I knew Joe, but I really didn't know him. Joe was one of those guys who you didn't mind talking to. For me there aren't too many people like that. In fact I normally avoid most acquaintances since I'm not one to waste time on the bullshit and I'm sure most people feel the same way.
Like I said, I knew Joe but we weren't friends, of which I have about 6. After all, he was 30 years older than me and when we first met he was my gym teacher. I would later reconnect with him in a little role reversal when I was his karate instructor. There I was a kid in my early 20's and him in his 50's fighting the years of wear and tear on his hips and knees trying to pick his leg up to kick. At the time all I saw was him at face value, a nice man with bad hips and knees. What I didn't see was the 90mhp collegiate fast ball pitcher, the Vietnam Vet, the Marathon Runner, Triathlete, Cyclist, Soccer Coach and father of three.
One of the sign of maturity is when you don't just see someone at face value, but you see them for what they are, the sum of their parts. You consider the experiences that make that person who they are. After all there was a time where that old woman was on the cover of vogue and there was a time when that old man could run a 4 minute mile. With this wisdom you also realize that there will come a time that all things wither and die. You finally understand that nothing is permanent.
You also learn that life is about the experience and life is happening NOW. You understand that TIME is the ONLY REAL COMMODITY and anything that causes you to waste it better be damn important. You can't get time back and it doesn't matter how much bank you have, we all have the same amount of time to spend. That's why it's crucial you don't waste a second of it.
The only way not to waste time is to follow your instinct. When you follow your instinct everything fits and make sense. When I was young, I thought I knew what I wanted. I had to go to a good college, get a good job, put on a suit and go to work like the rest of the successful people in the world. Unfortunately my instinct told me differently. I hated every second of it and it wasn't until my mid 20's that I started to abandon perception and follow my passion. Which lead me to where I am today and believe me when I tell you, I have a great life.
New Years is a time of celebration and resolutions, but for me, it's just the opposite. It's the only day I reflect on the past. It's kind of like a thanksgiving only without the overeating. I don't make resolutions on New Years, I save making resolutions to every day. Every day is about resolutions, planning and doing. Yes, 99% of the things I do never work out the way I planned them, but all of them have lead to something better.
Listen, if you don't like your job, the way you look you either accept it or change it NOW. But you need to take care of this right away or it will never get done. You will never have enough money or be stable enough because there is always some other distraction ready to absorb your resources. You need to make the change now and figure out the details on the way. Don't spend a minute doing something you regret and don't be afraid to fail.
Joe lived a life on his terms. He basically had four full careers while he was on this earth but most important, he did the things he enjoyed.
Life has a way of pointing the way.
When I was a kid I might have had an opportunity to play professional football or even wrestle in the Olympics, but a knee injury side tracked me. At the time I though it was the worst tragedy in the world (yep, I was 17 what the hell did I know). As I grew a little older I discovered that being a pro athlete might not be the best career choice. Most of them are only a few years long and you don't make a enough money to sustain a lifetime. Chances are you will retire before your 30 and then have to figure out how to parlay that into a career in either coaching, broadcasting, or some other sport related endeavor. In other words, you still have a whole life to live. Oh and you are probably so banged up that you will have problems sleeping and walking for the next 60 years.
My good friend (one of the 6) almost made it in the rock and roll business, is beginning medical at the age of 39. What are you doing next month? It's never over until you're in the box my friend. You're never too old, too poor, too fat to start anything, you're just too lazy.
Like Red said in Shawshank Redemption, "Time to Get Busy Living or Get Busy Dying".
New Years resolutions are for failures, make a resolution to yourself every day. Don't take any crap and please don't live a life you hate that grinds you to a pulp and makes you old before your time. You might think it's easy for me and I say yes it is, it's a lot easier than you think.
The SEALS say, "the only easy day was yesterday". Well the only good year was last year, and next year could be worse, if you don't make the best out of right now. If you make the best out of right now, those moments add up and who knows, you may even put a life together.
Live Honestly and Happy New Year,
Damian Ross, CEO The Self Defense Company
Damian Ross is CEO of the Self Defense Company and developer of The Self Defense Training System, the most lethal and effective self defense system in the world, The Guardian Defensive Tactics Police Combatives Program, 60 minute Self Defense and the Family Safe Program. Mr. Ross also founded the Self Defense Instructor Program that helps people develop their self defense careers from the ground up. Mr. Ross is originally from Ridgewood, NJ where he was a High School Hall of Fame Athlete in football and wrestling as well as a varsity wrestling coach. He then went on to Lehigh University where he was a varsity wrestler and football player. Mr. Ross has 3 black belts, 4th Degree in Tekkenryu Jujutsu, 2nd Degree in Judo, 2nd Degree in Tae Kwon Do. In addition to his martial arts experience, Mr; Ross spent 8 years in the professional security and personal protection business. He is internationally recognized as one of the foremost authorities in reality based self defense.
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