53 years. No more battles to fight, no countries to defend, no oppressed people to free. I remember years ago reading about what happens to men when we get older. We go from being dangerous warriors seeking battles to fight, running with the ball or tackling the ones that carry it. It’s happened…now I watch young warriors returning from foreign lands and men playing football on my big screen television.
I am 53 years old today and reflective. I looked at my uniform now hanging in the closet under plastic (yes it still fits), but it’s not for me to wear anymore. Frankly, the medals don’t mean anything to anyone else but me now; they are only history. My greatest successes are not pinned on that uniform, rather they are experiences only I realize…
Like being married to the love of my life for 30 years; many would say that she is one that deserves all the medals. I am the father of two sons; both very much like me but so different in many ways…actually better than me. At their early age they have already demonstrated more than I about love, pursuit of happiness and individualism.
Over my adult years I have worn many uniforms, performed different jobs and taken on some pretty lofty projects. I developed a personal mantra of “a vision is only a dream without execution.” I have dreamed, had visions and executed…I have also failed.
It’s odd coming to the realization that you’re closer to the end than the beginning. I’m not going to put on that uniform for service ever again and I’m not going to tackle the guy carrying the ball. But let me tell you what I am going to do:
I’m going to keep loving the woman that gave me her life and life to my sons. I’m going to be the dad that challenges my sons to reach their potential; but they never have to look behind them because I have their back. I’m going to execute my visions in the funeral industry and challenge those around me to elevate themselves beyond the norm. I’m still going to be brought to tears when I hear Toby Keith’s “American Soldier.” I’m still going to say to new people that I work with “I’m not going to say anything to offend you on purpose; when I want to offend you, you’ll be certain that I wanted to.” I’m still going to love a good debate. I’m going to keep writing what comes to my mind, expressing my opinion and challenge others to take a stand.
I’m going to take care of myself which includes playing golf, smoking cigars and drinking dark rum straight on the rocks with a lime. I’m going to live 50 weeks a year so that I can live for 2 weeks in Aruba…like life should be lived. 53 is a new number for me; the number of consecutive push-ups I require of myself in the mornings just because I can. I’m not going away easily. I think I’ll just keep being me. Cheers y’all! #thefuneralcommander