Life is like running. I know this, I've written about it before. But as with most things in my life, I have short memory—usually only when it comes to the important stuff though, chances are if we had a face to face conversation inside the last 25 years I could probably recount—verbatim—what you said on that occasion, and just to freak you out even more, could tell you what you were wearing. Weird, I know. So the running thing.
I was in the Black Forest, Germany, this past weekend. Rad place. I hit the trails, had dinner with friends, and headed over to Switzerland to catch up with enlightened folks there... Good times.
We also had dinner with our Syrian friends who have been going through the refugee process with the German government and the system is working for them. Granted, they still have family back there and would like them to be here in Europe. Currently there is no way around that apart from them having to wait a year and half to go through the paperwork process. The other alternative is a four thousand km journey—one fraught with border and sea crossings, bribes, and high danger for women especially. Yeah, not too fun to think about your own family going through it.
Yesterday morning I was on my way to the airport to meet my buddy, Tim, who was on a 24-hour layover in Paris. Three seats in front of me, a guy sat down who looked exactly like Lionel Messi (arguably the greatest soccer player ever—not a fan of the game but the guy is an artist with a ball). He was a little plumper than the world's finest player and he definitely didn't have the boyish smile of the man with the golden boots. My first thought was of worth.
On Saturday night, I watched The Force Awakens with my son. It wasn't my first time. I'd seen it on a flight from Atlanta to Paris at the beginning of the March. This is no big deal. I'm sure hardcore fans have thrown plenty of dollars into the Disney money chest to see it a couple of times. Only thing is, I don't like Star Wars. Loathe it, in fact.
Last week I turned 39. I woke up to a heartfelt note from a dear friend, much love from my wife and kids, and went to work. I came home, ate sushi, and relaxed. All in all, it was a great day. Contrasting it with last year I was hyper-charged with a book launch (Happy 1st Birthday, The Second Lap) and a 50 mile race. I was in achievement mode. It felt right for the time.
Five years ago I was newly divorced and homeless. I had to start my life all over again. One of the biggest obstacles I faced at that time was finding an apartment. Actually, finding it was not the problem, having the funds to rent it was another story. I have lived in other countries and it is pretty straight forward, but in France (of course!) it's very difficult. The agencies stipulate you must have three times the rent—which most couples will just about be able to cover—so the agency/proprietor will not get stiffed. Basically if you look good on paper then you're in.
Hustle. It seems to be le mot du jour. At the beginning of the year it popped up in every feed or motivational piece I saw and it ain't showing signs of abating yet. Then again, The New Year is always like that. Subscribe to my mailing list, take this course, you are guaranteed to succeed if you give me $140, etc, etc. It's everywhere.
If ever I was to be in a crowded room and asked the question, “Tell us a little-known fact about yourself,” I would reply, embarrassingly, I don't have a driver’s license. I am very aware that many people would say, “Oh, but you live in Paris and don't need one,” or, “It's probably just expired and it's a simple case of just some formal paperwork.” The polite response on my part would be, “Heck no, bro, I've never had a full driver’s license in my life!”
I'll dispense with the faux I don't normally do a summary of the year, but... or, well, that's another year in the books... and just write down a few things that stood out for whatever reason in 2015. It was a year of two halves. Like two sides of the same coin, one shiny, one dark and smudged. Like the Harvey Two-Face character—Aaron Eckhart-style in The Dark Knight!
Every year this day brings different emotions and stages. Year one was awe. As in, I seriously cannot believe I didn't drink a drop of alcohol in 365 days. It's a miracle!
Year two brought pride. You're really doing this dude and life is super-sweet.
Year three was all about being comfortable in my own skin and the beginning of deep healing from past wrongs.
Year four was about mentorship and taking addicts under my wing in an attempt to say, Hey, this is totally doable, don't freak out. Take it one day at a time.
So what can be said of year five. Two words: Survivor's Guilt.