Have you ever made a new year’s resolution that you truly intended to keep, only to chide yourself in the first week of January for failing to keep it?
I did it for years and felt like a big, fat loser.
But I went on making resolutions every year, even though my inability to keep them made me feel terrible about myself.
With the exception of resolving year after year that I would stop drinking – right after the Super Bowl-Easter-Fourth-of-July-Thanksgiving-Christmas holiday – the only thing I can remember about my new years’ resolutions is never keeping them…
…And, one piece of great advice from a friend who reminded me of my high school Headmaster’s famous mantra while we were watching the Super Bowl, drinking Heinekens, and munching on some Nacho Cheese Doritos.
“Be the best you can be!”
Dick Webster was the Headmaster at LaLumiere, a small private boarding school in LaPorte, Indiana where I went for my junior and senior year in high school.
Like most educators there, he was also a coach, a mentor and a friend whose favorite mantra was: be the best you can be!
Not only do I still hear that mantra in my head, I can still hear his booming voice on the basketball court: “Free throws win basketball games girls!”
Too bad I was a lousy shot, but boy I was lightning fast under the boards and he was a champion at motivating my spirit.
Like Vince Lombardi who knew that winning world championships was a matter of inches, Webster knew that winning was a matter of free throws.
I’m not writing this week because I want to or because I think I can.
I’m writing because I don’t want to and I didn’t think I could.
I’m writing because a friend asked me not to give up; to push myself just a tiny bit more to be the best version of myself that I can.
It’s easy to be hard on myself and feel tempted to give in on giving up.
Self-care is not something I was taught to care about.
I was taught to care about winning, which was measured by losing so I tried never losing.
I was taught that winning at all costs was the equivalent of success, so I tried to be successful because I thought happiness was hinged inextricably to my success.
That cost me a lot of happiness.
I had it so wrong for so long!
Winning, success, and happiness are not inextricably tied.
They can’t even be properly measured together, not by my definitions anyway.
Success can only be measured personally, and happiness?
That’s overrated too.
On any given day, I have everything I need and it still never guarantees me happiness.
I will always want more, desire more.
Webster knew our winning could be measured in free throws and our success incrementally measured in each player’s ability to give a little bit more than we thought we were capable of giving.
On or off the court, success requires consistency.
It’s a sobering reminder.
I want to feel resolutely more content everyday because it’s the only time I ever feel satisfied.
But it’s not easy.
It means getting out of my own way every day – over and over and over again.
While 161,264 hours of sobriety add up to 6,720 days, 220.70 months and 18.39 years, they’re all successes of yesterday and I’m sure I’m very happy about it all, but who’s counting.
I only have today to be the best I can be.
Success and happiness are as fleeting as the passing of time and as fickle as the glory of a game winning free-throw.
If I want contentment in my life, I have to keep my head in the game even if it means sitting on the bench ’cause some days are downright dreadful.
Those days in particular are the days that I need to let someone help – that’s trying too, and trying in any variation is winning.
Here’s to taking a shot at making our lives incrementally better today, a journey filled with many happy moments, and a destination filled with contentment.
Until next time,
Be the best you can be; a courageous champion of your contentment. You might be the reason why someone else doesn’t quit.
Photo Credit: Me