I sat at a park recently, which was very busy - and I watched the world move around me. People scurrying back and forth, going about their lives. Mothers holding young children's hands, fathers playing games with their kids. Young lovers holding hands and laughing at their own inside jokes, and older couple still staring at each other with love and longing. I saw faces of happiness, and I saw faces of defeat. I saw frustration from some people. I saw the everlasting smiles of some, and the permanent pain that some of us will hold for our entire lives. I had one of those moments again where the sheer size of life and living, with its varieties of emotions, situations and destinies all collided in my mind, and I thought about my place in it all.
So, yesterday, when I coupled my thoughts of that poor young man who passed away at 35, but accomplished so much in such a short time, the beauty and heartbreak of life's all encompassing power, and my own place amongst it all, I re-remembered something I try to hold dear in my own heart: and that is, everyday, to honestly try to be a better man. A better person. Some days, the leaps you make to better yourself and your place in this world are huge - you make a large difference in not only your own life, but by your actions and presence, you make a large change in other's lives. Some days, the change is small - miniscule, but intimate. In the end, it still matters because even the slightest variations in the patterns can echo in ways you never find out about.
It's not about being perfect, but it's about knowing that you can always be better. I don't always achieve it - I have so much to go. I suffer from a lot of self-loathing, and a lot of bitterness in some ways - but I also suffer from a glut of wonder, and awe - and I know these extremes well. I'm happy when I can find some time in the middle, but I know I can learn from both ends of the spectrum.
I'm about to turn 37 next week - two more years than that extraordinary young man got, and almost 12 and a half more than I could have got. I know that in the rest of my years, I'll be trying my best to be the better man I want to be - bettering myself by never giving up learning and thirsting for knowledge. By never striving to be more kind and helpful to others and myself. By tempering the darker parts of myself with the part of me that laughs at the sheer joy of it all. Every day isn't going to be roses, but I accept that, and I try to make each day the best it can be. I'm going to fail on some. I'm going to fall BIG on some! But I'm also going to succeed on many. I'm going to live hard, love harder, fail bigger, and win more. I've been a very fortunate man, blessed with amazing family, incredible friends, and the greatest wife and partner I could have ever hoped for.
I don't think I'm ever going to be some large cultural icon hero, but if I can change a few lives in my life time, that's better than to have drifted through it doing nothing at all.
Plus, I'm going to go fishing more this summer. I never catch a damn thing, except for good friendship and some quiet contemplation. I like that better than fish, anyway. But I do love casting me a good line into the lake, with that hope that I might catch something amazing that day.