Thursday, January 9, 2014



The glow from the Rose Bowl is still bright!  I am so emotionally overwhelmed that it STILL is too much for me to distill in full.  It wasn’t simply a win in a big game, at least it wasn’t for me.  Michigan State is a metaphor for all the hard work and determination that one has put in toward accomplishing a goal.  No easy route, no handout save for the opportunity provided by attending such an academic institution.  It’s the outstate cats, the students who come from small towns and cities that are forgotten in the recovery, places still tied to old industry who are the brightest hopes of their families, the largest factor motivating themselves.  If I had stayed in Michigan after high school, it would have been East Lansing or bust…

While this is not a blog that has been written in the most scholarly fashion, it never was never meant to be a place to draw attention to myself or to start anything other than what it has modestly accomplished… make a few friends, journal “my way out of this place”, and to return to being “the man we all know and love.”  With that accomplished, I get to think about and focus on living my life to its fullest, and the best way I know how.  That is what makes it time to review my personal coda, reviewing and  measuring my progress accordingly.  After all, it was in the Army when I became acquainted with the phrase, “Repetition saves lives”, to which I understand as meaning “do it right this time and every time,” because it isn’t simply “practice makes perfect” but “PERFECT PRACTICE makes perfect”.  You are what you do most of the time, and you most definitely are HOW you think most of the time.

...and now, without further adieu…


It was early in my life when I knew that I was going to be a traveler of sorts.  As a child, whenever I could picture myself as a football player from a small and unheard of school nestled in a bucolic college town and making it to the NFL, mainly because I wanted to GO SOMEWHERE.  My Mom loved Robert Frost and his iconic poem, “The Road Less Traveled”.  It is a love that I share with her and it’s meaning obviously has had a profound affect on me.  I am arrogant enough to say that I have indeed traveled that road, occasionally daring even to wander in the bush, cutting down a trail where there was none.  There are risks involved in living according to this ethic, but then, risk exists for us ALL of our choices… there is NOTHING that we can be absolutely certain of, and even as I talk of absolutes, there is still room and understanding in my philosophy for random chance.  Still, one does not plan around chance or fail but on attainment and success.

I have always held that I will do well on my own because I have always done well on my own.  There is no surprise to HOW I FEEL ABOUT MY ACHIEVEMENTS OR LIFE at this present time.  Not diminished by its ubiquitous use by those who are passengers on the “struggle bus of life”,  I am in a very good place right now.  The progress that I have made is easily appreciable by my material possessions as well as my academic progression, to say nothing of my employment status.  The bout of depression that I have been dealing with for most of the late fall-early winter has lessened.  And with the timely unsolicited assistance from readers and locals alike, things are looking bright for me.  

When I made the choice to leave Mookie Dee,it had been an unfortunate, though ultimately affirming, relationship that would trace over my self-image and fit well with the definitions of my new paradigm.  I had grown tired of reaching the “outskirts of my dreams” as an adult.  The shortcomings and near misses in my life prior to my “Ex-list era” lead directly to my decision to take some of the most applicable and contemplative words and sayings that had weighed heaviest on my mind and compile them for my own personal benefit.  Because I rather enjoyed my life and because I felt that instead of continued soaring and falling with the wax melted from my wings, that I could somehow safely navigate between seas and the stars, I decided to take the advice from some of the sagest minds that I came across and begin to follow their words as I could best understand them.

Because of the observed dysfunction between me and my family, me and those who have claimed to love me (and of course, ALL the ladies love me!!), had become my truth, one of the primary things that I look for is really the only thing I should have been looking for.  “Commitment”, and sanctity of purpose, and “being perfect” all synthesized into a grand concept of thought and measure of character.

The adjectives run into each other… “loyalty”, “reliability”, “compassion”, “sensitivity”, and all are qualities that I believe I possess in abundance.  These are also things that I would be looking for in any relationship of value.  Invariably, I believe that most fail in relationships, personal as well as professional, can be traced directly to the words of Von Clausewitz… and to those of fictional Coach Gains’ as well.  Similarly, like the adjectives that describe character, the statements and definitions here, tend to be corollaries of one another.

What I believe allows one to do things that are great or things that are of a relative greatness to them, is being able to have the courage to accept and take the risks that are a part of commitment.  When the moment comes that the involvement of another person or persons’ arrive, they must be of a quality and reliability that is unimpeachable.  If those chosen fall short on reliability (...chose men upon whom we can rely and to PUT ASIDE ALL OTHER CONSIDERATIONS...) then whatever the circumstance or relationship, the question is not how, or if, but when the situation will fail.


While on the training tower for repelling while in the service, I have distinct memories of other soldiers admitting an apprehension as they were, as I was, quite leery of heights and that was first among the issues that were mumbled about in the training queue.  Most of the questions had been addressed prior to the training and what was taking place in the line was the “preparation” for the dread of the uncertain that was in soldiers like me and others.  But this was all done while we awaited our turn in a line with hundreds of other soldiers who were dealing with some of the same uncertainties that we ourselves were being consumed by.  For them, perhaps it was during the march to Victory Tower where the knots in their stomach were being stretched out… point is, there was time for everyone to deal with the unknown so that when their turn came, it was a matter of doing and not worrying about “what if…”.

My confidence is not entirely innate.  My Mother cultivated it and tended it so that I never felt the pull of insecurity, leastways not like many children and teenagers did.  I mean, how difficult could things have been for me if one epic conversation in the summer between my 8th and 9th grades could solve for once and for all, any insecurities I could have had as a person?

“Being prepared for uncertainty” has allowed me to be more confident rather than less so… I know that everyone isn’t going to be as enamored with “the man we all know and love” as others.  Still, I do not let the doubts build and rise to crescendo inside of me.  In doing so, I achieve the preparedness to go forward in my life.

1 comment:

krissy knox said...

Great post, Mark. I have a couple of questions for you, as I have had a little trouble doing things because of uncertainty. The first question is: Can one study, to be prepared, for TOO long (maybe after awhile it could cause one to just become immobilized or be an excuse not to do anything). In other words, how does one know when they've had enough time "at the tower" if there's no sargeant there telling them it's their turn to run? Question Two: Is it important to have the encouragement of others? The soldiers talked out their ideas and fears with others right before running. You talked things out with your Mom as well. You said this helped you. What do you suggest someone do who don't have these people in their lives? I do have the Lord, but sometimes I think I just need that extra person or people to quickly talk something over with before doing something. What do you think? Thank you!
Take care, krissy :)