I remember back when I was a freshman in high school, running track on Friday nights, completely falling into a deep rhythmic zone each time I got onto the track, whether it was an open 400m dash or the first leg of the 4x100m relay. I loved it. Looking back, track was teaching me lessons about life that I wouldn’t really grasp until nearly 15 years later (hey that’s now).

2017 was a complete year for me, in all honesty. I laughed a lot. I cried tears of joy. Tears of pain. I fell in love, oh so hard (as I’m great at doing), consequently having my heart broken, and wouldn’t change a thing. I ran into health issues that caused me to miss weeks of work. I cursed the Saints for two whole weeks somewhere in the middle of that. I went on one of the worst poker and financial downswings I’ve ever been on.

2017 was a year of perseverance. All of that shit happened, and I’m still here.

2017 was a year of self-discovery. I looked at myself in the mirror and, for the first time in a while, became more comfortable with my silly perceived insecurities.

2017 was a year of taking chances. Like driving 45 minutes with two of your friends to Pensacola to meet someone from Bumble for dive bar karaoke at midnight. We crushed “My Neck, My Back” in the smokey haze in front of strangers. And I made a new friend in the process.

2017 was a year of connecting with people. Whether longtime friends, or brand new friends, I successfully got happy and mad with everyone I’m close with, so there was zero boredom. But the new connections I made, the ones that were more than just 2 week conversations through a dating app, are ones I’ll hold close to me for a long time. I feel lucky to have been able to learn something from these people. I feel lucky that I’m charismatic enough to connect with people at the poker table, find a mutual topic to discuss and bond over, and enjoy outsmarting each other for money.

“Life isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon” is a common saying you’ll hear. I was never much a fan of running distances beyond 400 meters, so life for me is more like a relay nowadays. When running a 100m sprint vs a 100m relay leg, the relay leg will almost always be faster, on average. The reasons are obvious: you have momentum from your running start as the clock doesn’t begin until the stick is in your hand. We go through these periods of maturation, and if when we’re mindful enough about our momentum, we know when it’s time for us to hand the stick off to a more mature version of ourselves. One that can begin living by principles, morals, values.

For me, it’s building self-esteem through self-confidence. It’s being more open with those closest to me about what’s going on in my personal life. At the same time, it’s learning how to internalize my feelings & emotions, learning how to process & react, so I can stop driving my kind and patient bffs insane. It’s writing more. It’s being more present, appreciating the beauty of life and what’s around me at any given moment. It’s sharing with the world what I’ve learned through my unique experiences so that someone else may learn or feel inspired through me. It’s dedicating myself 100% to fulfilling my potential as a poker player. It’s living true to my values.

It’s putting myself first, for maybe the first time in my life, and not using all of my energy on everyone else

I’ve said a lot of these things before. They’ve been goals of mine. But in the past, I overlooked the details. Goals are shiny and great to reach for. And very alluring to dream about. But our mission. That’s where the progress is made.

Like my boy Playboi Carti said, “I’d rather not talk about it just do that shit.”


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