“I had a great childhood.”
Famous first words. Words I said for a long time. And true in so many ways.
My whole childhood, I had everything I needed and then some. I grew up in a comfortable house with my own bedroom. I went to great schools, played sports, played in the school band, and so many other things that constitute a "great childhood".
I have memories of visiting my grandparents in Minnesota in the winter. I skated on a frozen lake, made snowmen, and rode a toboggan down a snowy hill. I even went to the farm with my grandfather to cut a down a tree on Christmas Eve. As I write this, I can see the clear lines of a Norman Rockwell painting.
I was loved. Without question.
And who I am now is the sum total of every moment I've lived. I learned that people are basically good. I learned to slam my bedroom door when I was mad. I learned to be afraid to fuck things up. I learned that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. Every event, big and small, made an impression on me. The beautiful, the painful, and everything in between.
As I aged, wise people, therapists, coaches, and my own introspection taught me to see how those events shaped the person I am today. Those conversations and experiences were VERY helpful. I highly recommend time on a couch, or with a coach, or just alone. They revealed volumes about how I see the world and the patterns that run the show.
And in the end, all of that is just a story. A better story, a more useful story, but a story none the less.
After all the personal work I’ve done, the only question I am interested in answering is, “Now what?”
What do I do as my life moves forward? How do I live in a way that excites me and everyone around me?
I am whole and complete in every way, and there's work to do to make a good life into an amazing life. Do I want to do that work? Yes. I have this desire to have a life that is more alive and more honest. And I often don't do it. Somewhere down inside, being more authentic is all about the unknown.
And the unknown scares the shit out of me. Terror. Sheer terror.
And tomorrow I will get up and take another step into the unknown, because it’s the only acceptable answer to the question, “Now what?"