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Am I weird? Driving?

I've never really understood society in some respects. Much of it starting and ending with respect for each other. We have been built around the notion that failure is unacceptable, faults are shunned upon, and an awareness of doing what is right from rather what is wrong is what ultimately shapes society in a positive way. The last remark I will agree with. However, the notion that failure is unacceptable is something I disagree with. Over my past seven and a half years since my accident, contrary to popular belief I have grown up a lot and matured in several different ways. Much of it starting and ending with accountability. People who know me closely, aside from maybe my mother and father, will tell you that I am very passive with certain issues and dilemmas in life, and I'm a people pleaser in a lot of respects. But, something I have recognized among other things in regards to life lessons, is the understanding that I do not always have to be right to win an argument or come out on top. Again, my parents would disagree with you on this but others were not. The reason being, is that I've found that those moments in life that I have sucked up my pride, let down my guard, and opened my eyes with an understanding that I don't know it all and that with certain knowledge I think I have in life that is in fact wrong and incorrect, have been the times that I have learned and gain the most. The moments in life where I have been correct and right on certain accusations and statements that I made, were things that I already knew and just by going through certain situations and circumstances with that knowledge did not gain me or better me in any way. But merely, those moments of being wrong or having faults have been the moments that I have grown the most. I DO NOT KNOW IT ALL. Is a statement that I constantly remind myself of every day. There are several people out there that have gone through the same circumstances and even life lessons that I have but have taken something completely different away from them that could quite possibly be a better way of knowing about handling a situation or approaching and the next one. So the notion that failure is unacceptable, I feel is not indicative of how people should approach situations in life. Because, the entitlement generation that I have grown up in has been taught, or rather self-taught/believe, to take take take and not to give give give. The entitlement generation, believes that everything should be handed to them and nothing should be worked for. The entitlement generation, believes that they are always right. In more ways than not, I am ultimately trying not to fit into that title of an “entitlement generation individual". Old disney movies and childhood movies always had the take away that the underdog always wins and prevails. But in today's society a different message is being portrayed and taken away from some of those same types of movies. Today you are seeing some of the favorites and even the underdogs “losing” within the plot of the movie, indicating that winning is not everything, but learning a greater lesson through losing, which is more important. I would absolutely agree with that notion, because you are not always going to win or be right in life. Because, just when I thought I have lost in life or have experienced failure, have been the moments when I have won the most because of how much I have gained and grown as a person. Society today, thrives off people pointing out others faults and when they have done wrong. We are such creatures of habits of this, with our loved ones around us and the people that we feel as if it is necessary that we call them out on their stuff. Quite frankly, accountability starts and ends with yourself. In a lot of ways and respects, people have become accustomed to the idea of having accountability partners in their life. People around them who hold them accountable and keep them on track. For me, as a person who I think has a good sense of common sense and the difference between right and wrong, and the common knowledge of my own ability to do something, I am my own biggest advocate of holding myself accountable. In life, it is not my job to point somebody else out on their faults and where they have gone wrong, or fallen short. Just like it is not my job to call or tell a girl how ugly she is, but it is merely my job to let her know how great and how beautiful she is in every aspect of her life and who she is beneath the surface. We have become so superficial and so much about being this perfect person in others eyes. At the bare bones of it all, we need to be able to look ourselves in the mirror and feel as if we are perfect within our own skin and be prideful of that. In all reality, the perception of what perfect is, relies in the eyes of the beholder, which is why I will always disagree when people say there is no such thing as perfect. There is always somebody out there that will treat somebody with respect and unconditionally accept somebody for exactly who they are. In my eyes, that is somebody acclaiming that they think somebody else is perfect within their own skin.

Society has lost sight of what true random acts of kindness are in the fact that when people are simply being polite these days it is actually considered people being weird in society. Random acts of kindness throughout the country have become a lost art because of the simple label of being weird or outlandish for committing such extreme acts. We expect to be put down, disregarded, torn apart, and demeaned by others around us, so when somebody actually respects, or goes out of their way to be kind it is weird. Why is this?

While speaking at Upland, Pioneer Junior High, just last Friday, I spoke about this very topic and how we need to take a different approach both as men and women with others around us in society. For guys, it's not always putting down women but merely building them up. For women, it's learning to have patience with guys and understand that they will make mistakes at time to time, because no guy can never fully understand the female species as it is. How did the kids respond to the message that I gave? After the first class heard the speech, a girl came up to me in tears and simply asked me if it would be “weird” if she hugged me. I looked her in the eye and said, ‘absolutely not, I wish more people in society would like you and did that’. What I have grown to find out and something that I will pride myself on and continue to do is to reach out to people and others around me. If you can get beyond having general conversations about the weather outside and really dig deep beneath the surface to find out about somebody, is when you are doing yourself a good service and not a disservice. So, now I will go out of my way down to ask somebody how their day is, if they need help, ask them how they are doing. And every single chance that I get I will pay them a compliment, let them know what they mean to me, and let them know what they mean to the world. Because the truth of the matter is, what if I didn't have that opportunity ever again to do those things or say those things? Would I regret it? Would I have anything left unsaid? Would I have left it all out on the table?

What type of person are you? When somebody ask you how you are doing do you give a generalized response or do you actually go into depth. Generalized would be: I'm doing all right how are you? Telling somebody how you really feel would be: I'm actually not doing too well these days and here's why. Because the truth of the matter is, the more that we tell and the more that we share, allows for more people to be a part of our lives in more ways than not and be able to help and support us. Life is about taking risk, opening up, being vulnerable when we are most scared. You miss 100% of the shots that you do not take in life. And when things in life get tough, the tough get going. So how will you react to what happens next?

For me it's been almost 8 years of battling the demon of getting back behind the wheel and feeling the freedom and control of driving someday again. For those of you that know me, would probably agree with the notion that I like control. Not necessarily control of others, but control of my own life and my own decisions, which might surprise you to the fact that I have not got back behind the wheel yet to try and fulfill such void in my life. Well, I'm here to tell you that that has all changed. Just recently, I got my truck that is handicap accessible and that I can drive. To bring clarification to how I got the truck: FOUNDATION DOLLARS AND DONORS DOLLARS WERE NOT USED TO PURSHASE MY VEHICLE. And for the first time since my accident in 2007 I have got back behind the wheel and in all reality probably a bit too comfortable with the fact that I have that type of freedom. So hide your kids, hide your wife, because your boy is back out on the open road and ready to take on life full speed. It's good to feel that sense of normalcy again, especially coming from a background that has grown up to love speed. The speed of cars, the speed of boats, the intensity of life, a fun filled schedule, but also the ability to slow down life and appreciate the little moments and live in them. The reason that life continues to pass us by quicker and quicker with age is because we fail to pay attention to those little moments as we grow older. Simply because, we are not experiencing our “first times” doing things anymore, so things start to hold less weight and less value with us after the first time we do those things. For me the way I put that into perspective is I tell myself that it is my first time on that particular day living on that date. Today is my first time experiencing March 22, 2015. So that is a great reason for me to pay attention to the little details regardless if it is something that I have done in the past. And when tomorrow comes around when it is March 23, 2015 I will remind myself of the same thing and have yet again another reason to get up out of bed, treat people with respect, encourage others, pay others complements, be regarded as weird for doing random acts of kindness, and now most recently get back out on the open road with the sense of a cautious conscious mind but a renewed sense of freedom…………