“Associate with the noblest people you can find; read the best books; live with the mighty.
But learn to be happy alone. Rely upon your own energies, and so not wait for, or depend on other people.” –Professor Thomas Davidson
I don’t know about you, but I find this quote powerful. In fact, while I was reading “Education of a Wandering Man” by Louis L’Amour it stopped me in my tracks. I had to put the book down and take some time to reflect upon its true meaning. The following is my attempt to understand its purpose for my life. In a small way, I hope it helps you as well.
As I grow older, I am learning to cherish quiet spaces. Without a doubt, I love people. They give me energy. I thrive off of their passions. They motivate me to be better. I also love a busy and unpredictable schedule. Rarely, am I doing the same routine on a day-to-day basis. At times, there are so many things to do, I forget what is next on my agenda. Being an extrovert, I wouldn’t have it any other way. At times though, I sit down at the end of a busy week and feel exhausted, as well as mentally drained. Here is where I crave those quiet spaces.
Those spaces can be found riding my bike, relaxing at home, hiking, at a coffee shop with a good book or a movie theatre. These activities may be the most selfish things I do all week, but they are filled with quiet and calm. Each one allows me to recharge my batteries and assess the world around me. This is important, because, now in my 30’s, I’ve learned you are no earthly good, if you aren’t good to yourself.
You are no earthly good, if you aren’t good to yourself…
To me, that is a powerful revelation. It may come as common sense to some of you, but when it hit me while reflecting on this quote, I was blown away. Why? Because to know me, is to know how hard I am on myself. In job interviews, I have always told potential employers that they could never be as hard on me as I am on myself. I beat myself up regularly. I constantly measure myself against others and those I admire. Rarely, am I satisfied. It is one of my greatest weaknesses and strengths. Walking this line can be exhausting though, this is why these selfish moments are so important to me. I get to worry about just me. When I am done, hopefully I am some earthly good.
This quote also makes me think of all those parents out there. Scrolling through social media feeds and timelines, I see many of you may have a difficult time finding those quiet spaces. You’re married and little feet fill every corner of your house. As a kid, my house of five was never quiet. As an adult, I wonder how my parents found time for themselves. In fact, my mom who is a devout reader of the Bible used to do her daily devotional in the bathroom. It was the only room in the house where she could find some peace.
One of the great joys of not having any children is that I get to be selfish. On my off days, I get to worry about myself and what makes me happy; nothing else. I am afforded moments of quiet and calm. There is no hiding in the bathroom for me. My social calendar isn’t filled with auditions, soccer practice and tutoring. In all honesty, I don’t know how parents do it. I don’t know how they get pulled in a thousand directions and still maintain their sanity. With that said, parents may need moments to themselves more than anyone. Those moments may not be a Saturday to themselves, instead they may be short little sessions, but they are still vital. Without a doubt, parenting is the hardest job in the world. It is one that requires constant assessment of the decisions and impact being made. So, if you are lucky enough to have a partner in your relationship, work on allowing the other to take breaks and recharge their batteries. I am not sure if this is the exact secret to great relationships and parenting, but it feels like a good start.
Finally, this quote makes me think of my own life. My life, at 31, is quite different than others. In a lot of ways, I am defying what society expects of me. I am in a non-traditional relationship. I don’t desire to get married and have no real need to see what a smaller version of myself looks like. For some people, that may sound like a lonely existence. I know I am not like other men, but I also know I am not alone. I choose to fill my life with things different than the norm. My life is not void of important things or desires. It is filled with longing for work that fulfills me, experiences that can only be had by traveling and seeing the world, as well as hobbies and passions that complete me. Beyond this, there are hundreds of characteristics I would use to identify myself in a positive light. I think the quote at the center at this piece is focused on finding joy within yourself, before seeking it in others. It is about loving yourself completely so that you might do the same to others. For me, that is such an important lesson.
Thanks for entering my world,