We have all run into an old high school friend on the street or perhaps on Facebook and chatted them up. It is good fun to talk about the glory days of our youth, to reminisce about shared experiences. But have you also continued to talk to them to the point where you realize they are every bit a stranger to you as the man who handed your latte to you that morning?
I recently had that experience. I wanted to take the person by the shoulders and ask them where my old buddy went? I wanted to beg her to reach back and grab that person that she was…or become the person that she dreamed of becoming long ago in the days of her glory….in the days of our glory.
If you are in your 40s or older and you are reading this….look into the mirror today and see how close you have become to what you dreamed about at 18. Does your reality match the dreams of your youth? It is not too late…the train is leaving the station…pick up your speed…begin to trot…reach out your left hand and grab hold!
I saw a story once about Kyle Maynard, a young man that was born without arms and legs….I have never forgotten it. He had just won a tournament in wrestling and a reporter was interviewing him for a local TV channel. The reporter stumbled over his words for a few seconds…then spoke to Kyle saying…I am sorry, what do I call you? Handicapped? Physically Challenged? What do you prefer? Kyle looked into the TV camera and said, “after today, you can call me State Champion.”
That young man was in his glory and I have to believe that he continues to set goals for himself daily…and meets them. A person like Kyle is never stagnant, never un-challenged and always rises to meet them. If you think you don’t have any challenges in front of you…I am arguing here that you are not looking too closely at yourself in the mirror. If you have reached all your goals in life…make new ones today!
If I ask you about an accomplishment or goal achieved and you start talking about something that happened to you 5 years ago or more…time to start re-evaluating. I am hoping I don’t come across as preaching today….this blog is really a letter to my 18 year old self. If you read it and somehow benefit from it…if it lights a fire underneath your butt to go out and set a new goal today, then fantastic!
I am not talking about dropping that 20 pounds that has become a pretty good muffin top over the waist of your jeans. I am talking about the stuff that dreams are made of….the promises we made to ourselves in the beginning of our adult selves. You say, hey wait a minute, I cannot back-pack across Europe at this point. I have a family, I have bills to pay…I have responsibilities. Okay…be realistic….but set the goal and see Europe anyway…fit it to the person you are today…but don’t forget the fire in your gut that was there at 18. Don’t forget your true self.
I have been studying for the California Bar Exam recently…and plan on taking it in February of 2011. They only give the test two times a year…I won’t be ready for the July setting, so that is as soon as I can feasibly do it. I swore to myself when I took the Texas Bar years ago that I would never take a bar exam again…it is a true beast of an exam…3 days long. But here I am ….doing it again…a scenario has presented itself to me that it is logical for me to do it. Whatever happens from this point, I have set a goal to take the damn test! True enough, I could rest on my laurels and stay in Fort Worth….but we are attempting to re-locate to San Diego. I am not one to be stagnant either…the test gives me an opportunity to rise up and meet a challenge. A chance to re-invent myself….to see new landscape. My 18 year old self always wanted to live near a California beach….my 48 year old self is setting a goal to achieve that dream.
So there are my thoughts for today. Do me a favor…don’t look in the mirror and hate yourself or beat yourself up for not meeting your youthful expectations. Don’t think about the bald spot…or the extra weight…that is not what this is about. This is about recapturing spirit…dig deep.
Have a conversation today with your youthful self…..and listen, truly listen. Nothing is impossible…if a young man without arms or legs can become a state wrestling champion..nothing is out of your reach. No excuses!! Take the first step today and if you feel like it…let me or someone else know about it. When you put it out there…it becomes real. I am going to be 49 and watching the sunset on the San Diego bay….and I will have a California bar card in my billfold. What are you going to do??