It wasn’t long after my grandpa’s 70th birthday that he began saying, “Well, I’m in extra innings.”
I think that’s a somewhat accurate catchphrase. It’s not entirely correct to say that because in my view we are always in extra innings. From the moment we are born, we’re in extra innings. We just fail to realize it.
It is too scary to think about. So, we use TV, our jobs, even our everyday petty conflicts and fears to make us feel secure. They’re like warm blankets we wrap ourselves in each and every morning as we head out the door to face our lives.
It often seems that our fear of losing the things that comfort us is what keeps us here. Emotions and feelings such as love. These are things that like a chain bind us to this cruel, brutal, savage, and low-level reality where day in and day out, “civilized” men rack their brains trying to devise new ways to tear each other apart.
We buy into the whole scheme, this is reality, this is true, the world, my face, that car, her smile, his abs, their money, my sadness, his happiness, her death, this emptiness, that hypocrisy, this lie, my truth, their god, my church, our war… we get caught up in the texture of it all.
And somehow, this self-imposed psychosis makes us feel like we are gonna live forever.
In this modern “reality” of ours, we are like fish in an ever churning sea telling ourselves that we will never disappear. Then, inevitably there comes a day when we look at ourselves in the mirror and realize that our face isn’t quite as soft and slick anymore. As we look back at life, we see that our life is different than we thought it would be.
Our elbows resemble the unwashed curtains of the theatre we used to go to with our friends. Stretched out and wrinkled up, the reflection is one of many years that are now gone forever.
Our knees hurt with the cold and our body starts failing us. And, inevitably, we try to recapture our already faded youth. But, it is impossible. It cannot be done. We are different people and the fingers of age have wrapped themselves around us with a grip that’s stronger than time itself.
Start by asking yourself a couple of simple questions: What would you say to yourself if you could go back in time 5, 10, 20 years? What would you say to the person you were about the person you have become?
What would you say to the person 5, 10, 20 years from now about the person you wanted to be in this life?
These are not easy questions to ask or to answer, however, they hold the keys to creating the lives we want to look back on and smile about. The answers to these questions are the keys to removing the chains that bind us in this so-called reality we face every day of our lives.
Is it challenging? Yes. Is it easy? Not a chance. Is it worth it? Every penny and ounce of effort adds up quickly.
Own your keys. Use them to free yourself to enjoy your life. Do it for yourself. Embrace every tear, every moment of laughter. Feel every joy and endure every sadness. Pursue your wildest desires as they burn inside you and allow your wishes to be fulfilled. Pursue every love and every possibility of happiness that surrounds you.
It is not easy, but, beyond any shadow of a doubt it is worth it. Free yourself and no matter how many innings you have in your life, when the final pitch is thrown, you’ll be able to look back and say you played the game and won no matter what the scoreboard says.