The past few days have brought me a few realizations that had not been completely embraced, until now.
Spending a good amount of time alone is something I’ve learned to deal with. For the past three days, I have been taking a break from work. As my wife has been working third shift and sleeping the majority of the rest of the time, and as the kiddos did their teenage things on the opposite schedule of mine, I have been doing things around the house that needed to be done. During those times, I have been thinking.
Thinking, or, overthinking, is not good for me. For the past three days, my deep thinking and over-analyzing has taken me into the places that get me into trouble. The anxieties were high. The triggers of stressors were not recognized, and nervousness consumed much of my time. I suppose that’s why I stay busy and focused on doing physical things, because the mental runs rampant when I’m idle. I have been diagnosed and treated with medications for the problem, but I sometimes question their aid. When I normally find myself going off on some dangerous path like the many I had found myself on within the past few days, I usually turn around before it gets too dark. But, I went down them, and I found that going down them had things to teach me.
I recently wrote an article about hope. It was something I was consumed with throughout the entire day yesterday. In the article, my true feelings about hope being a setup for one’s own failure came after finishing up a multi-part documentary about Michael Jordan. Man, could he play some basketball! Thirty years ago, I loved NBA basketball, especially the Chicago Bulls, so I tuned in. The thing I noticed throughout the documentary was Jordan’s constant need to be the best, in his own eyes and in the eyes of others. Great things, like the encouragement his parents gave him early on in life to give his all to his dreams, was intriguing to me. I sat and wondered why my life wasn’t that way growing up, and I realized it was because of the instability of my parents. As I watched the documentary, I saw the man work his ass off. Truly, he did. But, ultimately, he was never pleased. Never content. Always wanting more.
Competitiveness is something I’ve watched destroy the hope of so many. The end of the documentary was Micheal gazing out of the window and smoking a cigar, staring off into the ocean, giving his spiel about hope. I wondered what the hope he spoke of meant to him. What did it truly mean to everything that he is as a mere man? I couldn’t help but think that he only hoped for more than he had gained. You can watch The Last Dance and decide for yourself.
I have enough: Married, kids, house, vehicles, money in the bank, good job, retirement plan, and food. My health is pretty good. My wife has a debilitating disease that is managed with medications and her will to do the things that help her feel better. I don’t have that hope that M.J. had or has, and I don’t want it. When I watched Mike fail, he would push himself to the limits. He had to have MORE! He had to bash his teammates, himself, and he had to ravish in the luxuries of gain.
Hope was a lesson this weekend. Competitiveness was, also. Those dark paths I had wandered down while thinking deeply about both had me comparing myself to one of the greatest basketball players ever. But, as I emerged from my dark path of overthinking, I realized some things about my reality:
I don’t need hope, and I don’t need to compete with anyone, including myself.
Too much emphasis has been placed on both throughout my life. When religion was introduced to me, both hope and competition became much worse than it appeared to be for Michal Jordan as I watched his story. Hope was placed in a God sparing me from eternal damnation, and competition was a malady unto myself; the constant fight of not giving into sin.
Well, I failed. Still do, daily. Always will.
So, hope is gone, and even more so since realizing that I can’t please the God of the Bible. Competition is not healthy when it is abused, and unfortunately it was in my case. Also in M.J.’s case, the way I see it.
So, the hell with trying to place hope in anything. Screw competing with myself. I’ll go about life and strive to sit and peer out of my own window, watching the ocean crash and bring threats one day, and calm waters beneath azure the next. I’ll smoke my own cigar. I won’t, “be like Mike,” and I sure won’t continue to beat myself with such a zeal of righteousness the ego longs for men to have.
I will be glad in my place.
I just do what I do within the moral compass. I’ll grow, and I sure won’t punish myself along the way.