Shattered Dreams from a Harsh Reality
I was talking to my friend Anthony Piper the other day and he said something pretty profound that stuck with me. He said, “as a kid you think you can do anything in the world. Your possibilities are infinite. As you get older, you kind of get smaller and smaller, and see the limitations.” That felt so true as I looked back at how I thought my life would go compared to how it is now. I joke around a lot about sleeping on couches, not sleeping at all, living off of McDonald’s and 7-eleven pizzas, etc, but it’s true. I could admit that those aren’t the healthiest choices, but what would you expect. Given the situation, those are the most cost effective options available.
When I was a kid, I also thought that the world would be mine for the taking. Hell, I thought that all the way up until a few years ago when I hung up my cleats for good. I was under the assumption that everyone in the workforce wants an ex-athlete with a Master’s Degree in three different areas that has also been published over 200 times. The reality is that no one will hire someone with no job experience. That was my harsh reality. Over the course of a few months, my confidence when from being the peak of Mount Olympus to the boroughs of New Orleans. It seemed like I had no one to blame but myself, and even that was hard to do because I really did accomplish a lot up until this point. My big critique is whether everything was worth it or not. I feel like I didn’t allow myself to reach my full potential because I wanted to accomplish more in life than being a good football player. Almost every day, I look in the mirror and judge. I judge the ignorance. I judge the over confidence. I judge the very essence of my being.
Life has gotten a lot smaller for me. My outlook on life has gotten smaller. I understand that I can’t do everything because life has shown me that I won’t have opportunities to do everything I want to do. Whether it be because of money, stereotypes, lack of experience, or whatever, I see why people give up and settle. Not a day goes by that I don’t want to quit everything I am doing right now and finally rest. I can’t though. I won’t. I can’t. I am fortunate to have a father that has continued to push me through this. He has been there for both of my surgeries to not only recover, but get back in shape to continue to play football. He has also been there during the dark times I have had while I figure out my life. Financially supporting me to move to LA and then Portland, connecting me with valuable contacts to start a career, or encouraging words of wisdom to keep me going even though he has no experience doing what I do. He is the epitome of the ultimate support system.
It’s interesting because I see myself in a different light than people do. People that follow me and my work look to it as inspiration, but I don’t. I don’t really see my story as inspiring. I kind of jump into things without thinking them all the way through. I’ll claim that I have every possible outcome planned out, but when the sh*t hits the fan, I realize that I was vastly unprepared. The only thing that keeps me going is my dad cheering in the background, and my unrealistic drive and work ethic I developed from playing sports. Essentially, I have taken “L” after “L”, and I am just trying to break even in the wins-loses category. I’m into deep to give up or allow myself to fail.
Create and Conquer!