I love watching documentaries especially ones that are about sports and life lessons you can learn. I was thinking about ones that I have watched that have really touched me and one has really stood out. That is the 30 for 30: Survive and Advance. It is the story of Jim Valvano. I am not going to recap it but it does make you think about life and everything we have around us.
I have struggled lately with depression and anxiety and when I think carefully about what really could be the cause, I come up with a simple answer. The funny thing about the answer is it is what I am really struggling with and struggle to understand. What is it? What are the things that make the world work? What motivates people? What makes people do the weirdest, strangest things? Love and Happiness.
Here is my reasoning: We only do things because we believe the will make either ourselves or someone else happy and through happiness comes love. I cannot tell you what happiness is or even explain love. These two concepts I have been struggling with for a really long time. However, I do know I have been looking for them. And I cannot really think of any action that really is not geared toward them in some way. For example; my friend had car issues last night and he had his two kids with him. I was there and so I helped him with his issue and when we decided there was not much we could do, I gave him and his two kids a ride home. Now consciously I did all of this because I just think it is the right thing to do. It would not have mattered if it was my friend or a complete stranger. I still would have helped. So did me helping my friend bring me happiness? I think deep down somewhere it does. It makes me happy to help other people. Did it make my friend happy? Possibly, it is better than being stranded out in the middle of nowhere without help. It is difficult to wrap my head around because I struggle with the concept of what happiness is. But I am pretty sure it is different for all of us.
Looking at everything around me, I see a lot of things that make me feel good about myself. I see the successes of my kids and I am not talking about athletic or academic successes, but life successes. Them being able to stand up for themselves, what they want and what they believe in. I watch them help people around them and the joy they do find in it. I see my lovely wife who has to put up with me on a daily basis. I have made her life difficult at times and she still is here and still loves me. I don’t know that I could have chosen a better partner in life. And then there are the few friends that I keep. I don’t usually keep friends and I will constantly push them away, but for some reason these few stay in my life. They won’t let me exit stage left even though I am desperately trying. I don’t know what they see in me, but I am glad they are in my life.
And now back to Jim Valvano, one of his messages that he left us with and rings true in everything you can do is this. “Don’t give up… Don’t ever give up.” I think about the things that I have done recently and I wonder “Why?”. Was I giving up? I think in a way I was but I was luckily enough to have people who refused to let me give up. They made me look at the things I was running from and face them. They made me find the happiness in the things I once thought were gone for ever. Things that once made me laugh, think and cry. Things I was just letting go and now I have them back and I don’t want to let them go. I don’t want to give up, I don’t ever want to give up.