02. What Really Matters

As I said in my previous post, we don’t always have all the answers. There are those who like to think they do, and if that works out for them, so be it. To this day, I’m a trivia fanatic and I self-admittedly get a rise in my chest and a smirk on my face when I read a trivia question at game night that everyone looks so perplexed by and I get it right. Shallow? Egotistical?  I mean, as far back as we all can remember, people always say “knowledge is power,” which is a great segue into this week’s focus.

To give you a brief overview of my life leading up to my more formative years, I’ll start from the beginning.

I was born in Columbia, South Carolina on January 27, 1986, the day before the space shuttle, Challenger, exploded.

My mom remembers that day, stuck in her hospital room in tears over that tragedy and being unable to see me much. After a few weeks, doctors discovered that I had a tumor in my right ear, ultimately resulting in surgery to remove my right ear drum and the bones surrounding it. Since then, I’ve only had very minor conductive hearing ability through the bone behind my ear, which I believe only transmits the sound vibrations to my left ear drum. Over the next ten years, I will have had many more surgeries on both ears, resulting in many struggles socially.

I have had more than a dozen surgeries on both ears, one of which was the removal of my right ear drum. @_entrejourney
Visiting my new cousin, Kathleen, after one of many ear surgeries.

As well as I can remember, I’ve had over twenty surgeries on my ears collectively and around the age of eleven, my last routine visit to our family ENT showed my hearing results to be that I had 60% hearing loss in my right (bad) ear and 40% hearing loss in my left (good) ear. This was in 1997, I believe, and until 2013, I had not been to another ENT to have my ears checked out. You will discover life choices and developed habits woven throughout my story that will contribute to why I ultimately ended up getting a hearing aid in 2013. Enough about my hearing, however, because 1999 is where my story really begins.

I was about three years old when my dad’s employer, a southeastern chain of retail department stores, transferred him into a manager role from a store in Bamberg, South Carolina to Swainsboro, Georgia, a small town about thirty miles west of Statesboro. I made good friends over the ten years that we lived there, though I wasn’t all that popular. I had a few traumatic experiences that stick with me to this day, and I won’t share those details, but overall it was a relatively uneventful childhood.

I learned to ride a bike, rollerblade, started playing baseball, you know, the normal stuff. Baseball was a pretty big part of my life from early on. Even though I began in Little League, doing handstands in left field, I eventually became devoted to improving my skills and taking it seriously. Just a heads up, no, I did not go on to play in high school or college (given that I told you this is my first real attempt at college since I graduated high school).

Thought I didn’t fully envelope myself in the sport through to high school, I believe firmly that the sport started me on my path of understanding the basic principles of discipline and work ethic.

Which leads me to 1999, where my family and I were faced with our next big milestone.

My dad was being transferred to a bigger store, in a slightly bigger town, a little further south. As of 1999, the population of Swainsboro was approximately seven thousand people. Our new town, Fitzgerald, about 95 miles southwest of Swainsboro, had a population of about nine thousand people.

During this move, I experienced many things that I can only say I was apparently too naïve or preoccupied to notice, things that would later prove to have been essential to a much easier life, if you can call it that, had I just paid attention. Awareness, as you will see throughout this narrative, will become both my saving grace and my downfall as I meander through my teenage and young adult years.

I wasn’t exactly focused on goal setting back then and I had no real concept of what really matters in this life. I eventually made it a huge part of my journey of self-discovery by trying to figure out what’s most important and seeing that it’s not all about me. There is something bigger out there to live for.

Looking back, was there something specific that you wish you had focused more on?

With that, I’ll end with a quote from a great mind of our time:

“People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time

than people without them could ever imagine.” – Brian Tracy

See you soon,

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2 thoughts on “02. What Really Matters

  1. Pingback: 12. Aimless

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