Essay: Sandwich Reflection.

May 17, 2015

As I sat in the Kansas City Airport eating what must assuredly be the worst pastrami sandwich of my adult life, I finely found time for some self reflection; time to understand what a transformative experience I had just went through. As I sat in the Kansas city Airport eating the the worst pastrami sandwich I’ve had since 4th grade, I began to understand the depth of what I’ve been missing in my life and what I have to look forward to once this sandwich is eaten; banished to the depths so that it can no longer infect the world with it’s presence. It was a poor excuse for sandwich if I’ve ever seen one; possessing the minimum requirements of what could be considered a hand held vessel for meat consumption but without the soul required to satisfy discerning palettes.

I’m 28 now. Young enough to be at a station where it’s ok to still not have a finite plan together but old enough to know that there are consequences to every decision we make in this life; old enough to know that the cost of every decision is far too great to quantify. Time isn’t money. Time is life. It’s the only thing we really own before we return as dust. My sister just had a kid. I’m flying home from a wedding I was graciously invited to be in as a groomsman. Sitting in the Kansas City airport eating a vile excuse for a sandwich is somehow personally significant. It’s the first time since 2012 I’ve taken 4 consecutive days off from work for a non-work related trip; Not for the sandwich of course but for the wedding.

That in itself was a hard realization. The past 3 years have taught me much. But they’ve cost me just as much. If you re-read the paragraph above and interpret time as the only true currency, then consider me bankrupt. I’ve spent it all chasing dreams and unicorns. I’ve spent it turning this thing from a hobby to an obsession to a bonafide job. My church is now my office. In the past I’ve looked to nature for short jaunts away from my day to day. Self reflection had become a top priority. In my mind, it was the only legitimate reason I would need an escape. I am an exceptionally brief person by nature, so the last thing I considered as a means of self refection would be to surround myself with other people. People I don’t know. People who are not the gym. I never thought that my buddy’s wedding in Kansas City and the sandwich that followed would be the catalyst that would allow me to truly look inward.

What do you get when you try and photograph one collegiate strength coach, one private strength and conditioning coach and one weightlifting coach?  Not a lot of room for anything else.

What do you get when you try and photograph one collegiate strength coach, one private strength and conditioning coach and one weightlifting coach? Not a lot of room for anything else.

I learned a few things this weekend:

1) The longer I chase this thing, and by “this thing” I mean the last 2-3 years of my high level athletic career, the more it will “cost” me personally.

2) I have a profound need for self validation at the end of all this. No one will truly care how far I get, at least as much as I do. But still I NEED to get to the end and tell myself it was worth it. In my mind, I think that’s getting a medal at Nationals or the American Open. I’ll know for sure after one of those things happen.

3) After it’s over, I’m going to be ok. I shove a lot of my basic needs on the back burner so I can focus on the day to day grind. I love it. I thrive on it. It completes me. But someday soon, I’m going to go on that extra long hike or that trip across Europe or pick up martial arts and rock climbing again or get a dog or move in with a girl. I see the light at the end of the tunnel and honestly it looks pretty good.

4) Weightlifting will always be a part of my life. After all, I’ve always identified more with Obi Wan Kenobi than Luke Skywalker . . . Han Solo too but that’s a different story.

5) I don’t have an excuse to not succeed. Neither do you if you think about it.

6) One day, I’m going to buy my own cat. In 2014, I realized that I spent my entire life not knowing that I liked them. He’s going to be a fat, furry, gnarly looking asshole.

My fellow man taught me a lot this weekend. I met the families and I was accepted as one of their own for a whole weekend, all because I love Nate. A few closing thoughts before I get on this plane: visit Kansas City if you get the chance, go to Arthur Bryants and order the burnt ends. Follow your bliss but never forget that you need at least a few other people to share that bliss with. If you set your eyes on a goal, go forth and fucking destroy it. If it’s worth your time, it’s worth your effort too.

This post is dedicated to Nate and Ryann and the awful, self reflective sandwich that followed a wonderful weekend with your family. For reference, Nate and I are exactly the same age, we have similar jobs but for as many similarities we share, we share just as many differences. I’ve learned a lot about myself from our friendship as you can probably gather.

One Response to “Essay: Sandwich Reflection.”

  1. tc said

    I’m on a mission to find the “perfect” cat for you! 🙂

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