Why Anything is Possible & How Croatian Stingrays Can't Kill Me
It is Monday night, 2:04 AM.
I guess it is Tuesday morning. The serene ambiance in my dimly lit living room is a welcome reprieve, though I know in a little over 4 hours, my 3 year old daughter will make that all too familiar plop out of her crib, and sprint into our bedroom, shattering this peaceful aire with utter fierosity in the 12 pounding steps she takes each morning before swinging our door open.
I do not mean to make this sound like I am bitter, but hopefully you get the picture, I am not a morning person. However all is quickly forgotten when she comes over to my side of the bed, sheepishly grins up at my squinting and clearly annoyed glance and pours out "good morning daddy".
This is how she gets me every morning and though I would like to yell, throw a fit, turn over and catch another hour of sleep, she knows I am hers at that moment and cartoons and breakfast are in her near future.
This is a chapter in my life that is being written daily as I succumb to normalcy and responsibility that I had previously avoided more than entusiastic mormon kids on bikes. The time to wonder, get lost, live each day in the moment and plunder and pillage though foreign lands without an agenda is gone.
I am realizing that these are the roots I need, the support that I am building in order to keep from toppling over and losing the life I am building. I realize that building a great life, a family and leaving a legacy requires this sacrifice and a temporary stay from the many vices that ones laid seige on my existance.
This is the post "find yourself" period, I now know who I am.
I've learned what makes me great, what I suck at and that just because you know what you want, doesn't mean that anyone is going to hand it to you, or even help you get it for that matter. This may be the truest thing I've written since I arrived home from Europe a few years back. I remember at 25 saying that "I feel old, but not wise tonight".
Yet tonight I feel grown, matured, stable and ready for more for the good things in life. Gone are the frustrations that drove me around the world in a search for myself. I've realized that there is for many of us, no "big break" where someone we idolize runs across our ramblings and decides to become our running mate, propelling us to fame and riches.
It simply does not work that way for the majority of us. Humans are by nature selfish and opportunistic, especially the successful ones.
That is ok though, I feel at peace with that knowledge.
What is even better than the aformentioned scenerio, is the empowerment that stems from building a stong business, a strong family and a great life all on your own through real tough times, with very limited assistance. This has really taught me how I need not be dependent on anyone but myself, that I was good enough to replicate this success, reguardless of if I went bankrupt tomorrow and had nothing. It is pretty damn cool to realize that you hold all the pieces of the puzzle, and you alone can play them as you like to build whatever life you see fit.
In the summer of 2011 I stayed at a hostel in Berlin, Germany. It happened to be the peak of allergy season and I would wake up each morning scratching my eyes out and sneezing uncontrollably every few minutes. I decided to instead of braving the elements and grab some allergy medicine, I would simply drink enough beer to forget about it. Shockingly enough, this method actually worked quite well.
In my weeklong daze in Berlin I met an Irish backpacker by the name of Micheal Craig. Mikey was slight in stature, but made up for it in personality, cussing out more than a few of the stuck up Germans we encountered, much to my enjoyment of course. But Mike wasn't just a hot headed young lad bulldozing his way through Europe. In all my travels, he seemed to be one of the deepest and most caring guys I encountered. The type of guy I'd want in my corner in any fight, even if the odds were insurmountable, I would never have to question his loyalty, or willingness to take it all the way, a rare quality these days.
We roadtripped down through Prague, Budapest, Zagreb and Split and made a nightly hobby of buying the local beer at a corner market and taking late night booze walks though cities we had never seen. No directions, no maps, just freedom and great conversation.
I feel like I learned more about Mike in our few weeks together than I knew of most of my friends back home.
One night in Split, Croatia we went down to the city beach late at night and walked out until the water was to our shoulders, the dark night sky streching above us and the water dimly lit by the flickering lights of a nearby beachside nightclub. Mikey's drunk ass thought he saw a stingray, so we cautiously, drunkenly stumbled toward the object. I talked shit to him, saying he was a pussy and it was probably a tire or a left behind swimsuit.
As we got even closer I saw a tail and there was a darting of sorts through the dark water toward us.
We ran like hell all the way back to shore, screaming loudly like school girls that just saw a spider, splashing our way to shore, laughing our asses off.
It was this beach but night time
As we looked up, the nightclub was letting out and a long line of locals, expats and traveling partiers were exiting staring, pointing and laughing at us. Mikey appeared to give about as much of a shit as I did and we proceeded to call eachother queers among other things for our failed manliness in securing a stingray as out Croatian souvinier.
This was life. Moments I could never replicate, things I will never forget.
Tonight I understand that these are the kind of things that mold you, that drive you forward. On that day I had nothing, scrapping by to buy a plane ticket home a few days later. If I lost it all, I might just end up back on that beach, or on another one before building everything back again.
You cannot buy that moment. You can put yourself in a great position. To enjoy your daughters smile every morning, learning to love the grind everyday, knowing that you are building something great. There will be more moments, more accomplishments, more trips and more work. It is all cyclical.
Balance is essiential and it is something I struggle with daily with work, life, family and memories of the great days of freedom. But living a great life requires equal parts of all these things. The days before I stayed in that Hostel and met Mikey I remember laying in the top bunk in a roomshare in Berlin depressed as all hell that I had made nothing of myself, feeling alone and lost halfway around the world as I wrote this post.
Nothing is as big of a deal as it sometimes seems, most depression you will face is merely a temporary choice. We are capable of nearly anything. If I can travel the world on a shoestring budget, make new friends in every place I go, come back broke, move a few states a way, find an amazing woman, become a great father and build a successful and profitable business from scratch, I can do anything.
I can lose 60 lbs, pay for a wedding entirely on my own, become the absolute best at what I do, be a great husband, brother and son and forge a legacy that survives well beyond my alotted time on this earth.
That is what I am going to do. Great experiences are waiting both here at home, as well as in foreign lands I now know nothing of. The choice is only mine to make, this is my empire to build, my everlasting freedom being created every day with every decision I make to move forward, continue learning, growing and seeking the greatest things this world has to offer.