In the quiet morning hours, I consider the life altering moments of my past. None have driven home the importance of living life to the maximum effect more so than the first headless body I saw in Iraq.
They strung it up by the shoulders from an overpass. Like Dorthy from the Wizard of Oz, I soon discovered we “weren’t in Kansas anymore.” We were from Texas, but you don’t see many folks hanging decapitated from overpasses there. The gruesome nature of what I saw forced me to realize my mortality. “Crap. I should’ve lived my life to the maximum! I may not survive this ordeal.”
I survived. However, I fell right back into the trap of prioritizing my career above my family. It wasn’t long before I valued possessions over people. There is nothing wrong with being driven, ambitious or any combination in-between. Soon upon my return from the sandbox, I cluttered my life with needless things.
What exactly are needless things? Anger, hate, and a lack of balance. I exercised no restraint upon my life. Events would occur and I over-reacted. How often did I overreact? All the time. There was no middle ground.
If I could pass on a piece of advice to my younger self, it would be this: Live your life uncluttered. Surround yourself with good people, those who will encourage you, love you and stand by you through thick and thin. Let the frustrations of life pass you by. Don’t react to everything that occurs. Sometimes, you are better off not acknowledging that something has occurred.
Now, it’s day two of the hostage situation, i.e. work. Let’s go get ‘em. Be safe out there.