My Transition (Part 2: Conclusion)

Picking up from where I left off in the previous post, I saw this imminent collision with reality coming in slow motion. I saw it coming for a long time. One of the best and most culturally applicable examples I found was how Corey Taylor pontificated on this topic. Corey Taylor is the front man for the heavy metal bands Slipknot and Stone Sour, hails from Des Moines, is now a renowned author, and a father. There’s a Youtube series (which I will link below) of Taylor speaking to a panel of students at Oxford University in England, broaching the topic of fulfilling your destiny. He explains how he had a lot of passions growing up – he calls himself a history buff… but because he had an intense dislike for school, he would have been no good as a history teacher. Because he was a naturally talented musician, had a natural ear, and a good voice, he decided to pursue a career in music. His point was that if we can start focusing on those things that we’re good at, we will be in a much better place to succeed and will ultimately be happier…

Moments like the one I had with my parents, on top of many other external factors such as my community of friends made me think about my motivations for being in exercise science. Like I said previously, I’m an exercise enthusiast. I bike, occasionally rock climb, and do CrossFit (the latter is a more recently discovered avenue), to keep myself healthy, build community, and maintain sanity. I like that this cross section of my life does not coalesce with my career. I knew then and know now, that I would most likely resent all of those things if I made it something that I had to set my alarm and collect a paycheck for everyday. I tried to sweep these feelings under the rug, blaming it on jitters and separation anxiety – thinking that I still wanted to whole heartedly follow this track. When the log jam cleared a few weeks ago and I got myself into the right head space, I realized that I tried forming my identity around this one slice of the pie. By doing so, I had to get wrapped up in it, obsessed with it, and in the end so overly saturated that when I went to the gym I ultimately found no gratification in it. Nothing about it was enjoyable anymore.

Being in a new major like this has given me a wide open highway of possibilities. Rather than occupationally pigeon holing myself, I decided that it was time to reevaluate my talents. It all fell into place for some reason or another and I don’t know where it will take me, but the skies have honestly never been so clear. Some people find that terrifying – partially relinquishing that kind of unilateral control and letting life ultimately take you to wherever. I’m finding that embracing the unknown and uncertainty of life makes me feel surprisingly less anxious. It’s actually encouraging. Ultimately, you can’t out run destiny and neither can I, but to wrap this two part post with a bow and a tag hanging off it, I will say this, quoting Coach Ted Orion from the third Mighty Ducks movie (which was honestly atrocious)…

You cannot be afraid to lose. That’s you find the confidence to attack the game the game when the puck isn’t yours. That’s how you attack life, even when you don’t think you have any control… And that’s how you play real defense.

Take risks, meet new friends, make someone smile, discipline yourself to try something new, pick up a new hobby, pray, exercise. Take the advice of the book of Ecclesiastes chapter 8 and my dad – enjoy life while you can. Be with friends, laugh so hard your guts hurt, crank your collection of hard rock so it rattles the walls, or in the words of pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church… “Take your pants off, sit in the chair, and watch the Mariners game.” Corey Taylor at Oxford.


My Transition (Part 1)

A few months ago, I learned something on a cool, sunny, fall Sunday morning that we can all understand. And that is this… Change is scary, and it becomes even scarier when it comes at a time when we least expect it to.

Within six months, I left the comfort of my mother’s house; said goodbye to my friends and family; packed up my Subaru; and moved to Winona – all in the hopes that I could begin a new chapter of my life… college. It was frightening enough being the young blood, in a house with four strangers, inexperienced, sailing in unfamiliar waters, and having to immediately run on my academic afterburners… and for what?

For many years, I found gratification in exercise. It was the first thing that disciplined me, because the weight room was one of the first mediums which helped medicate a myriad of personal issues I was dealing with. I finally found a hobby that brought me just a little solace amidst my inner chaos. It brought order and a sense of routine to my life… but see, it was a hobby. That doesn’t necessarily translate into a career. It does for some – taking the cliché, “I do what I love and love what I do” phrase to another level. Because I love exercise (and always have), I automatically convinced myself that it was something I could make a career out of – under the unshakable impression that this was an avenue which would enable me to impart wisdom on clients, ultimately better themselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Perhaps it would have, but the catch twenty two is… I’m not good at it.

Just because you consider yourself to be an enthusiast about something (and this is translatable to almost any other field or walk of life), it does not make you an expert. To become a master of your craft, it requires application, not settling for being mediocre, drive, and honestly… God given natural ability that you have to tap into. When I was looking at transfer colleges, Winona State had a reputation of being a pantheon for nursing and health sciences. Believe me; it lives up to the hype. I originally came down here in August of 2013 with a goal to declare a major in exercise science with a minor in nutrition. It seems like the picture perfect template for a personal trainer or strength and conditioning specialist. I immediately found myself panicking.

I’m the epitome of a left brain. I embrace and succeed with English, writing comprehension, public speaking, and have an aptitude for social studies. At the end of my second week of first semester, I was pouring over my Chemistry textbook (which was about as thick as half the alphabetical encyclopedia), and realized that this would seem so much less insufferable if I actually thought this would get me somewhere. After a very opportune and constructive conversation with my parents, I finally came to the overwhelming conclusion that I was in a career path that backed me into a corner, I wasn’t good at, and didn’t really want to follow when the chips were down. I could recite Sir Walter Scott in my sleep, with pneumonia, but can hardly comprehend empirical formulas and molar mass on a clear day where the tide is low.

In addition to being enrolled in my last two general education classes, I was in two major science classes with labs – Anatomy and Physiology I and Principles of Chemistry. I was doing supplemental instruction; open labs; blocking off entire days and whole weekends; dedicating myself to studying Dalton’s atomic theory and the the axial skeleton; ultimately wondering why I was doing this, consciously knowing that it was a means to an end. It was then that I came to the decision to change my major. I’m now in Communication Studies – on the opposite side of the academic planet by comparison to exercise science. By changing my major, I dropped my two science classes, bringing my credit hours from fourteen down to six. The most frustrating part to this was that I saw this coming…

To be continued in part 2.

An Introduction.

Hello, and in the words of Axl Rose, Welcome to the jungle. I cannot sing, I cannot act (Rocky reference, anyone?); I’m a bit of an idealist; a little rough around the edges; a Communications major at Winona State University; a friend; son; brother; and Christ follower. This digital jungle is an experiment. My entire life has been defined by overcoming the next obstacle, learning from it, and moving forward – then pervasively repeating the cycle. In your visit here, you’ll find everything from pick-me-ups, journalistic anecdotes, music reviews, poltical critiques, and almost everything in between. Through the posts that are to come, I hope to entertain, provoke, and challenge my audience.