FourteenÂ months later I am listening to Empire State Of Mind (Feat. Alicia Keys) again and thinking about how different my life is from what I thought it would be like as a kid.
FourteenÂ months ago I spent a Saturday night at my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah reception and watched him, his siblings and friendsÂ partied. Â Thought about how different things were for them from the life my children were living but not because I think theirs is better, it is just different.
That Saturday night in New Jersey the DJ played this song and the kids sang along with it but it was different to them because the city isÂ realÂ to them, a place they all visit on a regular basis. These kids know Ground Zero in a different way from mine because it happened to a city they know. They have a different sort of connection, nephew tells me he knows a bunch of kids who lost family on 911.
Fourteen months ago instead of flying in from the West Coast as I always had done I flew out of Dallas because Texas was home. The flight was short and the time change was nothing but the feeling about being a visitor was the same. Fourteen months later I look back and realize that Texas always felt like home, maybe not quite the same way as Los Angeles but home nonetheless.
Misty colored memories floating past my eyes make it clear to me that I knew that night everything had changed for me and that if I was going to become the man I want to be I had to do more to step into my future and be the master of my destiny.
The Master Of My Destiny
â€œBe not the slave of your own past â€“ plunge into the sublime seas, dive deep, and swim far, so you shall come back with new self-respect, with new power, and with an advanced experience that shall explain and overlook the old.â€â€• Ralph Waldo Emerson
I used to be a creature of habit who had become so comfortable in my routine I saw little reason to deviate from it. That doesn’t mean I didn’t see things I wanted to change, that I had no goals because I did.
There were things about myself I wanted to improve and parts of my life I wanted to change but I saw little reason to consider going elsewhere to do any of those things because it was all available to me in Los Angeles.
It wasn’t until I moved out of state that I realized I could do it all elsewhere too and that it might be a smarter way to do things. If the goal was to become a better storyteller and the kind of writer I have always wanted to be it makes sense to open the door to more experiences and to do so in a place that lends itself to living an easier life, at least from an economic standpoint.
But it also makes sense to follow Emerson’s advice and not remain clothed in the finery I had become accustomed to. I don’t need to be a royal or live that way unless it serves the purpose of being the master of my destiny.
What Does That Mean?
What that means is doing what it takes to continue to live a life that fills my heart, soothes my soul and makes me feel like I am alive and not just passing the days.
It means not letting fear and uncertainty about what could happen shackle me to the past.
These are not easy for most people and not easy for me either. Circumstances forced me to take a hard look at my life and make some changes.
Maybe it was the universe pushing me to follow a path or maybe it was just me stumbling onto it. Either way it doesn’t matter because you can give a drowning man a raft and it is up to him to grab it and swim to shore.
Being the master of my destiny means I accept the responsibility of making the changes that I have to make to live the life I want. It is that simple.
No risk, no reward. You either take a chance and see what happens or live with the consequences of never knowing what you might have done/been if you had tried.