If you think you’re not average, you’re either an idiot or you’re right. You’re probably (and I say this with all scientific sincerity) an idiot.
I spent most of my life thinking I was above average. Hell, I was. I was a Navy SEAL by the time I was 20. I sailed 5,000 miles of open ocean in a 22 ft boat by the time I was 24. I had traveled to 30 odd countries by 25, including one that was a no-travel zone for Americans. By 27 I had lived and worked in a war zone, at 28 I owned 3 properties in 3 states including a drop dead beautiful piece of land in Northern New Mexico, at 29 I owned a t‑shirt company with shirts in 12 Nordstrom stores and was on a rapid rise to the top and by 31 I was bankrupt. It was a hell of a ride.
Then came this fucking slump when I realized that despite my good (not my best, because I wasn’t making them) efforts, unless I stopped living in the past and got back down into the thick of it where the blood and sweat and bile and hellacious effort was, I was going to be average for the rest of my life. An average athlete. An average husband. An average thinker. An average man.
Does this sound familiar? It must, I see you everywhere, including in the mirror. I mean, there you are in the coffee shop, or the ice cream store, or the Whole Foods, or hell, the Vons. I can see you’re average in the way you walk, the way you shop, the way you spend, the way you and your girlfriend dress. I’m not trying to be mean, it’s just…well, it’s just the law of damn averages.
You probably have some kick ass backstory too, but now here we sit, lounging back on slowly sagging laurels, seeing just how easy it is to achieve a comfortable lifestyle and seemingly inexorably getting sucked into the mundane fucking existence we spent the first 30 years of life making fun of. Ironic, eh?
The hell of it is, the path to beyond average isn’t complicated, it’s just hard, and more often than not these days I’m just not up for hard. I’ll get all fired up about rowing the Channel Islands or trail running high peaks or climbing hard or surfing harder, but then morning comes and I go for an easy run, or work through a sweaty but not strenuous kettle bell workout.
I’ll meet guys in the street I used to know and they remember me as someone I no longer am, and while my ego is temporarily soothed by their remembrances, I know that deep down I’m not that same fire breathing motherfucker.
Sure, occasionally I’ll hang out with better men than me, and it’s not like I’ve turned into a fat pussy. I can still charge hard, jump off cliffs, leap chasms, lift heavy, and shoot straight. It’s just that those things no longer turn me on like they used to and I’m not sure what will. And that’s the hell of it, because here I am, knowing just how much potential I have and for lack of action and clear direction it’s being pissed away in Facebook and walks around the block with my dog.
I know what turns my brain on, and that’s discovering or creating new ideas and then implementing them, but even then it’s only a half-way high, nothing like the old workouts where I’d come busting up from the deeps with lungs burning, the world closing in on me and the clock ticking away, launching out of the water in front of the pack.
Maybe I need to find a tribe again. I’ve been lost and solo too long, a man without a group, without a source to check my actions by. Really, without a clear purpose or goal.
Is that then what is missing from our lives, we lost souls? A simple purpose, a clean goal? Knowing the effort that goes into that and the joy in the effort I know it must be right. There is almost too much wisdom in the idea that the journey is the destination. The only question left is, do I still have what it takes to load up for that journey, and to move above average?