The Old Man At Night

man_walking_at_night_1I can’t tell you exactly what it is that happens to me during the night. I’ve never really known myself. But when that sun goes down and the moon goes up, something inside of me awakens. No this isn’t a sinister story of a young man turning werewolf at night…thank the heavens for that. This is a story about me and about something that is shifting inside of me as the tectonic forces of my life continue to move as they do.

When that sun goes down, I feel this density that is hard to explain. Everything during the day feels almost light and sleepy at times, but during the evening, this old soul of mine comes alive. I’ll sit down to write and the words will pour out. I will think about things that are going on in my life and there’s this sense of clarity that I can’t get during the day. I’ll take walks in the dark only lit by the moon and see ways of doing things and paths that I cannot see during the day.

This old man in me understands one thing very well about life that only comes out during the evening.

He understands that in life, for the lucky ones, you can only really see just around the bend to what is possible for yourself. Sometimes that’s a day, a month, or even 10 years down the line. But nonetheless, it’s just around the bend. He understands that there’s a purpose to visions, and that the bend between the vision and where he is at right now is supposed to be full of fog and look like a land of the unknown. Because it is. It’s all unknown. But the thing is, if you can see around that bend, and you see something great, you must take the steps necessary today in complete blind faith to walk through the fog.

Because when you do, you discover whole new pieces of your world that you didn’t know existed before. Who really knows how it’s going to pan out when you do, but you get to see whatever is new about this place and that’s the payoff. You get experience. You get to see what is going on much more clearly.

This “bend” that I’m talking about can bring up so many things. But it only requests of you one thing to understand what it will yield – faith. You can’t know everything that’s going to happen. You can’t even being to comprehend what may come up during this time. But that’s the nature of the bend. This bend brings up all sorts of things – anxiety, fear, doubt, worry… but excitement comes with all of that.

I’ve been told since I was a little boy that life works on a very colorful scale – there’s hardly ever just black or white.

I really do believe this is true. Everything mixes up and smears itself across the canvas of life. But the most important thing I’ve ever been taught is that you will always be in a place of fear when you are coming up on your boundaries of whatever has been possible for you before. Fear will exist. It will grip you tight and make you panic at times. I always used to ask…”But what do you do when that happens?” Kiddo…you have to be just a little bit more excited of what is possible and what can happen that’s so great in your life than however much fear is inside of you. Sometimes it’s not going to be all that much more…but if you maintain just a little bit more excitement than fear, you’ll make mountains move.

During my late-night walk yesterday, I reminded myself of this. In fact, it’s very rare where I won’t have full blown conversations with myself in complete silence on these walks. That internal voice…not the critic but that inner voice…kept saying to me “Yes.” Yes kiddo…you’re tipping that scale the way it should be. Yes kiddo…you’re a different man than you used to be.

Over these past few days, a little bit of turmoil in me packed up its bags and left me this afternoon. Then, everything just settled. I settled into a smile. I settled into something a little bit deeper than anything I had expected. What I settled into was this.

All those years back when I lost myself, I rediscovered everything I was looking for when I made a decision about how I was going to show up in this world. I knew it was time to make changes, had absolutely no idea what that really meant…but I knew that I could start walking on a path and pave it as I was going along. That was 5 years ago – the biggest decision I’ve ever made in my life thus far came out of seeing something just around the bend and trusting the fact that I knew it was a good thing. It was rooted in deep love for myself and wanting to build something in my life that didn’t really exist at all at that time.

Sure I’ve had my fair share of incredible challenges along the way, but the past 5 years of writing has taught me much more about what it means to be a man in this world…but better yet, what it means to be a great person. My heart melted and what came out of that was a flaming passion that ignited the dreams of those around me. My anger started to wash away and what came out was a compassion and flexibility to meet others where they were at and care about them no matter what. My pain was finally heard when I allowed myself to heal old wounds that tore up my presence and took me completely out of being alive…I awakened. But most of all…I showed up as a person who belonged in this world, as someone who was good enough for myself…and had the ability to earn the love and respect of others not because of what I said…but because of what I was doing in my life and how I made them feel.

Every single day I fall deeper and deeper into this journey of mine. Some days I’m incredibly scared…but I always move forward. I always try to make a step…just one step. Yes, I get frustrated when I can’t make as many steps as I would like, but I know I have to slow myself down sometimes to really appreciate the small wins. There have been a few of those small wins lately, but the big win for me today came when I smiled as I sat down to write in my Moleskin and said…

You’re throwing with a purpose again.

Bottom of the 9th.

2 outs. 2 men on base. The count is 3-2. Sanders on the mound. What a game it has been. It all comes down to this.

Breathe kid…breathe.

You have two options Evan.

You either get back up on that mound and you throw your absolute best pitch with every ounce of conviction in you.

Or you get back up there and throw scared….and you know what happens when you throw scared. You get demolished.

So what’s it going to be?

Trust your gut…or play it safe?

‘I know what to do.’

60ft 6in…here it comes!

Game over.

Maybe I’m not playing in between the lines anymore…but I’m playing in a much bigger game. This one happens every single day. For a long time in my life I was pitching scared because I was playing to not-lose. But now, I’m playing to win. I’ve got nothing to lose. Fearless.

There will be times where I will have to make adjustments and change my game plan…but that’s what any great pitcher does…he shifts to what works and moves away from what isn’t working. He never focuses on the negative or the last pitch because he knows he can’t do anything about it. But the best pitchers are fearless in  their pursuit of understanding how they can throw their best game. They will throw all of their pitches. They will try to hit as many spots in the zone and will challenge hitters. It’s only when they actually understand what the playing field is like that day because of experiencing it that they can start to create their plan. That’s where the good are separated from the great.

So I’m going to continue doing that.

My best stuff.

My best pitch.

Day after day.

Not playing to not-lose.

But playing to win. Because I’ve got everything to gain and nothing to lose. So I might as well go out there and play this game without fear and dare as much as I can. I only know where to make adjustments when I do this. So…

Mow em’ down kid.

-Evan Sanders

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  • Michelle Brown
    September 2, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    So very true. Playing scared doesn’t yeld the result you are looking for. That faith is where it is at. I’m working toward this myself. Seeing your words and how you are moving through this is helpful. Thank you for sharing your process and making me aware of new things around the bend.

  • Little Voice
    September 3, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Great insight.

  • skigurl
    September 4, 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Love the sports psychology behind your stories. Well done.

"raw. electric. a daily shock to the soul."

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