Never Stop Not Stopping
This photo was taken 7 years ago. I had moved out to California after graduating with my bachelors degree in aerospace engineering, ready conquer the world and chase my dreams.
Although, what that really meant was I was going to buy as many toys as I could and party all the time.
It wasn’t all shallow though, as I did invest in myself through a variety of channels, learning more about my underlying potential (usually through difficult conversations with friends and coaches who had to smack me around a bit and tell me to grow the fuck up) and developing my abilities in areas like leadership, confidence, public speaking, sales, engineering, storytelling, and seducing the pants off of anyone if they didn’t come to hate me first (the latter was much more common).
My twenties were filled with more great memories than I could ever recall in a single blog post or possibly even a book. I used to say that I lived more in my twenties than most people did in their entire lives, but in addition to those great memories were also several years of darkness. The first half of that decade was me exploring my innocence and naïveté, while the second half was exploring the consequences of acting so rashly upon that innocence. I spent years wandering through darkness, ashamed of who I had become, guilt ridden by hurting someone I loved because of who I had become, and crippled by the pain our selfish behavior had caused. I didn’t know who I was anymore, let alone who I wanted to become, and I don’t know if there is any worse combination of feelings than to hate who you worked so hard to be while experiencing a pain so intense for months on end that you don’t know when or if it will actually end.
When you hate who you are the normal advice for getting through pain doesn’t apply. I couldn’t spend time with friends because my friends expected me to be the person I hated. I couldn’t pass the time with work because I was unemployed and the only thing I knew how to write about was the lifestyle I used to lead as the person I hated. If I went to my gym I was surrounded by people who expected the old me, and if I went to a different gym I couldn’t find the motivation to give a shit.
Well, as you can see I’m not dead, and I did indeed survive my hell to rise above it and pull myself out of the darkness I spent all those years in. My core is the same, but how my soul expresses itself in this world is drastically different. While my friends were enjoying the last years of their twenties I was wondering if those same years were going to be the last years of my life.
But here I am, writing this from the city of San Salvador in El Salvador, a place I never imagined I would visit because it was never on my radar, let alone be invited into someone’s home, be served dinner, and find a new friend in Central America.
This is not a post about following your dreams or quitting your job or traveling the world. This post is about handling what life throws you and moving forward.
Just don’t stop.
When things are good, be grateful they are good and charge toward something, ANYTHING — take advantage of knowing you’re in a good place!
And when things are not so good, try with everything you have to take at least one step forward every single day. It might not feel like progress at the time but I promise you once you pull yourself out of that shitty place you will feel so much better about that small amount of progress than had you done nothing at all, potentially wasting months or years of your life waiting for someone to give you a second chance.
You are the only person capable of giving YOU a second chance. You are the only person responsible for your happiness. Regardless of what life throws at you, you have all the power necessary to succeed and be happy — never give that away to anyone or anything.