In Memorium of My Past Self
A lot can change in a year.
I’ve gone from steadily employed at one of the world’s biggest sporting organizations to a one-man business with little more than a logo and average website (I swear I’ll get to it soon).
Once perpetually single, I’m immersed in a more-than-serious dating relationship with a girl who still seems too good to be true.
In my past life, inspiration and desire to write was plentiful, restricted only by my (irrational) internal obligation to focus on my job instead of my own thoughts. Now I find myself at my computer with time to spare for the umpteenth time in months, struggling to recall those burning thoughts, experiences, and topics I was once so desperate to share.
The Lord spoke to me last year. He told me to write. To share my story.
Boy, have I been unfaithful to that.
Reflecting on that urge, I sat to write this morning. Perhaps I could rekindle what once was. This just might be the one that sparks multitudes to come.
As I opened my computer, an old friend inquired about samples of past work to help them in a new job. A quick excursion through my unkempt Dropbox archives evolved into a long journey scouring tombstones of projects that once consumed me. Decks up on decks, Excel documents, content plans, boastful recaps, rate cards, and more. With each peek, an old memory resurfaced, some bringing joy and others pain.
The 2013 NFL Draft is a particularly fond memory. Though the players’ success is debatable (okay, underwhelming, save for that one game), working for the St. Louis Rams for that week was life-giving. Desperate for a playmaker, our front office traded up to nab Tavon Austin, the draft’s most exciting player, with the 8th overall pick.
Per my recap, I tweeted 125 times that night. I also did this:
What a day. What a far departure from my new self.
I dreamed of working in sports throughout my entire upbringing. Not yet a teenager, I bought a sports management text book on eBay to prepare at a young age. I started blogging and taking ridiculous classes like “Baseball GM & Scouting” in high school.
I dreamt big: Writing for national publications. Winning a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks. Representing a National Governing Body on the world’s stage.
Somehow, someway, I accomplished all of those things 10 months shy of my 26th birthday. Truth is, these jobs, these “accomplishments” defined me. They were my worth.
Last year, the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics declared the average life expectancy for Americans is 78.7 years. With more than 50 (Lord willing) trips around the sun separating me from human death, there had to be something more. It was time to refocus my life.
I’ll save the detailed account for another time, but I recently found a prophetic journal entry penned in Rocky Mountain National Park in 2016 in which I wrote:
“I wonder how I can leverage my skills and passions. Could I start my own consulting business and have the flexibility to move around? For more adventure? For more space? How can I tell stories? How can I use my faith? How can I learn from others? And when do I start?”
Here I am doing just that. I have a business. Beyond my apartment lease, there’s nothing requiring me to stay in Chicago. Though Nebraska is “not for everyone,” I’ve entered the territory five times in the past five months alone. I’ve traded in stories of athletes for impactful tales of churches and ministries. I’ve held more coffee meetings, read more books, and attended more conferences than ever before. I’m well on my way and things are only getting better.
I recently read a reflection by Ken Helser in Cultivate Vol. II: The Clarity Winter Brings which brought definition to this era:
“A righteous man learns to live his life according to the four seasons of life. He knows spring is for planting, and the righteous man plants daily the good seed of God in his heart. Summer is for growing, and the righteous man tends the garden of his heart well, weeding and watering and caring for the plants so that when autumn comes, there is a great harvest of fruit. Life well lived. And that harvest is what brings on blessed winter, that season of rest in God that makes for the new seed of the Spirit to be planted come springtime.”
Despite the many micro seasons, nuances, and weather, recent months have proven to be a long, yet necessary winter; a season of rest and renewal. A season for hunkering down, staying in, and being intentionally present with those I love.
This season has also doubled as a funeral for games, private planes, championship parades, and more. But with that sweet death comes an opportunity for the new seed of the Spirit to be planted.
Good thing my girlfriend loves plants.