Majority of people have enough common sense and smarts to embrace and grow what they’re good at—while I’m certainly an individual of at least normal intelligence, I’ve spent the last decade mostly committed to going against the grain (against what comes naturally to me) to explore my interests, passions, potential, and who I am.
It’s been a privilege to have been able to search and discover myself through a plethora of experiences, adventures, and travels. I’d love to claim it provided me life changing truths and wisdom; however, as I find myself inclined to get back on the road I enthusiastically deviated from, I realize my journey in the pursuit of my interests served one primary and crucial purpose: A life of no regrets.
Good and Lucky
It was a regular day of madness at III MEF in Okinawa, when one of my Captains brought four people into the office for a meeting with the boss. I knew right away I had screwed up the rescheduling of the meeting for these folks, who were now crowding the small G-6 space I shared with the Communication Chief and clerk.
Fortunately for me, while the boss was technically on leave, he was on deck meeting with the Chief of Staff doing a quick turnover before the Chief left to go on leave. Additionally, the Operations Officer, who also needed to be in this meeting and happened to be on leave, was on hand as well checking-in for weekend duty. I asked the Captain to take the four men away to clear the office, while I waited for the boss to come back. I’d admit my mistake to him and find out if he still wanted to take the meeting.
Long story short, within 15 minutes, everyone who needed to be in the meeting were in the boss’ office behind closed doors and I was back to tackling my laundry list of to-dos. Crisis averted. I knew I was good at my job…but now, I realized I was also lucky. Even when I screwed up, things worked out.
I’ve never had such luck with any other endeavors I’d pursued in the last twelve years. None of my hard work had ever resulted in a lucky break—only heart breaks and disappointment.
Could I continue to deny where I strived and got lucky?
Aligning my Options
How much pain and suffering was I willing to continue put up with in order to get what I wanted from life, versus, accepting what life wanted out of me? And was there a difference?
For sure, I saw the difference. Alright, so maybe the last decade had provided me with some wisdom.
Or maybe it was that what I wanted from life and what life wanted out of me had finally lined up after exhausting myself pursuing every single other options…
Back in 2005, when I left active duty, there was so much I wanted to do, see, and accomplish. It didn’t matter my leadership saw tremendous potential in me and that I excelled at what I did. I wasn’t having fun, I was bored, and I needed new challenges. These new challenges led to failures, failures to lessons learn and new attempts—more efforts led to more failures. More failures led to different options and course corrections. All in all, this led to lots of experiences but very little achievements.
However, mixed in there was a constant stream of success every time I decided to serve in uniform. A point I never overlooked but that pestered me.
Nothing Left. Accepting my Path.
When I stepped on a small stage on a snowy night in Fruita, Colorado, last December, at the open mic night to do my stand-up routine—I crossed off the last thing I wanted to do/experience from my list. It was tremendously rewarding, but it also rapidly left me feeling lost. Now what?
I had nothing left to pursue.
Over the months that followed, having nothing left to pursue and another failure under my belt generated a sense of regret over the things that I hadn’t succeeded in. This ticked me off.
I desired, thought, or imagined it—I pursued it. That’s something. No one can take that away from me. I won’t take that away from me.
But what you’re (God/me/life) saying though is that it isn’t enough.
Alright. Now what?
At first I thought I was going through a midlife crisis (not entirely convinced I’m not). I’m about to turn 40, an age where I have plenty of solid years ahead of me, but no plan on how I want spend those years.
The defining aspects of the last ten plus years of my life have been the complete lack of consistency, normalcy, and regularity. They have been quite the experimental years, years in which I followed my heart, my curiosities, and interests. Years where I quenched my thirst for all the inklings of possibilities—I either tried and failed, tried and didn’t quite find it to be right for me, or tried and realized the timing wasn’t right yet.
In the end, what became clear was that I don’t care about wealth, status, or accolades. However, I do care about setting the right example, making a difference, and having a positive impact. I’m a great leader of Marines.
It’s not too late, but my time is running short to accept my path and grow what/where I’m good at.
In the next couple of weeks, I’ll find out if life is going to collaborate with my return to my original path.
Someone asked not long ago, if I thought we could be brought back to God’s original plan for our lives, or if in fact, we could completely derail it.
As await my fate, my answer is, we can never know with certainty what God’s plan is but when all else failed and one finds a place where good and luck intercept, it’s worth exploring what that might mean.