One year and five days ago, I wrote a guest post for an inspiring writer 3,000 miles across the country. Since then, he and I have both moved — him to Hawaii and me to Maryland — but I ended up traveling back to that post the other day looking for some sort of marker that signified a monumental shift in character for myself. I wanted to see how far I had moved since then, in an attempt to measure the seismic shifts of my wanderlust after years of suppressing it beneath the floorboards of a basketball court.
I reread the guest post, hoping to achieve relief from having stepped back out on the court again last week, only to realize that my competitive spirit did not show up and I lost by default. The vacant space before me mirrored my emptiness, indifferent to what my life had been like then. The disconnection I felt for a former life was startling. Sure, I was glad I no longer had to endure those years, but to lose everything entirely made me feel washed up, as if I had never even had that experience. I was a ghost with nothing better to do than to make the floorboards creek.
Still I wondered: is it possible for an event to define you years in the future? Yes. Perhaps it has everything to do with the resulting confidence. Despite not being able to fully comprehend what had happened there, I have been equipped with an arsenal of human behavioral cognitions to enforce my decisions with a sharper clarity and hidden authority I would not have developed otherwise. They serve as the dog-eared pages of reference, the talking points I use to shape this new narrative as I live it. Somehow, I now had a self-written strategy manual nestled underneath my rib cage, next to the liver, I suppose. Where all the most toxic things your body swallows get reworked, refined and flushed out. It’s the power plant that kick starts the digestive process. Finally, I had given myself awareness for this particular process, regardless for how long it would take me to understand. At least I knew, without a doubt, there was a system in place to help turn lost potential into some sort of overwhelming fulfillment. Best to measure by the ground beneath your feet. And, the shoes you wear.