This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, … that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, ‘I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’” – Brene Brown

And isn’t that the truth? There are no guarantees. It makes it really scary sometimes. Actually, if I am being honest with myself here, it makes it scary a lot of the time – most of the time – hell…almost all of the time. You can put your heart out on the line and nothing may come back. That truly is a frightening realization. In fact, I would venture to say that this realization can be paralyzing for many. It has been paralyzing for me. Because while we read quotes and hear speeches about people who say that all of the strength we ever need is within ourselves, the people around us do play an incredibly important role in our happiness. As the great Into The Wild quote said, “Happiness is shared.”

It makes me very uncomfortable at times to think about how fragile it all actually is. Over the past year I have been shown a whole different world – and the world I have seen did not impress me. I understand what people are saying when they say “The Real World” trust me, I get it. Being in school my whole life brought a completely different set of challenges – who knows if they are worse or they are better – but what I see now is something completely and totally unique.

The world tries its best to drag you down into the river of mediocrity.

As a salmon swimming upstream, you end up losing the rest of the gang and on a part of the journey, you are confronted with things that were once fleeting. Things get very quiet. Weaknesses get exposed. Fears surface. Doubts cause inaction. Authenticity diminishes. Your sparkle dulls. Life begins to life you. And then it comes down to asking yourself, “What the hell am I going to do about this?”

I’m going to be very honest here, the fight in me turned into a charcoal briquette after baseball ended. That was almost three years ago. Life just took a bucket of water and poured it right on my fire. And when I tell you there was a fire inside me for that game, there really was. Nothing has matched up to the feeling of being on the mound competing my ass off. What was even better was I knew “why” I was competing – I was competing because my dream was right around the corner. A dream that I had since I was 5 years old. But then there was no more why and life just because a whole lot of who, what, when, where, how.

Speaking of vulnerability…

It’s really easy to get lost…and I am glad that I just got all of that out there. It’s also really easy to pretend that everything is okay when it’s really not. But I think I will always remember what my history teacher in college taught me over and over again…”accept your condition – that is the only way you can create a new one.” So off I go to create something new.

– Evan Sanders

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