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