I’ve never been that young. Maybe I grew up too fast. Maybe after I grew up I just kept getting older and older in my heart. My body is young, but in here…where that thump is…it’s pretty old. That heart of mine has been through a lot. It has seen the sting of loss, massive amounts of happiness, joy, pain…pretty much everything and anything in between. But as time goes on, as it continues to grow, it gets stronger. It wasn’t always like this. There were many times where it would get cut and the wounds would dig deeper and deeper. I didn’t really have the ability the turn the faucet off, so to speak, when things started getting shaky. Things have changed. I have a little more iron will in my heart these days, and while people still call me “The Old Soul,” I still feel everything, just like anyone else does.

It’s not always easy, and things aren’t always cake. I’ll never forget what my pitching coach told me about rough days. Sometimes, you just don’t have it…and the head coach comes and pulls you out of the game. I feel like I’ve had to hand over the ball today. That walk back to the dugout sucks…every step feels like an eternity. You just wish the bench would be closer than it is. Find your spot – sit down – and try to breathe.

Every day can’t be great. But you can be great in even the worst of days. Things just happen – much of the time you wish they didn’t – but they do. I can tell you from experience how easy it is to get stuck in a rut. Everything keeps compounding…it looks like there isn’t going to be an end to the madness…and if you aren’t careful, things can really get messy fast. When this happens, and I know I am starting to get in a bad place, I grip on as tight as I can to those around me who I love and care about. I know that sometimes I have to put myself in their hands because I am too afraid to make footsteps on my own. It took me a long time to be able to do this…because usually I pride myself on being able to sort my own stuff out – but there are a lot of times where you need to confide in someone who knows how to take care of you. You don’t always have to be so strong.

This heart of mine goes through a lot. But it will never try to be something it isn’t ever again. I learned that lesson a long time ago. The lesson of not changing yourself, the way you are, for anything but your own reasons. This life is tough – you will be told to groom yourself a certain way and follow a certain path. But I can tell you that following your heart and that voice inside of you telling you to take the trek where there is no path is one of the most rewarding and exciting things there is. Fear…sure. Anxiety, depression, pain, hurt…yep. But without those, you never truly know the purity of happiness, love, passion, determination…what it is like to know you have an unconquerable soul within you.

Without the darkness, you will never be able to understand the stars.

Thanks for the adventure…now go out and have a new one.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project