By - Rick A. Griffith
Photo Credit - Dave Marrow
New Years Eve, December 31st 2003
I pried 4 red pills free from their packaging and slugged them down with a sip of Miller Lite as I sat alone in complete darkness in my room looking out at my neighborhood sullenly. The drug was Cordiciden, a cold & flu remedy that my brother and I had also discovered worked quite well as a hallucinogenic in higher doses during our latest bout with a head cold. The truth was that other than a plugged nose and a broken spirit, I was fine. This New Years Eve however would be a night that I wanted to forget, however looking back now it is one that I will always remember.
I was a high school junior, had many friends and a witty sense of humor. I was also an above average athlete though this fact got lost easily as my brother, one grade older than I, was a superstar in sports throughout our years growing up. I would have to be content with living in his shadow, something I had gotten used to.
Now before you slit your wrists let me say that I am going somewhere with this. Tomorrow all around the world we will be ringing in a new year once again. We will make promises and break them within mere weeks as we get distracted by our own busy lives and fall into old habits. Some of us however will make a change and stick with it. This is not because of our goal setting, will power or ability to enjoy a fresh start, though these things don’t hurt our efforts. Those of us who succeed in our efforts to make positive change in our lives will do so because for once a light went on and we stood up and proclaimed that we were sick and tired of finishing second, being mediocre and living an unfulfilling life. This moment I am referring too happened to me back on that cold depressing night in 2003 as I dosed off from a mega dose of cold medicine.
In the weeks leading up to the New Years Eve, I had begun building a closer relationship with a girl I had grown up with, (let’s call her Cindy even though those of you who grew up with me will likely know who I am mentioning anyway).
I had always seen something in Cindy even though she was not considered the prettiest girl in Elementary, Middle or High school. I always did have a keen eye for opportunity and talent, something that would prove true in this situation as well.
Cindy was very pretty but didn’t really come into her own until late in High School and thereafter. With this being the case, I had a shot with her being a popular although admittedly chubby kid growing up. We had hung out a few times and I of course had formed a stronger liking for her as I had a crush on her for many years growing up.
A few days earlier we had hung out at her house while her parents were out of town. It was a fun night of drinking and hanging with friends. I had invited my brother over to partake in the partying. We all had a decent night and I felt as if things couldn’t be going any better, I was content.
Later that week was New Years Eve. My brother and cousin urged me to come hang out, though they didn’t know what they were going to do at that time. I declined and instead decided to stay home as I was a bit plugged up and didn’t feel like drinking. At about 8:30 I got a call from my brother, Cindy had invited him over to hang out and he was very excited about this. Clearly I was not as enthused, however playing the role of a back up for most my life, I wasn’t about to ruin his party and instead decided to spend my night unconscious.
I remember washing down the few pills in an effort to get a little buzz and take my mind away from the turmoil I felt within. As the ceiling spun above me I made a promise to myself that I would no longer accept coming in 2nd place, watching anyone else live the life I wanted for myself.
The following 6 months I shed 60lbs of fat and got into the best shape of my life. I worked out every single day, ate flawlessly and learned how to take care of my body. Friends at school even mistook me for my brother at times and going into my senior year of high school I looked like an entirely different person, a far cry from the chubby kid I had left on that bed on New Year’s Eve.
I internalized the pain I felt, turning it from negative energy into motivation to never relent in reaching for my dreams and never live a life of mediocrity. It is one of the reasons that I still today prefer swinging for the fences and either striking out or hitting a home run in any venture I choose.
No I didn’t sweep Cindy off her feet, this after all isn’t a Hollywood production. In fact looking back I was quite immature to feel so hurt in the first place. We both went our seperate ways as communication dwindled, we were in fact going to two different high schools which made this easier.
Cindy went on to become a Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model and is currently dating(Update- engaged to) a Grammy Winning R&B Artist (told you I had an eye for talent).
While I can’t say I have the same flashy resume as her, I can say that this is something that taught me how to define a turning point in my life and set out in the direction of my dreams. I learned from this one defining moment how I could turn things around and become better.
What I learned more than anything is that in the end you will not be making a major change in your life for any other person. The only person that you can and should change for is you. When you reach the point of frustration in being unable to see the results you want in any part of your life, you must define your turning point and funnel that frustration into frantic action and eventual positive results.
So 2012 is here now. Have you reached your own turning point? Is there anything in your life that frustrates you enough for you to stop immediately and say, I am done!?
I hope you are. I know that I am.
Today is not for writing down crazy goals and forgetting about them next week. Today is a day to pause, reflect and take a deep look at what is wrong in your own life. This is merely a time to stop all the frantic madness of everyday life and declare your commitment to living a better life in the New Year.
I wish you all a very happy 2012 and thank you for following Living Bueno into the coming year. I hope this little story can provide a little kick start to help you light the fire that will push your forward, hitting the ground running into the New Year.