Corn Dogs, Spaghetti, & Chili Dogs
I think it’s safe to laugh now. After all, six years have passed. I think I can look back now because there’s finally enough distance between the man I am today and the Space Cadet I was back then. With that said, I was very creative back then. I had to be since I thought managing money was so stupid. I allowed money to come and go on superficial things that quickly sprouted wings. The beginning of 2011 found me between jobs and places to live. I got kicked out of my place and I found myself sleeping in a friends closet for a couple of weeks. At least I didn’t starve while I waited on the world to change.
How did I do it? I learned that I could print coupons for free food. I was late to the party, but I made up for it. I remember getting a disproportionately large amount of my meals from free chili dog coupons, free corndog coupons, and free spaghetti meal coupons. The first two categories of coupons were especially lucrative. That’s because I could go to Wienerschnizel and order 2 corndogs and 2 chill dogs at a time for free. That’s right. Free. My other regular free meal was a spaghetti dinner with meat sauce and two breadsticks from Fazoli’s. There was also a free dessert coupon from Fazoli’s that I liked to throw in from time to time. Just because I was homeless and hapless, doesn’t mean that I didn’t deserve a slice of cheese cake every once in a while.
Why was everything upside down? I think it’s because of the restlessness that gnawed at my spirit. It’s the restlessness that lead me to stay up late at night taking in the people and places that are now smoky figments of my imagination. Like Dave Matthews penned in The Stone, ”I will run and I’ll be ok. I was just wondering if you’d come along.” It’s the restlessness that led me to hitchhike across the country twice. That could be it. I’m torn because it could be that I was just a lost soul dodging the deeds of yesterday and doing my best to shake the uncertainty of tomorrow. I didn’t know what to do and no one knew what to tell me. We’ve all been there. You know that place, the one where you look up longingly at the stars while you wait for one to shoot you across the sky.
I’m so glad I didn’t give up back then. More importantly, I’m glad you haven’t given up either. As I revisit those cold and lonely nights, I can’t help but feel grateful. I was so misled back then. I was the conductor on the if train. You know the one. If I can just do this, go here, meet this person, have this experience, or acquire this item, and everything will be alright. That was a lie, but a griping lie none the less. The unfulfilling nature of my pursuits almost led me to drive the train right off the tracks and explode in a fiery ball of wreckage. I was desperately searching for myself, my mission, and someone’s direction.
I’m happy to report that I found myself, I’m answering my calling, and most importantly, I’m standing on my own. I’ve started living and I’ve stopped just reacting. I have dreams, I’m executing against those dreams, and I’ve taken responsibility for the course of my life. I don’t wait idly while everything I want to do and be passes me by. I got off the bench and I’m in the game. What about you? Are you where I was then? If so, you can get out of there. If this former space cadet and immediate gratification addict can recover, so can you. You just have to get started.
Stop waiting on the ideal solution. It doesn’t exist. You’ve got to find yourself, you’ve got to embrace your calling, and you’ve got to stop waiting. Every moment that passes by is another one you’ve wasted. How do I know? I’ve been there. I made it out. I’m not perfect, but I am better. I am a million miles away from that lost soul waiting for stars at the bus stop. I’m not satisfied. I know a lot of people are still waiting. I want to help people see that they don’t have to be trapped in a prison of their own making. It doesn’t matter how dark and ominous the night may fall because the hope of the dawn arises fresh each morning.