Day 17: Sorry, Ma
17/30 – Tell the nonfiction story that you don’t want your mother to read. You know the one. Don’t censor yourself:
She probably knows this but I’ve never gone over the details with her…
It was midsummer, 2017. A Saturday night.
The previous two months consisted of the complete and utter unraveling of my life. I failed out of college. I had to move back home with Mom. The love of my life broke up with me. I was $70,000 in the hole with student loan debt. And I had no job to begin paying any of it off.
Any advice I would want to give myself at that time would probably have been wasted breath. I wasn’t interested in anything. The very thought of going online and looking for jobs made me sink even further into my bed sheets.
Eventually, I began collecting–from friends and relatives–an assortment of prescription pain pills and anti-depressants. Once I felt like I had a decent amount, I drove to the liquor store that Saturday morning and picked up a bottle of Jim Beam.
Californication was on the TV. I thought that if I was going to go out, I want to go out like some idiot rock star; with a bottle of whiskey, and the Stones playing softly in the background…
I woke up two days later with the worst hangover I’ve ever had in my life. It lasted for two more days after that. My Mom thought I was out of the house; probably because there wasn’t a single noise from my room for 40 hours. The way I see it, I was dead for those two days. I had died and come back to life. Though I love the image of a phoenix bursting out of its own ashes…I think the more fitting analogy would be that of Church the cat, being resurrected as a zombie in Pet Sematary.
Assuring my Mom that I was merely feeling sick for those couple days, I was faced with a decision. There were two choices laid out in front of me:
Stay here. Remain in this ditch of a life. Continue to lay in the garbage of bad habits, excuses, and indulgence. Probably attempt the same thing a year from now.
Start taking steps to grow the fuck up. Take action. Do anything that’s not nothing. Start building strong habits. Exercise. Eat well. Pursue things you’re interested in without quitting. Become a great friend and a great son. Be great to myself. Work my ass off to create the life I want to live.
Since you’re reading this now, you know which one I chose.
I’ll end this with an analogy: We’re all writing the book of our lives. The first page is the day you were born. The last page is the day you will die. Every page between those two is your life. Kevin Hart said, “You’re writing a book. What’s your book look like?”
For 23 years, it felt as though someone were writing my book for me. I was the main character in a strange and unfortunate dramady. I would go wherever the author told me to go and do whatever the author told me to do.
Once I woke up in a puddle of my own sweat and saw the empty fifth of Jim Beam through the fog of my eyes, I knew I had to fire the author. I snatched the pen from his hands and said, “Fuck you. I’m driving.”
Things have been far from perfect; but I’ve been the author ever since. And I’m never giving up the pen again.
It has been a slow, progressive culmination of work, doubt, fear, Resistance, and growing pains…but God dammit has it been worth it.
If you have the choice between living life on purpose and being in charge of the pen, take it. The alternative is rubbish if you ask me.