I have been in relationships. I have been out of relationships. I have had a score of different jobs. I have traveled thousands of miles. I have seen California and I have seen the Caribbean. I have cried myself to sleep. I made out with an Irish singer in a bar. I have laughed until my stomach hurt. I have met amazing people and created friendships that have deeply changed me. I sat at the top of the fort in St. Augustine and I have contemplated my life. I have made memories that I will never forget.
Life can be beautiful and terrible all at the same time. There are things I wish I could change and things I’m grateful that I can’t. It can be hard, it can be easy, it can be fun, and it can be frustrating. It can stretch you and break you and push you and fulfill you. You can see the highest of highs and the lowest of lows all within days of each other.
I love stories. I spend a ludicrous amount of money on movies and books and CDs. Why? Because they tell stories. What I am constantly reminded of through these outlets is that people love stories. They love to see the underdog win or the guy get the girl. People love to see the wrong righted and justice prevail. They love to see people helping people and they love to see the tenacity of the human spirit.
Life is a story. Chapter by chapter, season by season it is being written. Year after year we develop as a protagonist.
But this story doesn’t have a team of writers making sure that we make decisions that resonate with the audience or that push the plot forward. I think this is where I get stuck sometimes. I think if I only I were more valiant like Maximus or romantic like Noah, or hell, even funnier like Wash, that my life would be more fulfilling. I would wake up ready to face the world every day. But I am the writer of my story. I have to make the judgment calls. I have to choose between the options. And I have to live with the consequences.
One of the greatest lessons is that everything rises and falls on perspective. Inevitably a person will find what they are looking for. There is beauty to be seen as well as tragedy. It is all a matter of focus. I have missed some of the greatest moments of my life simply because my focus was in the wrong place.
All that matters is what I am choosing to see. Am I seeing the beautiful things in my life? Am I seeing the laughter of my friends? Am I seeing the moments that will still bring smiles to our faces when we look back at them in twenty years? Am I seeing the moments that will change me as a person, pushing me to be better than I am, to be more compassionate, more honest, more trustworthy, more loving? Or am I unintentionally victimizing myself at every turn, longing for things to be different, and wishing I had more of this or that I could change that?
I know I am mid-story. I know there are still chapters on chapters of my life left to be written, many a scene left to shoot, songs left compose. There is a masterpiece that someone will look to for inspiration; a classic that will change someone else’s life for the better. That is the perspective that makes for a fulfilling life.
I wish that for each of you. I want you to wake up every day fulfilled and eager to see what you may encounter. I want you to anticipate the people you will meet and the stories you will get to tell.
Because you deserve it. Whether you believe that or not, I believe that and I believe in you. So go write your masterpiece. And maybe, hopefully, I can play a part in it.