During my 20s, hunger for life drifted to desperation. Love was lost for lust. Unwittingly, I propositioned greed as generosity. My talent was destroyed by arrogance. I was an addict.
In my quest to dent the universe, I had crushed my own.
Much like New Orleans, my whole environment was on slow crumble. My tipsy distraction from fear became a oft-told scene where hoop dreams harden into a reality of broken existence.
I tried everything. With a driven history of improving myself, moderation was a common religion I preached but seldom worshiped.
New work, new hustle, new relationships, new home, new city. Scratch that, and try it all over again. Try everything but letting go of that one thing.
We all know our One Thing. Or two in my case.
All the complex truths helped me avoid the simple ones: Environment. My body. The things I put in it. The things I surround myself with, especially if not purposed.
When I turned 29, my eyes were opened.
Three years ago, I quit drinking and taking stimulants.
No longer would my heart need to be muffled. I could reckon with the pain. The divorce, the family, guilt. It was old, or I was older. Maybe stronger. Who cares, I couldn’t do it anymore.
No self-congrats here. It wasn’t courage. It was exhaustion.
It was life.
Life, the hardest thing at the worst moment.
Three years later. I knew things would change, but I could have never guessed how much.
There are debts I have paid back, more I have to pay. There are people who have forgiven, more that never will. Or maybe they will. Are you listening? Are you reading this? Ok.
That’s ok. It has to be.
At the end of the day, gravity still guides me where it wills. There are youthful wrongs I’ve yet to write. But at least my eyes are open.
These days, I wonder what I will learn in my 30s.
I will wake up, maybe with money. Hopefully in California. Surely with my baby.
But I will wake up with peace and joy for the day.
And that is more important than any dent in the universe.
Photo via my brother David Reece