February 8, 2011

Finishing the Race in Style

Day 39: 25.4 miles/1:32

“It is not where you start that determines your success in life, it is how you finish that defines your accomplishments.”

When I was twenty-three (that was a few years ago now), I had finally finished college, was getting married, and was moving to Florida to teach high school history and coach swimming. My life was in a big transition and I had my entire future in front of me. I had no idea what was in store for me; but, I was facing a new world of opportunity and I was excited about all the new and wonderful prospects of the life before me.

When I think of my life at twenty-three and all that it held for me and compare that to my son’s life at twenty-three, I feel so much pain for him. Here he is in rehab, with a minor criminal record, under probation, working on his addiction challenges, with no real financial opportunities in his life, and no earthly possessions other than a backpack worth of clothes. It is so hard to see the promise in his future. Don’t get me wrong, the promise is there. However, for a twenty-three year old that cannot benefit from the perspective of a lifetime of experience, he doesn’t see brightness in his future. I feel for him. I understand deeply what he sees. I feel for him to the point where I am in pain for him.

Then I remind myself, and him, that it is not where you start that determines your success in life, it is how you finish that defines your accomplishments. We are not running a sprint, we are participating in a marathon. The promise of your skills, abilities and talents is what makes you who you are and defines what you are. Life can be celebrated in the short run; however, life’s accomplishments are only measured in terms of long-term achievement. In the game of life, anyone can start out at the back of the pack and finish at the front provided they are willing and committed to investing in and believing in their abilities and their greatness.

The promise of our future is never lost until we quit, give up, or die. Whether you are twenty-three or fifty-three the game is not over until it is over. My son may feel like he is on a journey that features a giant mountain and a few difficult detours; however, his belief in himself will enable him to move forward successfully provided he embraces his own greatness. Getting him into that mindset is both the challenge and the opportunity.

Remember, it is never too late to be awesome and fulfill your promise in life no matter where you are today provided you are willing to work for it and believe in it! Get busy!!

About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.