I was living a nightmare. It was a bad rendition of George Thorogood’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.” I was in my late 20’s. I had a decent job. But with all the debt I racked up from the Army, I was struggling to get by. Every cent I earned hardly covered my living expenses. It certainly was not enough to get ahead. I was miserable and saw no light at the end of the tunnel. Instead of buckling down and proactively doing something about my situation, I took what little money I had, bought some booze, and did my best to check out from reality.
I wanted to get better, yet I didn’t know how. I was stuck at the bottom of the pit I had dug for myself with no visible means of escape. Life was miserable. I was miserable.
Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound. -James Allen
My external situation was dire. The person I had become was one that I did not like. What I needed was a miracle. And that miracle, it was one that only I could provide. I needed an internal miracle. The process was slow. It began with letting go of the past, then I had to remove the shackles of an uncertain future, and finally I had to concentrate on the present.
To affect the external, one must look at correcting the internal. If not, one might remain bound by anxiety.
I have been holding a little stress lately, and I think I can even feel it in my midsection. This stress is the culmination of many different things, mostly the things which haven’t even happened yet. It is an uncertain future, and it is affecting my mind today.
The choices of my past have led me to this. It is good that I reflect on the past in the hopes of not repeating it tomorrow. But once I give its the due measure it deserves, I must let it go and move on. It is one of the core tenets of my philosophy. It is also one of the hardest ones to adhere to.
On the way home from Parkour practice, my son asked me an interesting question. “What is Space Force,” he asked. He saw the flag during the National Anthem at the beginning of the Superbowl. I told him it was an attempt to get back to where we used to be. As a nation, we once used to be at the forefront of space exploration. But the years went by, the funding went away, and eventually so did our preeminence.
“Oh,” he said, “I thought it was to keep the asteroids from hitting the planet.”
A fair point. We then discussed our inability to stop such cataclysmic events. Our conversation ranged from asteroids, dinosaurs, ice ages, super-volcanoes, and floods. They happen every so often. And no matter how great or advanced we think we are, there are some things we cannot avoid. Seeing as how they are out of our control; we can’t worry about the possibility of them occurring in the future. We must live in the present.
It was a simple run-of-the-mill talk we had, but I wonder if he can do it. Can he live a life in the present, free of the shackles that are attached to the past and the present? I hope he will be able to. I hope there will come a time that I may be able to do it also. I am not there yet, but I think I am getting closer.