Every year summer ends, but life goes on. I’ve always found reflection useful, and it helps me prepare for what’s ahead, but also allows me the ability to relive choice sections of history. This year is no different. Instead of my normal summer reflection, I want to compose my list dating back to the first of the year, because I’ve slacked on writing and want to cover more.
This list reflects decisions, observations, realizations, reactions, and general feelings. I usually go for 40, let’s see how far I can make it.
1. For the 26th consecutive year, I have been drug-free, cigarette-free, hospital visit/stay free, and STD free.
2. I haven’t consumed alcohol in 3 years.
3. I can locate the Big Dipper no matter where I am within a few minutes.
4. I’ve been in business for three years now, and still going.
5. I drove to the hospital on a cold winter morning not knowing what I would find, with nothing but thoughts of life without my brother rushing through my head.
6. Foo Fighters – Times Like These
7. I have not played a single inning of softball this year.
8. I filed the second lawsuit of my life. The case begins in September.
9. I got to see all of my children on Father’s Day weekend, I’m happy for that.
10. My glass is always half full.
11. Before you ask me about my lifestyle or feel like accusing me of something, look up the definition of “Straight-edge” then look at the back of my right arm. It’s a lifestyle choice, not a gimmick.
12. The gym remains my sanctuary.
13. I listened more than I spoke.
14. I created a flag football team and entered a brand new league, a very enjoyable experience.
15. I spent over 24 consecutive hours with my three closest male friends, something that hadn’t occurred in over 3 years. I would gladly go to war with any of those guys.
16. I cried for the first time in 3 years.
17. I’m so consumed with finding my own happiness, that I would never spend even one minute trying to take happiness away from anyone else. Everyone deserves it.
18. I made sun tea, was given a blue Gatorade, and fell in love.
19. I found a passion for baseball again.
20. By my own admittance, I’m not always the best father to my children. Circumstances sometimes dictate how much time I spend with them, and while I can’t change that, I can put my best foot forward for them.
21. Clayton returned to New York and we drove 4 1/2 hours to a wedding and had a blast. I’ve only ever been to two weddings: both relatives of his and obviously both with him also attending.
22. I found Jim randomly in New Milford at 11:30 at night.
23. I hate admitting that sometimes I may need help. I always try to tackle my problems head-on by myself and try never to lean on others or make my problems theirs. Going against this and after much thought, I saw a therapist. I can’t say it was a bad decision.
24. I have been ridiculed all summer long because someone I knew started a 1 on 1 fight, lost that fight, and now whines that I didn’t help them.
25. Not every day is going to be a good day, but any day can be the best day.
26. My age. Clayton said to me this summer “Hey man you realize we will be 30 in a few years?!” I do realize that, but I feel great every day.
27. I’ll never be the biggest guy in the gym, or the smallest. But there is no one I would trade bodies with.
28. I cut my own hair for the 11th consecutive year.
29. I haven’t had soda in 10 years.
30. It will take more than a rumor-laced Instagram post with 33 likes, numerous comments, laughable physical threats, and undeserved gossip to ruin my mood, day, week, month, year, or life.
31. I haven’t done nearly as much fishing as I thought I would this year.
32. I’m not jealous of any human being on this planet.
33. I didn’t accomplish any of my life goals this year. I did, however, think of a few more.
34. I had a semi-long conversation in person with both the father and brother of an ex girlfriend at a jobsite. While our relationship didn’t necessarily go smoothly, it’s nice to know that people are above holding grudges. Life’s too short for foolishness.
35. I went to Atlantic City for reasons other than celebrating my birthday or my brothers.
36. I wake up every day and try to be the best person I can that day.
37. I don’t have a hard time looking in the mirror. No one is perfect, least of all me.
38. I mass deleted social media apps, phone numbers, friends, followers, etc.
39. I go to sleep every night and wake up every morning happy. It’s been a long time coming.
40. While I own a cell phone and use it daily, I could survive just fine without it.
41. People ask me almost weekly how I am in the shape that I am. My advice always starts with the same first line: Step 1 is showing up.
42. Other than those closest to me, I don’t care what anyone thinks about me.
43. No, I am not part owner of Under Armour.
44. It takes far less energy to be a good person than it does to be a horrible one.
40. I am 26 and have 3 young children. I also have a caring, understanding, compassionate, loving girlfriend who isn’t mother to any of them. After spending months and months working, going to the gym, and coming home to sit on my ass and sulk, someone finally kicked my door in and gave me an opportunity. I’ve always been afraid to walk out on the limb again, for fear of it breaking and being hurt. When the courage finally surfaced, I walked to the edge and learned to fly.