Maybe all one can do is hope to end up with the right regrets.
— Arthur Miller
The problem with so many self-help/motivational books and websites is that they always document things after the fact. It’s typically some guy — usually in his 30s — telling us how his life used to be and what he did to change it. Worse, many of the examples simply don’t resonate, at least not with me.
For example, just yesterday, I watched a YouTube video that focused on LeBron James and how hard he worked to become the great basketball player he is today.
I’m sure he did work hard. But James is also 6’8” and 250 pounds. I stand 5-feet, 8-inches tall and weigh about 200 lbs. While I’m all for positive thinking and a can-do attitude, nobody is going to convince me that, even if I outworked him, I’d be a better basketball player than LeBron James — or even any good at all.
Frankly, I find that attitude kind of insulting and have often wondered how many people are doing things they are ill-equipped to do, simply because they were told that, if they worked hard enough, they could accomplish anything. Well, personally, I’m glad Albert Einstein wanted to be a physicist instead of the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics.
Then there are people like me — folks who don’t know what they want or what they want has changed.
When I was a senior in high school, as part of a class project in home economics (yeah, that was still a thing when I went to school), I wrote a letter to myself, detailing my hopes and desires for the future. The letter was mailed back to me five years later.
This is what I wrote:
Although it took much longer than expected, I achieved all my childhood dreams.
At the age of 40, after a series of mind-numbing jobs and more disappointments than a deep-sea diver in Nebraska, I began a career as a writer — first as the sports editor of the Moffat County Daily News in Craig, Colorado and, then, as a freelancer, specializing in both business and sports. Eventually, I became the editor of USRacing.com, where I continue to work today.
A few months ago, at the age of 51, I set a personal best by bench-pressing 405 pounds — twice.
Yet, I’m reminded of the words of the great Les Brown, who said: “Most people fail in life not because they aim too high and miss, but because they aim too low and hit.”
After much soul searching and months of unhappiness that I blamed on everything and everybody, I realized I was one of the people Mr. Brown was referring to — and it was making me miserable.
Hence, this website.
It is my goal to document my life’s journey over the next year, as I attempt to redefine my life goals and find the happiness that has, thus far, eluded me.
Of course, the risk with an adventure like this is that I may not find any answers at all. My journey may end in a big pile of nothingness or it might conclude in a totally unsatisfactory way — perhaps with me living in a van down by the river (for those of you who remember that old Chris Farley bit on Saturday Night Live).
Regardless, I think it is a project worth pursuing, if only because it is real. As the poet Robert Burns noted, sometimes our best-laid plans go astray. There is no script that I am following, no ending that can be sculpted to fit a message I wish to convey — because there is no message. There is only an attempt to understand, an attempt to learn and a burning desire to avoid falling deeper into life’s abyss.