Without a doubt, the 2010s decade has been the worst of my life. Only a few days into 2010, I committed the crime for which I will forever be known (and plagued). From 2010 to 2012, I lived an out-of-control life filled with guilt and shame. In 2012, I was arrested and sent to prison. From November 2012 to December 2014, I wallowed away in a minimum-security penitentiary. After my release, I welcomed the second half of the decade with optimism, but I only found my journey to be an uphill battle of continued shame and disappointments. Then, to end the decade, in 2019, my father died.
I am ready for this decade to be over.
I am not so naive to think the mere turn of a calendar year (or decade) will somehow magically change or fix anything. However, from a practicality point of view, it provides the opportunity to reflect upon the past and how to improve the future.
In the song “Carry On” by the band fun., there is a repeated lyric I have grasped onto with hope and optimism: “May your past be the sound of your feet upon the ground.” But it has been a continued struggle to move forward.
Moving forward. That reminds me of a movie line from my favorite Rocky movie, Rocky Balboa:
“It’s not about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward — how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!”
I’ve taken so many hits over the last ten years. And I am the first to admit that a vast majority of those hits are my own fault, a result of my own destructive choices. I have no one to blame — no one except me.
My paramount struggle these days is this: No matter how much people hate me, they will never hate me as much as I do. Perhaps the biggest flaw in my personality is my inability (and somewhat refusal) to forgive myself for my past. And thus, my biggest adversary is myself. The strongest force preventing me from moving forward is me.
“You really should forgive yourself,” I’ve been told by countless people.
Why should I stop hurting when the people I hurt are still hurting? Do I deserve happiness after taking happiness away from someone else?
I don’t know.
All I can do is carry on, move forward, and perhaps one day I’ll be able to look at myself in the mirror and not loathe the person staring back at me.
I suppose that will be the theme of my 2020s: Moving Forward…
I suppose I need to read 1 Corinthians 5:17 again.
…and again, and again, and again.