It is hard to believe that today marks one year since I lost my best friend, my hero, my teacher, my father, but more importantly, my dad.
Funny to think that even looking back at all the times I was so angry, frustrated, and furious with him– today I am certain I would not know the things I do, or be the person I am, without him. I learned from him the things he knew and did well, but more significant is what I learned from his mistakes. I always respected him most for the few times he told me about all the ways he wanted me to be like him, but even more so, the ways he wanted me to be different– to not make the same mistakes, to be a better man than him.
I would humbly say that I am proud of my accomplishments to this point and I think Dad would be too. I have done a lot of things others haven’t, but in the end, haven’t we all? The key is not what we’ve accomplished, but the manner in which what we’ve accomplished separates us from others and in the same light groups us together with one another. I remember anytime I would complain about what someone else had done, or was doing, which I thought cooler than my own fortune– Dad would always ask me, “Jeremy, do you want to be a leader or a follower?” I got what he was saying then, and I get it now, yet it doesn’t make wanting that extra material piece of life and not having it any easier. Until that is, you change your focus.
The focus should be ensuring that at the end of the day the words you said, the decisions you made and the work you accomplished made possible a positive change in someone else’s life.
Ask most people and they would tell you Dad never had a prestigious job by their standards. He never earned more than $50,000 a year in his whole life. Ask me and I will tell you he had the most important and prestigious job anyone could ever hope for– and he didn’t earn a dime for doing it. He was a t-ball coach.
I think that is subconsciously what steered me away from that typical business school graduate track of internship, job offer, cubicle at corporation, raking in twice the money I make today. It was not that the people in those jobs are terrible or any lesser than I am, but I needed something more personally fulfilling. Watching over the years the way Dad was able to touch children’s lives through teaching them not only the game of baseball, but values and principles greater than whether a ball is fair or foul, or a baserunner is safe or out. He taught the importance of teamwork, self-respect, hard work, discipline, and character… to a bunch of four and five year olds. Talk about a high-impact job.
I remember thinking in the days that followed October 6, 2009 that time just seemed to stand still. As if what was happening, wasn’t really happening. The decisions I was having to make at a blistering pace, the travel, coordinating, corresponding, that it all seemed to fly by so quickly and easily that it couldn’t possibly be real. Just as quickly as it all happened, it was all done.
Now a year later, I can look back and laugh. It all did happen, and it happened in the same amount of time there always has been in a second, a minute, an hour, a day, a week, a month, and a year. I realized that despite the several tragic events I have experienced in my short life, time does not change. Enduring those happenings has taught me to make the most of each of those seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years ahead of me. At times, I lose sight of that and get caught up in the whirlwind of the seemingly imposed societal demands of living in New York City. So I find it refreshing and recharging when a day like today comes around and I stop to reflect on what really matters, because despite my best efforts it is easy to veer off track and get caught up in everything else.
Today I recommit myself to making possible a positive change in someone else’s life, everyday. After all, time won’t stand still– and so neither will I.