I am 16 Going On 26

File May 09, 21 02 29

On the eve of my 26th year on this Earth I’ve decided its time to lend some perspective on my life thus far and see where it gets me. May 11, 1990, I came into this world and the adventure began. I remember being a kid before I hit double digits thinking I would never make it 10. As a freshman in high school I never thought I would see 16. At 16, I thought 18 was years away. At 18, 21 was so far off. Now here I am, a day shy of 26 and closer to 30 than 20 (thanks for the reminder, Nicole) and I can’t believe I’ve made it this far. In that time, I’ve learned a few things and done a lot of living. I’ve traveled the world, met interesting people, ate great food, enjoyed all the beer I can, and these are the 3 things I’ve learned.

1. Be at the right place, at the right time, in the right uniform

This point is very cliche and its something that is thrown around in the military all the time but it is very important and sound words of wisdom. No matter what you are doing, whether you are giving a key note speech at a large convention or your are showing up to the gym to work out with friends, being prepared is key. Most of the time, as long as you are dressed appropriately, on time, and at the right place, you can’t go wrong. Chances are you look like you know what’s going on so no one will pay you any mind. Oh, and if the occasion calls for a suit, you better suit up and wear the heck out of the suit. You can never go wrong with a well fitted suit.

2. You are going to fail

I was in scouts pretty much all my adolescent life and I fell short of getting my Eagle Scout because of merit badges. I failed. I did a year at Prep School and 3 at West Point and failed that as well. No matter who you are, you are going to fail at some point in your life. You could fail at something huge or something small. The fact of the matter is you will still fail. Failure is just a fact of life and it sucks. It comes with the territory and each failure comes with some sort of a valuable lesson.

3. When you get knocked down, get back up and ask for more

I’ve had my fair share of failures as I previously stated and each failure has hurt. But my failures do not define who I am as a person. When we fail, what matters is what comes next. Do you just throw in the towel or do you get back up and keep fighting? Failure is not the end. Getting knocked down a couple of pegs is not the end. Take a knee, get your barrings, rub some dirt on your wounds, and drive on. Resiliency is how you overcome a failure. How you bounce back says a lot more than your failure.

Life is truly an adventure. Like the wise and noble Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose. Here’s to many more years. Cheers!

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