the other shit we have to do- if we decide to do it. Damn, choices are something else I tell ya. Slowly but surely I got it together and got into a rhythm although in the beginning I was swimming trying to find the right balance. Couple that with being an athlete and now you have another set of responsibilities to worry about. I’ve seen how trying to juggle those two acts swallows guys whole and spits them right back out. They just can’t get out of their own way. Ego trips them up because they can’t listen. That family connection is strong so they miss home- stripping them of focus. Maybe they don’t understand prioritization and have no guidance.
It’s hard being a college student. But if we can learn to adapt to this grueling schedule, if we can learn to adjust to the circumstances, if we can learn to sacrifice our pleasures and desires that the college scene offers, we won’t be disappointed later.
Disappointed in what you might ask. Well, life. Just like college, life gets tough and it can be even tougher if we don’t have any structure. In college, you have an opportunity to build your day from scratch- minus the time you’re in classes. A blank template that you get to fill in, no one else. And life gives you that same opportunity. To create how you want to live. Will it be hard? Yes. Expect it to be. I work as a life coach and wellness consultant so that requires me to do multiple things daily.
Are there some days I feel like shit? Absolutely. Did it take time for me to become consistent? Yes. But now I’m programmed so I have no other option. I don’t believe in preaching but not practicing. Young adults can tell if you’re real or not.
And I’m not saying live under a rock and study all day because I feel it’s just as important to have fun every now and then and let loose. What I’m asking is who do you want to be? Or become? Because that will be the determinant factor in how useful and productive you are with your time. Older adults I know currently tell me they don’t like what they do. And at the end of the day, to pay the bills, you have to do what you have to do. But how long will you be miserable? Forever? Create a blueprint to leave that energy drainer of a job that you’re working.
This whole passage means nothing until you start asking yourself those reflective questions. Put the heat on yourself. Those tough questions like: Am I really working at a place that fulfills me? Do I like my job? The more you think about it the more answers slowly start to burst out of you. Deconstruct where you are. Look at the pieces and discard of what you don’t like. Start from the ground up building towards the life you want an know that it takes persistence. However, it’s worth it. You deserve to be fulfilled in life. We all do.
Here’s a link to one of my favorite songs by The Carters for some inspiration. Titled “Nice”
My wife and I went on a dream trip this summer down the Oregon and California coast. There were so many beautiful sites that made you stop and explore that we lost track of time. And I’m glad we did. I remember looking over into the pacific ocean while cruising on highway one with the wind blowing and the temperature just right. The sun was reflecting off of the water and it looked as if diamonds were glistening. Brightly. I remember thinking in that moment how amazing it felt enjoying this moment together. I also remember how great it felt to describe what I saw. It may not be a big deal but I don’t take that ability for granted because there was a time in my life I was voiceless.
Literacy not only changed my life, it saved me. It revealed new possibilities that never even existed in my realm of thinking. I was terrified of transitioning out of football. I didn’t know who I was. But because I committed to literacy I was able to find what I like and what I‘m interested in. And no. It wasn’t easy.
There were some days when I would start reading and only get through five pages in an hour. It was frustrating and I gave up a lot. But then I started to notice these very subtle differences. I found myself a lot more creative and a lot more curious. In conversation, I didn’t feel uncomfortable as I usually do. And the mental chaos in my head? I wrote it down and the pen and paper became tools of release for me. I could articulate how I felt. The benefits and byproducts of a life committed to literacy are endless. It gave me perspective and understanding. We’re only here on earth for a short time and every day that goes by, we come closer to death. That makes it really hard for me nowadays to squander my time. Simply because I know what I like and can focus on that and not the aimless and mindless activities that used to occupy my space. When you don’t know what to do with your time you usually worry about things that don’t matter. I’ve been able to worry less about the petty stuff and be more productive. But there’s no better feeling on earth than to be able to describe how you feel. Specifically your emotions. Amy Montanez, one of the authors of Life is Messy and Marvelous says, “if you can name it, you can change it”. Putting words with your feelings changes everything because now you can try to notice it when you’re experiencing the emotion, giving you the power to change. I still have my moments but, I’m getting better and it’s because of the antidote. The important skill that opened my world up after football ended. Literacy.
“Find your purpose or you’re wasting air.” -Nipsey Hussle
My dog, Mocha. She has shown me the beauty of the simple life. How to be more present in the moment. How to find the joy in the ordinary. Hell, the joy of just being alive. And because I follow her example I find myself less stressed. Less anxious. Less worried. A lot more rational and honestly, I do a lot less dumb shit. And that hasn’t been the case for most of my life.
She revealed to me how scattered my attention was and now I’m conscious of it and can identify my distractions. My wife, my dog, my students, reading, cooking, hiking, exercising, good movies, and my family. This is what I prioritize now. That list used to look completely different and would vary depending on the day. It took me a while to figure out what was most important in my life because I was always so distracted by shit that didn’t matter. And the shit that didn’t matter governed my life. It played a critical role in my thinking and how I spent my time. It’s kind of like my values organically manifested given my circumstances. I really had this notion that what people thought of you was important. Living up to other people’s expectations. You can say I was slightly obsessed with constructing an image worthy of acceptance. It had to fit the mold. The mystique around who I was portrayed to be had to be true, not who I actually was. And this created a mask behind all of the human things I struggled with. What’s crazy is that I didn’t even notice when it happened. This exhausting upkeep forced me to repress how I really felt and sucked the life out of me. I had no energy for the people that meant the most to me because it was spent pleasing strangers. It took me away from the important things. No agency over my life and lacking any type of self control, my existence was a performance. Going through the motions.
A little bit more aware now, I realize: We’re all just imperfect creatures trying to do the best we can in this complex world. I started to learn more. And when you know better, you do better. I discovered there was a hack in all of this craziness. A way out of this tiresome living.
When you simplify your life it gives you a lot more space in your head. A lot more time to actually think. Solitude gives us that one on one time with ourselves that we so desperately need in this noisy world. Feelings and experiences you’ve repressed start to arise because they aren’t being drowned out. And I get it, life isn’t easy. People have wronged us, we feel shame about a particular situation, the list goes on and on. Some things in life are just really hard to face. But I didn’t like my life so I gave myself no other option.
The things in life that distracted me have dwindled and keep dwindling because now I value solitude. Solitude forces me to dig. Digging and digging; deep inside myself. Taking that scary trip inside my mind that sometimes still swallows me whole. But I keep digging and discovering gold nuggets. Answers to the test. I found what was important by digging. I discovered what I wanted for my life and what I needed to focus on. I found that you don’t have to live by anyone else’s rules except yours. There’s freedom in that but, beware. Freedom ain’t free. Give yourself that structure and discipline and you can do whatever you want to do. Damn, thank God for dogs..
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery; none but ourselves can free our minds.” -Bob Marley