All I really wanted for my birthday was for it to hurry up and come around—and a baseball mitt. Hey, when you’re seven, a year is a big chunk of your life, and I really, really wanted that mitt. I knew exactly what I wanted, and it wasn’t that cheap plastic kind the stores tried to pass off on parents who didn’t know baseball. I wanted a real baseball mitt, a Spaulding, like the big kids used in Little League. Do you have any idea of how long a kid has to wait until they become nine years old? That’s the minimum age to play in Little League—that is, if you’re good enough. And how do you get good enough without a good baseball mitt?
It’s interesting how precious those dreams are when you’re young and how time seems to move so slowly. Well, I finally did get a catcher’s mitt made of plastic. I didn’t tell my parents that it wasn’t a real baseball mitt and the only way it would hold a baseball was if you glued one into it. But, slowly, the time passed, as it always does. Slowly, ever so slowly, seven turned into eight. Yes, I finally did get a real baseball mitt. It was a used one that I traded some of my stamp collection for.
Nine finally came and went. No talent scouts came looking for me, and I never got to wear a Little League uniform. Sandlot baseball was great—until I fell in love and forgot all about it. That was at thirteen! I was short and skinny and couldn’t wait to grow. She was a woman of fourteen, yet I was still a child. Nature is so utterly amazing. Time seemed to move differently for the opposite sex at that age. I wished I were older; if only I were at least sixteen! Romance had taken its wings and flown away.
Well, it seemed like I lived a lifetime between thirteen and sixteen. Now, if I had a car, or a driver’s license, I could make my dreams come true. Shucks, that meant I needed to be eighteen. Well, eighteen came and I wished I were twenty-one. Somehow I associated that age with manhood and independence. Well, twenty-one seemed to arrive faster than eighteen, and I soon discovered it also meant a lot of new responsibilities. Now, if only I had a few more years of experience to put on my resume!
By the time I got the wheel of my life rolling, I began to wonder if there was a way of dialing down time. Do you ever feel like you’ve spent your life in fast-forward, hoping time will move quicker so you can catch up with your dreams? There I was, chasing my dreams at a hundred miles an hour and I saw this big brick wall. So, what did I do? What any guy going into a midlife crisis does: hit the brakes really hard! I skidded to a screeching stop, stared at the two big smoking question marks I’d just left on the pavement, and asked myself, “What’s this racing all about?”
Those tire marks are the big questions we should have asked years before. That day is the day when we look into the mirror and scare ourselves by seeing a face we barely recognize. It’s the day we recognize that the speed of our downhill ride has blurred the scenery to the point where everybody becomes a face in a nameless crowd. Whoa! What a ride! It’s also usually the day when we make a decision to get into shape physically, mentally, and spiritually, and begin to re-evaluate how we really want to live.
This is the same day that you vow to sober up from an antiquated model of what living is supposed to be all about. It’s the day you finally make a commitment to live by your own standards and stop postponing your happiness with false promises, including old ways of thinking and behaving that no longer serve you. It’s no longer a matter of what others think about you, but of what you honestly think about yourself. It’s about getting to know—really intimately know—the person you are! It’s about the reputation you hold with yourself and your determination to make it a really good one.
Listen: the time is going to pass whether we like it or not. Today is the only day you’ve got to make a difference, and the moment you make that decision, you will affect the lives of everyone you know. Go, for this day is too precious to waste; do not squander your life! Live now this day to its fullest and you will live with no regrets! Live authentically! Live as if your life were a work of art! This day belongs to you!
Reflections from Turtle Lake!
P.S. If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to please check out our new website Illuminating-U. When you sign up you get an eBook from Katrina and a video from me, plus lots of other goodies. Enjoy!