My first indication I had a sense of what the future might hold for me: I was 4 years old and wanted to be a garbage man. I would open the hatchback on the Pacer and chuck garbage cans around.

Then I was 9 and I wanted to design spy vehicles. Oddly enough, most of my drawings looked like mini-vans since they were the best way to get aerodynamics combined with utility, especially with those sliding doors…but I digress.

When I took a drafting class my Freshman year of high school, I discovered a love for designing buildings. I was going to go into Architecture and the world seemed like I was on track.

November 1995 – Halfway through my Senior year and my mom gets shot in a hunting accident. “ALL PLANS FULL STOP” – This was the first person to show up in the Committee of My Mind, a Captain Ahab of sorts…little did I know.

Before that moment, I never understood how I had a checklist in my head. I would go off to college, do all the things, probably love and lose, see the world, and all that stuff.

We seem to grow up with someone’s checklist in our heads. Most of the time we believe it to be our own checklist. If we think about it, we might realize we’ve become a pirate and stole bits and pieces of everyone else’s lists.

Then Captain Ahab takes over and for awhile we find ourselves as the crew, taking orders from the world around us while someone else seems to give the commands.  The only problem is that Captain Ahab is crazy and sometimes he just disappears and we don’t know who’s running the ship.

Then we look around and realize, “Dammit! I’m the only adult here!” And we remember the beginning of this path and how we were 19 and were going to fix the world.

But we’re twice that age – and the world feels more broken that it was.

So we throw our sucker in the dirt and hope someone else picks it up. But this is your time, your one shot on this rock, so you gotta do something. You have to change.

But I haven’t grown up yet

That isn’t the worst part of this – the worst part is the fear.

Fear of the unknown. Not knowing what I am capable of. Not knowing if I can sustain success. Not knowing if this is the right path.

And it scares me. So what do I do? Keep fumbling into the vast expanse of the unknown in my mind? Yep.

Because I don’t want the other choices – to regret more than I have already, to live with the idea “I COULDA BEEN A CONTENDER”, or simply because this life I’m trying to design is to be the best life. I have seen the impact we can make on others and how they can carry that forward to help others.

My simple drop in the bucket is three amazing kids looking at the world with new eyes. Friends who help me challenge all of us to find the better part of “me”.

That’s what I want. To leave this rock a little better than I found it. It might not be the grown-up version with checklists…but it’s the one thing that keeps me moving.

 

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