Stay Woke

Day 17 and 18

I have come to realize I don’t always have the best view of a situation while I am currently in it.

While I was on active duty, in the Air Force, I fussed and complained. I remember wishing, most days, wishing it was all over and how stupid the rules were. PT was hard, and the running together was really ridiculous. Longed for civilian life.

While hiking Waimea Falls, in Hawaii, in paradise..I remember how much I hated almost every step during the hike. Hated hiking. It was wet, muddy, hot, sticky, buggy..and the list goes on and on. It took forever. What if I hurt myself on this stupid trail and had to be put on profile-because of a hike. I remember getting to the falls, after about 2 hours, and fussing because the water was too cold. I have about 4 minutes of good memories from that hike. Couldn’t wait for it to be over.

Now as a civilian, working for the Army, learning an entire new area of the law. Basically starting over, I gaze over the fence while former colleague make leaps and bounds toward academic history, and professional accolades.  I feel stuck. Or maybe just in slow motion.

Truth is my internal thermostat can’t be trusted. It can’t be trusted to make decisions based on what is going on around me-as it relates to perspective. It seems to only have a 10 foot (and that is being generous) view- at any given moment. It should not be given a vote on my emotional state– nor, in charge of any future planning.

Looking back, now, how I long for days of active duty. The pace, the comradery, the significance, the forced training and vector. The privilege and pleasure of serving. A member of one of the most prestigious legal communities in the world. Competed and selected for so many once in a lifetime opportunities. One was not allowed to just remain in one location, physical shape, mental state, or rank. Always moving forward. New people, new issues, new stress- new levels.

What I wouldn’t give for the ability to be able to hike one of the most beautiful places on earth again,…with one of my best friends, glorious scents, and heavenly views. I almost would give a kidney for either of these experiences back.

And these aren’t all. The list goes on… this is a personal epidemic. But those are the two that playback the loudest in my head.

How do I avoid repeating this same phenomenon in my everyday life? Or in this current season or the next? How do I make the most of every second? How do I appreciate the rain, the bugs, the perceived lag in purpose, or delay of a dream? The perceived monotony of parenting seasons? How do I treasure and appreciate each season for exactly what it is? Is that really possible? Or do people always regret when they look back?

Why is that? If regret is a constant factor, then how do you ever approach a new season?

I don’t think regret is a constant. I believe there is a way to live without regret. Not sure of the exact recipe yet-but I do know perspective is the primary ingredient. And so there it is …regret is a bi-product of looking back. Can’t trust it.

Instead of looking back, we have to look up. Look forward..knowing that what is in front is better than what is behind. It is with expectation that we approach each new season and each day looking for the new treasures. Keep your eyes facing forward — especially mentally.

All I know is that as I move into these next decades of my life, I don’t want to ever miss a moment or not be truly present while standing at a waterfall or selected to serve in the greatest Air Force in the world. I don’t want to miss any of it. From mundane to monumental. From minute to massive. Each second has a purpose and all of it working together.

For sure I’ll be physically present, but the difference between being awake in a moment and being woke in the moment — is your perspective in it. In that moment, how woke are you?

Stay woke.

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