Moving to a Nostalgic State
Have you ever been at a place in your life where every realistic option you have to choose from seems like it will have a negative outcome? Maybe that situation is with a career decision, or maybe it has to do with a person you love who is struggling to beat an addiction, or possibly even its an inner struggle with depression that you keep feeding with false thoughts for years. Whatever the major obstacle is that stands in front of you this week, I hope that this post gives you a little bit of hope moving forward.
About 2 and a half years ago, my life was in one of those major transitional seasons. I had just graduated college, started a new career, was engaged to the love of my life, and finally felt like I was getting somewhere in my life. I was doing everything I was supposed to do and I had even recently started going to church… Which, if you know me from my last post, the closest thing to scripture or whatever that I grew up knowing was "Austin 3:16, which says I just whipped your A**." (Yes, that's 2 Stone Cold Steve Austin references and I'm 2 posts into this blog for those of you keeping track at home)…
In the midst of all these great things that were going on in my life, I couldn't escape the feeling of helplessness that came in the form of my father’s cancer returning and there being no real hope for treatment to work anymore. In the few months that followed this diagnosis, I noticed my mindset changing. I realized the things that mattered. I realized the work that God has called me to complete in this life was not the work that I was doing. I wasn't sure exactly what that calling was, but I knew it wasn't the one I was living. This realness of finding your true calling was made so clear to me a few days before my father's passing in a way that I'm not sure he ever even knew about and I definitely will never forget about…
It was two days before he passed away and he couldn't walk anymore, so he asked me to help him go upstairs to our loft/game room where he used to sit for hours upon hours on his weekends playing his guitars. He had done this a few times before in the past few weeks, but this time was pretty tough to watch as he almost had to crawl up the stairs. I knew it would be the last time he could ever play his guitar or even just sit in that place that he loved, so I was not about to stop him from getting there. I helped him scoot up each step and when we got to the top he smiled and said "thanks bud, I just want to have a change of scenery thats all." I didn't think anything of it and I let him have his moment of peace for a while before going up to check on him again. I never heard any music, but when he came back downstairs he seemed to be genuinely in a better mood. I asked him what he did up there and he said, "I was just remembering a few things that made my life pretty great."
I don't tell you this story to gain sympathy or to make anyone sad, but instead I wanted to just help you understand the emotions I felt when the real game changing moment happened the day after my father passed. I went to the game room and sat in his place that he had logged so many hours, to find a few neatly stacked cassette tapes I never noticed before. I ran to put one in the only cassette player I could find and on these tapes were some original songs that my dad had recorded when he was in high school. I sat there and just thought about the magnitude of what these things meant to him. I like to think that to this day he sat in the game room and just listened to them over and over and put himself in that place again. A place of optimism, peace, and pure happiness knowing that his whole life was in front of him still.
The lesson I learned on that day was that no matter how dark a situation seems, we always have memories of better times. So, my question to you is why do we sometimes wait until we transition away from those great moments in our lives to truly appreciate them? Or even better yet, why do we not stay plugged into them in some way? If that true sense of belonging that comes from revisiting something that brought joy in the past is all that mattered to my father literally hours before he took his last breath, then that is really all I care to feel every day in my life. I don't judge success anymore by my personal accomplishments or the amount of money in my bank account. I judge success by if I lived my day in a way that I'd want to be the last day of my life, which sounds so freaking cliche but when you've witnessed someone actually live that moment, it is humbling and so true. Stop worrying so much… Make a decision each day that brings you joy and don't regret it.
I know I'm in a truly good place when I find myself doing things that I did in my childhood that made me happy. This past week, I didn't drive my car to anything, but instead I rode my bike and even played some basketball one night at a local park with some friends. I don't have the endurance I used to have, but that feeling of youth, the feeling of your life being ahead of you still, and the feeling that you can do anything you want all subliminally returns. You just have to show up in that place and let it happen.
No matter what major decision or difficulty is ahead of you, before you decide how you want to move forward, I invite you to do something that puts you back into a mindset of optimism. Play a video game you grew up playing that has been in the attic for years, get outside and shoot some hoops in the driveway, or draw some pictures in a sketchbook like you used to. Everyone has a different thing that they think of, and that is what is so amazing about it. So, no matter where you plan to be in your future, do me a favor and move to a nostalgic state of mind and see if it helps you make a clearer decision based out of happiness and hope rather than being suffocated by the current situation that is probably just temporary anyways.
If you read this post and it spoke to you, I have a game/challenge for you! Do just one thing this week that allows you to be in that nostalgic state of mind and post a picture of it, whatever it may be on social media with a brief description of why it makes you happy or what it reminds you of. The only rules for official entry is to subscribe to the blog on my website candelorecustoms.com and then make sure you hashtag #customizedcallingblog on your post. In next Sunday's post I will select one winner from the photos. The winning post will get a free customized pair of shoes specific to whatever that nostalgic moment/activity for you is. (If you don't know me, my page @CandeloreCustoms on IG is a great reference to my other custom shoes I've done). I need your help, so please share this with someone who you think would love this contest or this blog in general.