Who am I am and what have you done with me?

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2014 at 7:46 pm

I have been reading a book that was written by a career minor league baseball player who finally got his shot at the Major Leagues after playing six years in the armpit of the Major Leagues. It is well known that life in the minor leagues are filled with long bus rides, junk food and the constant fear of being cut from the team due to poor performances on the field. For 40 days this player experienced the opulence of being in the Majors but also felt the incredible pressure of being under the microscope of millions of eyes watching your every move.  This experience turned him into someone he was not.  This normally fun loving guy now snapped at his fiancé, found himself drinking more and was questioning the confidence that he always had in himself.  It wasn’t until he had a huge fight with his fiancé just two weeks before their wedding that he realized the big leagues changed him into someone he wasn’t.  He had spent so much time trying to achieve his goal of pitching on a Major League mound that when he finally made it, he could do nothing more than worry about staying there.  A bad outing on the mound, a sideways look from a baseball veteran or even a harsh word by an opposing fan caused him to second guess himself and question what he was doing.  The dream he realized was certainly not the dream he had in his head since he was a small boy.  All those hours of hard work and all his lofty dreams did not measure up to his expectations and made him into someone he didn’t recognize when he looked at himself in the mirror.

This story got me to thinking about life itself.  Growing up one dreams of being a baseball player, a scientist or even a fireman or policeman.   You have wild eyed dreams and you know that fulfilling these dreams are going to give your life satisfaction as well as happiness until the day you die.  The suddenly life hits.  You realize you either are not the student you need to be or you discover you hate science and will never be a scientist.  You realize you cannot hit a curveball and your dreams of wearing a Major League uniform are crushed or you realize that being a cop could be detrimental to your very life. In short, life happens and dreams are thrown out like yesterday’s trash.  Depressing isn’t it?

I have spent a good deal of time in the last year thinking about unrealized expectations and a life that may have failed to live up to my childhood dreams. I guess turning fifty years old may do that to some people and I certainly am no exception.  I am now looking back to take inventory of my life and see if my current life measures up to who I thought I would be when I dreamed years ago.  I am a father, a husband, a son as well as a college graduate.  All things I hoped that I would be when I “grew up”.  What I am not is a home owner, a millionaire and a first baseman for any big league team that would have me, all which I just somehow knew would come true.  Some of my childhood dreams were certainly attainable and some not but that hasn’t stopped me from mulling these dreams over and over in my head and wondering what went wrong.  Like the minor league pitcher I couldn’t help but be disappointed in who I had become even after seeing many of my hopes and dreams come true.

After spending a year literally thinking about who I am and where I have been I have come to the realization that I want to reinvent myself as I enter the later years of life.  I have decided that I have become literally fat and lazy, not only in my daily activities but in my mind as well.  I admire those who are much older than I who continue to attend college, try new things and make a difference in their own lives even when they are much closer to the end of their own end than they are the beginning.   It is obvious that playing for a Major League team will never happen at this point but I might find just as much satisfaction coaching Little League baseball as I would have playing ball.  Saving money to travel and see grandkids or see sites I have always wanted to visit will help round out a life I know I never dreamed of as a child but now long for as an adult. 

That baseball player I spoke of would eventually realize that attaining his dream of playing big league baseball was not at all what he hoped it would be.  The money was great but the expectations were immense and much more than he could bear.  He would continue to play baseball for a few more years before hanging up his glove and spikes and walk away from the game as a player.  After a good deal of soul searching he had finally realized that there was more to life than what he had dreamed of as a child.  He has reinvented himself as an author and broadcaster and has seemed to find much more reward in these roles than he ever thought he could.  He found happiness where he never would have dreamed he could. He allowed himself to think outside the box and look for opportunities in other areas and found satisfaction where he never thought he could.

Finding satisfaction in an area I never thought I would is now my new goal.  At the age of fifty I am not dead and can do so many things with my life.  I am married to a great woman and since my children are grown and I have a college degree in my back pocket there should be nothing that stops me.  I think I have been so focused on losing weight and what this change would mean to my life I have lost focus of where I wanted to go.  For so long now I have told myself that my life will start when I lose enough weight that everything has been on hold until that day arrives.  Like that baseball player, it was so easy to celebrate my success and too easy for me to get down on myself with my failures.  I let the lack of weight loss overwhelm me and derail any plans I may have had for my future.  No longer can I allow my life to be dictated by weight loss as I have too many interests that are waiting to be experienced to be hampered by one aspect of my life.  Make no mistake, weight loss is one of my top priorities but is not THE top priority.  I have a life to live and allowing myself to have other experiences while I lose weight will help relieve the boredom of the life I have created for myself.  Like that ball player, I need to get into a new frame of mind and look for opportunities where I would have never looked before.  I need to reinvent myself and decide what it is I would like to do with the rest of my life.  I may not become an author or a broadcaster like that former baseball player but there is little doubt I can find just as much satisfaction in what I find as he did in the life he is now living.  Now it is just a matter of getting this new life started and heading in the right direction. 


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