Yesterday was an important milestone for me: I celebrated ten years in my chosen career. I chose to celebrate the same way as I have for the past ten years. I did one shot of Fireball for every year of service! The burning sensation reminds me of the pain I’ve endured. The warmth of the alcohol reminds me of the benefits of peace. The headache I get the next day generally reminds me of the occasional cost of that peace and the existence of suffering in this world!
And yes, before anyone gets in on me about the amount of alcohol that involves, I’m quite aware. And in my defense, it wasn’t a big deal for the first few years! But now that I’ve reached ten years, I’ll admit that it’s becoming a bit more difficult to keep up the tradition and I may soon need to find a different way of celebrating. Especially since Fireball has a fair amount of carbohydrates per shot, so blood sugar control becomes a bit convoluted throughout the evening.
What made yesterday all the more difficult is that I celebrated by myself. Since the birth of my son Alexander, my wife can’t partake since she’s nursing him. I guess the only silver lining is that I likely won’t have to take eleven shots next year as this may likely be the last year I will have such a celebration…
I remember when I started this career. I had a lot of hopes and aspirations for the future and the good that I could do. I woke up every morning grateful for the work I did and went to bed every night grateful that I had survived another day. I can say with firm honesty that I’ve met some amazing people and seen some incredible (and sometimes ridiculous) things. It’s been quite a ride.
As I nurse the headache I woke up with and take my first steps in my eleventh year of service, I consider it all bittersweet. The career I committed my life to may be coming to an end because of someone else’s lies and destructive nature. But the mindset, the mentality and the hard lessons I’ve learned over the past decade will stay with me for the rest of my life. The values and discipline I developed will remain and hopefully be passed on to my sons. It will be difficult to let go.
I have no regrets. I can’t. Every event that has come to pass has brought me to the here and now. And I would not be the person I am today without each and every single one of those events, good or bad. And even if it sounds like a conceit, I like the person I’ve become. I’m pretty awesome. Since starting on this journey, I’ve become a role model, teacher, mentor, husband and father. I have already gained a lifetime of wealth in only a decade. Imagine if I could continue for another decade? Who knows what good I might accomplish. Unfortunately, this won’t be so. Such is life.
I guess if someone were sitting next to me as I toasted last night, they would hear me toast the lives I’ve saved, regret the lives I couldn’t reach in time and weep for the lives I won’t be there to help in the future. Such is the way of the protector and one such as I.
I will begin another chapter. Life won’t allow me to do otherwise. Perhaps the next chapter will be filled with as much as this one has been. Who knows? Only time will tell, but I promise that I will continue to share the adventures as they come. There are always stories to tell… ☯