The world needs better men.
Who can you be that will serve the world’s deepest needs?
I sit here mashing at the keys in no way a perfect man. In fact, I believe that if you think you are the perfect man…well, theres one problem with you right there. This blog is not intended to be an instruction manual on how to be a better man, but rather my own journey towards becoming the man that I have always wanted to be. I have had my excuses, my failures, my successes and shortcomings, which have all led me to this point. Sitting in front of you, listening to the patter of my fingers on the keys. I have always loved writing. Even though I will be blogging this, I will still have my Moleskin, the overpriced lined diary which I immediately fell in love with not because of the quality of the book, but rather because of one statement. “The legendary notebook of Hemingway.” Anyone who has ever seen a moleskin would understand. The thought of writing in the same type of notebook as Hemingway or Fitzgerald is enticing…it almost drives you to the bar and nudges you to have three or four and see what you could come up with while intoxicated.
I sit here mashing at the keys, 5 years later, an imperfect man. Yet, I love that about myself. I love my flaws and intricacies. Without them, I would be far less dynamic. This doesn’t mean I don’t go to work on them every single day, but I do accept them as a part of me. I accept the shadow inside of me, the dark part that howls in the depths of the night. Sitting in front of you, listening to the patter of my fingers on the keys, I realize however that I am a changed man. While imperfect, the changes that have occurred in my life throughout the years are too many to list in this single post. I wasn’t aware that I would reach this place – the place of needing to make a decision – but I’ve realize over the past few days that the last 5 years of my life was a gigantic 1st draft for what is to come. This idea is almost intoxicating to me. And yet, I’ve fallen in love with it.
But I digress. This blog is my 30 day attempt to break all the bad habits I have ever had. Each day, I will go through one thing that I believe that is crucial to my development as a man, and hopefully along the way, you will get something out of it too. I have always wanted to write down the things that matter to me most. Trust me, I’ve been through hell. I can show you vouchers. But there is something very calming about being able to look back on the times when you thought you weren’t going to make it out alive and realize that you did. When I was going through the worst of it, someone once told me “God only gives you as much as you can handle.” This one phrase kept me fighting for the duration no matter how tough it was…because I knew, that this was my test, my challenge, and I had to get through it.
My writing has become as fundamental to me as the blood that runs through my veins. Without it, I feel off balance, lost, and to be completely honest…something feels like it’s missing. The days where I don’t come to write when I know I have something to say feel like I have held something back. This feeling has a emptiness to it that effects me deeply. In light of this, and patterns that I have fallen into over the past couple of months, I am coming back to the table with a new vision for this story I am about to write. My second draft. There are some deep changes to be made. I’ve kept this quote in mind throughout the years and it has never left my side…”God only gives you as much as you can handle.” This one phrase kept me fighting for the duration no matter how tough it was…because I knew, that this was my test, my challenge, and I had to get through it.”
I was asked a very interesting question a few months ago. “Evan, what do you stand for as a person?” To be honest, I stared blankly back at them, not because I was confused by the question, but because I really had no idea. “What the hell do I stand for?” I thought to myself. So I did the one thing that I have been doing since 2nd grade…I made a brainstorming cloud. Trust, loyalty, determination, perseverance…you know, words that sound good on a resume or entries in the thesaurus. Overcoming setbacks…staring down fear…no, no, no, no…..And it came down to me looking back on a few of my favorite quotes of all time. The first is from Rocky Balboa. Yeah, I know, Rocky right? Despite the lisp and the hard to get past lingo, he is quite an impressive director/writer/ Heres the first thing I live by…and if this doesn’t tug at your heart strings a little bit, well, we will work on that in a later post.
Throughout the years I’ve come to understand that it was the grueling times spent in the ditches and shadows that taught me some of the most fundamental lessons I would ever learn. Most of the time, there were never really any words that defined those lessons. As hard as I tried to put them into words they continued to escape me. What was left however was this feeling in my body – a body sense. I knew that something deep down had fundamentally shifted and that there were going to be resulting tectonic movements in my life. That feeling has never failed me. As a writer, my life is surrounded by words. Yet…there are so many things that defy those words themselves. My greatest tools can often render themselves obsolete in the face of what I am experiencing.
So what do I stand for? Well, this is more of what do I want to stand for from now on. After thinking about it long and hard, I finally found it. Never Quitting. This stands for everything. Never quitting on: relationships, tests, myself, classes, workouts, books, working on myself, friends, promises…the list goes on. For me, this is a very measurable aspect of my life. I can tell whether I quit on something or not, whether I gave up or kept going. There have been events in my life where I have given up and quit, and even thinking about them now I get nauseous. But now, knowing what I stand for and it being at the heart of my character, I will try my best to never stray from that value. Challenge yourself to never quit on anything during that day. Find what you stand for and let it drive your life.
My “why” goes beyond a few words. My why…the reason why I continue working and moving forward no matter what bubbled up exactly when it needed to. I come to the table every single day because I want to stand as a living representation of the possibilities of dreams. I want to give others permission to dream as big as they can and to chase those dreams like a crazy man chasing happiness. It goes beyond never quitting. It goes beyond passion. It goes beyond love. Whatever “it” is, it runs deep, connecting with a current that has existed for all time.
“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
For years, this quote has applied and will continue. The advice is right on, and today, I’m at a place where I must really stop to look fear in the face and be able to take on the next thing that comes along. I have done it in the past and there’s no reason why I can’t do it now. What is coming exactly? I have an idea…but there’s much left to be discovered. There’s an entire adventure out there waiting for me.
Welcome to the second draft of my life.