Changing your life is filled with peaks and valleys. That’s for damn sure. It’s a dance between looking forward at a brighter bulb and looking backwards into the dark. It’s the stuff that’s back there that can keep the light burning bright for years to come.
It’s a very delicate balance.
For me it’s about ownership.
Owning my shortcomings, my limitations, and my successes.
Today I want to own a number. I’ve opened up about most everything on this blog, with the exception of where I was at the start of this change.
They say you need to hit rock bottom before you can make a change. I’m not sure if I was there or not. But, I can tell you this, if I wasn’t there, I could certainly see it’s shadow.
That’s what I saw flashing back at me on January 2nd, 2014.
I couldn’t believe it. I knew it would be high. But, I never expected it to be that high.
Standing in my bathroom, staring down at the scale I had a short debate. Part of me thought, “you’ll never do it, why try,” and the other part of me said “do something, anything.”
It reminded me of being in England when I was in my twenties. I was studying modern British drama in Essex. Myself and a friend of mine were sitting on back of the residence we were staying in, smoking. (I’ve since quit. Ten years next week in fact.)
Anyway, this guy came up to us. Clearly stoned out of his trees. He sat down and rolled a joint of hash that was about the size of one of those novelty pencils you see in the stores. Bear in mind it was in the middle of the day.
At one point he raised his eyes, which were more like darkened craters that sunk deep into his face, and he asked “do you guys smoke crack?”
Both of us, at that time, being from Newfoundland, had never met anyone who’d smoked crack, let alone tried it ourselves.
“No,” I replied.
“Oh, it’s a shame,” he muttered. “It’s fucking brilliant.”
Which was quite a counterpoint from everything I’ve ever been told about crack up until that point.
“Wait here,” he said. “I’m going to go fetch some.”
Off he toddled back to his, well… crack house, I guess. Only to return with a box of 24 beer, stubbies if I remember correctly, and — yeah, you guessed it — crack.
Now, I’m going to be honest with you here. In university I may have experimented a little. Well, probably more than a little. A lot. However, I’d never EVER done anything like that.
His exact words were, “here, smoke this crack.”
And for a moment, I had this thought where I said to myself “crack hey? Hmm.”
And then my upbringing slapped me in my face and I responded “naw, I’m good man.”
He then spent fifteen minutes trying to aggressively force me to smoke crack. But I won’t bore you with that. Just know that the quote of the whole day was me saying to him, “no man, crack’s awesome, but I just ate.”
The point of that story was that I chose correctly that day, had I not chosen correctly my life would have been completely different right now.
And, it was the same that day back in January, when I stood on that scale and saw those numbers staring back at me, there was no choice to make.
I wanted to fight. I wanted to live. Because even then, in the darkness of that realization, I knew that I was filled with light.
And so what does 415 mean to me?
It was, as Gladwell calls it, a tipping point. One that sent me charging in the right direction.
And so here I am, seven months later, and each day burning ever brighter.
And I’ve only begun dancing.
PS. For the love of God, don’t do crack.