The Lump Sum – A Daily Prompt Response

Posted on October 26, 2012

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[In reponse to today’s Daily Prompt: Your blog just became a viral sensation. What’s the one post you’d like new readers to see and remember you by? Write that post.

Before I take a crack at this (because I would like to respond as intended and not as if I am answering a question), I would like to point out that this is no small feat. Gathering the essence of any individual into a portion sized offering is a profoundly difficult task, but I’ll try to accept the challenge. Without further ado… and after a few beers and some better music to get my mind in the right place…]

I have made more mistakes than I’ve succeeded. I’ve held on when I should’ve let go, quit when I should have pressed on and made good decisions for all the wrong reasons. I’ve pushed away people that should be in my life, I’ve maintained ties with people I no longer share any level of mutual edification with and I’ve just let go when I knew nobody would see or stop me.

To be fair, I’ve probably seen more of my fair share of hard times. (As this is not intended to be my biography, if you want to know more, feel free to buy the rights.) I once shared my story with a chaplain, and his response was “Good God, how are you sane?” if that gives you any kind of indication. I’ve weathered the storms and managed to maintain my sanity and my dignity when a lot of other people would’ve been broken against the rocks.  There was a time that I found identity in that, as a survivor, but as I get older, I find it more and more hollow and alienating. There is so much more to life than surviving and breaking even, despite the adversity; that should be the absolute minimum we accept for ourselves (and never for a sustained period of time).

I say all that to make something incredibly clear: I don’t write from a place of comfort. I didn’t start out from a place of privelege, and I haven’t yet achieved any kind of monumental success (both statements are wildly subjective, I know). I write because I believe I have to. I have been fortunate enough to learn a few Lessons along the way that have kept me intact, and I am fundamentally obligated to not only stay the course myself and validate my experience by learning how to overcome but to also record this journey and encourage others to do the same.

There are similar themes I will repeat often:

– You are not the product of people’s perceptions of you.
– You are capable more than you are now.
– Don’t dwell on your failures or successes; take the lessons learned from both and move on.
– If you’re still breathing, you aren’t done yet. Pick it up and keep moving.
– Be ready. The balance between fate and free will is finding the willpower to prepare for the unknown. The most damage done to us is not what events occur to us, but our unwillingness to prepare ourselves mentally, emotionally and physically during the calms. You don’t build an Ark after it starts raining.
– Discipline maintains us, but passion maintains discipline. Find what you love, find something meaningful to you and watch discipline take care of itself.

Regardless of faith, background or creed, my hope is to maintain a collective Lesson (my Lesson, my story, hopefully something you can learn from as you develop your own) that can resonate with anyone, be poignant and have flavor. Thanks for reading.

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