Blogpost, self-reliance

CPR on the Past

There are transitions in life that we make willingly and others that we do begrudgingly. Recently I’ve been reminded that my involvement as a parent is going to be wanted less and less in the coming years. It was kind of an odd realization to make that at one point I was one of the two most relevant people in my children’s lives. From the first moment, I was there for midnight feedings, explosive diapers and everything else that came along. Now that my role is changing, I might mourn it a bit or possibly get nostalgic. The thing that I can’t do is perform CPR on a past that is no longer healthy or viable.

Parents are not the only ones who try to “keep the past alive” unnecessarily. Anyone can get caught up in the idea of how things used to be. It’s comfortable and familiar. There is an allure of that known past because it carries none of the fear of the unknown future. The problem with living in the past is that it is exhausting to do CPR on something that has no chance of survival. That version of you is gone and you can’t get it back. The energy that you’ve put into those chest compressions would be better used to move you forward. By all means, reminisce and enjoy the memories but do so as the you of today.

I love this lyric from John Mellencamp although I’d like to amend it a bit. “Life goes on, long after the thrill of living is gone.” There is no doubt that other parts of life carried a certain thrill that you can’t get back. However there is no reason that you can’t get just as excited for today. You can’t go back to the “glory days” but you can create new ones, if you’re not completely fixated on the old.

Move forward!



Travel Sites Never Suggest the Barcelona Police Department?

BarcelonaMetroIn 1998 my best friend and I traveled to Europe for the World Cup which was held in France.  Despite our main goal being to watch soccer games, we also made side trips to other cities inside and outside of France.  One of our stops was the Spanish city of Barcelona.  It’s a beautiful city on the coast with the architecture of Gaudi, the shopping of Las Ramblas and hosted the Olympics only a few years prior.  Despite all of those  magnificent characteristics, whenever I talk about that trip, I usually talk about the Police Department.  Let me explain!

My friend and I were staying in a hostel* about a mile from the beach.  So we usually took the metro from our hostel to other parts of city.  On our second to last day in Barcelona, we were at a metro station waiting for the train to come.  My friend was rearranging items in him money belt when the train arrived.  We hopped up and got onto the train.  After the train pulled away, he realized that he’d left his passport on the bench at the station.  By the time that we got to the next station and took a train back, the passport was gone.  This was early internet days, so we relied on maps and locals to make our way to the US Consulate in Barcelona.  Upon arriving there, we realized it was closed because it was a Saturday.  The only person there was a guard who only spoke Spanish.  Luckily I was able to use my Spanish to explain the situation and he put me on the phone with someone to help.  Since we were traveling to France the next day, he explained that we needed to go to the Barcelona PD and file a police report.  With that and a copy of his passport, we would be able to cross the border and get a new passport in Paris on Monday.  Luckily our visit to the Barcelona PD went off without a problem and we made it to Paris as scheduled.  The Barcelona PD is not actually a tourist attraction!  However it is one of the places that I mention whenever I talk about this trip.  The reason is simple, the destination matters but the road is more important.

Almost none of the stories that I tell from my travels are about the view from the Eiffel Tower or standing in front of the Mona Lisa.  They are the stories of what went wrong, things that were odd and personal.  If the point was to see the Mona Lisa, then Google is all that you need in order to have a fruitful life.  To the contrary, the journey to get to the Mona Lisa is more relevant and full of impact.  We spend so much of our lives chasing goals and that is clearly the point.  Goals are merely the excuse that we have for going on a magnificent journey.  The mistake that most people make is that they forget to enjoy the journey.

Every day is your chance at adventure.  If you choose not to see it, then you will be swallowed up by all of the petty and seemingly insignificant crap that you encounter.  Or maybe, just maybe going to the Barcelona PD could be one of the best times you’ve ever had!

Hit the road!


*If you’ve never traveled abroad, a hostel is like a VERY bare bones hotel.  You sleep in a room with many other people and have shared bathrooms etc.