The Death of Dreams (Part 1 of 3)

Daily Prompt

Today, write about a loss. The twist: make this the first post in a three-post series.

All dreams die someday. This is the story of the death of one of my first dreams. It was 2005 and my singular goal in life was to play basketball as much as I could. It was my favorite sport of many and despite my height I had gotten quite good.

During the summer I trained with a college player who got me shooting about 500 shots in a couple of hours. As in any sport, repetition is key. I will still continue to wonder what would have happened to my three-point shot if I had continued for another two years. I could sink them like it was my job.

I worked so hard that I got to be in great shape. Better shape than I had ever been in. This was before I knew to diet, so I ate lots of meat and pizza, not to mention Captain Crunch. The peanut butter flavor was my favorite. But my hundreds of sprints each day heartily counteracted any excess. I was strong, lean, and ready to rock and roll for tryouts.

I arrived to a scene of about 30 people from school, each was a great basketball player in their own right. But when it came to conditioning it was easy to see who had put in the time. I won every single sprint during that tryout. On most, the second person wasn’t even close. At the end of the first day, my calves cramped badly when we did some full court drills. I kept going but those cramps would affect me for a few days, I attribute it to my poor diet. Man, that is an important thing for any athlete to know.

During the entire try-out, I gave it my all. I played defense like a madman and would run the ball as point faster than anyone else. I was a speed demon, but my control wasn’t on par. I wasn’t used to going as fast as I did so I would lose the ball, or make a bad decision. I was right on the cusp of making the team and I knew it.

The last few days of the tryouts came to a close and I could see who was left, who I was competing against. There was a definite separation between the starting 10 or so and the rest of the squad.

Coach pulled us into his office and let us know one by one who hadn’t made the team. I watched as the three guys I had dropped pounds of sweat with left the room in despair, my fate was all too apparent. In basketball, height matters. Almost more than anything else. I knew that my 5’8″ stature had doomed me, but I was determined. I walked into that office with my head held high.

“Elliot, this is going to be hard to tell you, but we are going to cut you from the JV team. Its hard because you work so damn hard, you have more heart than anyone else out there. But we don’t have room to keep you on the team. I need to be completely focused on the twelve guys that will play and you are above the line.” Tears started to come to my eyes at that point. My basketball dreams were dying, but I knew that this wasn’t an end. And it had been inevitable, I could see that now.

I shook off the tears and told the coach it had been fun to be on the team. I had loved it. I shook his hand firmly and said, “Thanks for giving me a shot coach. I did my best.” I’ll never forget the look he gave me that day, almost as if he couldn’t believe me. I didn’t argue, or become emotional, it was simple to me. It was over.

Dreams die. Give them all you’ve got and they will still perish eventually. But life will bring you more. Go with them, without holding on to the past. You will find that they are born just as easily.

Emotions in my Container

Prompt: Unsafe Containers

Which emotion(s) — joy, envy, rage, pity, or something else — do you find to be the hardest to contain?

Sadness has become the hardest emotion for me to contain lately. I am disappointed in my race. Saddened by my neighbors. I find it hard to understand how the world has become so corrupt. So lost.

I think that the answer to this is community, that my lacking of connection with the people around me causes my sadness. I try to be as happy as I can in my life, it is what I consider to be the goal of my life. I want to share this with the people around me and this truly is what makes me happy. The more am I around people, the happier I tend to be.

Recently, I have also become very successful at bringing myself back into happiness. My greatest sadness occurs when I am lost, when I am disappointed in myself, isolated. Productivity and discipline are two ways that I have been defeating sadness and depression and I have found that together they can bring hope back into your life. Concrete goals that have steps and milestones are what keep me motivated every day. Dreams and aspirations became possible again and the world seems like a brand new place.

You are in control of your own happiness.

I think the title is funny because the container refers to my body. My system for experiencing the world. My friend calls his body his avatar, its pretty funny, cause its true. Anyways, take the red pill, try some yoga, and enjoy your time here.

Love and Loss without Regrets

WP Daily Prompt

Open the first photo album you can find — real or virtual, your call — and stop at the first picture of yourself you see there . Tell us the story of that photo.

paris_GF

 

I broke up with a girlfriend of two and a half years. We both thought we were going to get married. We fell in love in Paris. We did distance and remained committed despite an 80 day separation and spending our senior year on opposite sides of the country. We broke up. And I don’t regret a single second of our relationship.

Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do. What you feel is right. You have to trust the feeling in your chest, the one that seems to be right about everything if only you listen hard enough. I listened for a long time and the break-up was the hardest thing that I have ever had to do. But my heart still tells me it was right.

In February of 2010, in Paris, I met a girl who changed my life. She was the coolest and most attractive person I had ever talked to and we couldn’t seem to stop hanging out. I was enthralled by her passion for Family Guy, love of psychology, and passion for life. About six weeks later we started dating.

Our first date was epic. The morning of, I went to find a location in the city and ended up at avenue de St. Germain des Pres, the center of the existentialist movement in Paris. I found a quaint restaurant called Aux Fins Gourmets and asked for a reservation from an unusually nice French man. I then when to the wine boutique down the street from my apartment and bought a bottle of wine from Bordeaux.

I will always remember what she was wearing that night. We took a train to the first arrondissement to walk along the Seine. On one end of the river, we could see the Notre Dame and on the other, the Eiffel tower. We held hands and fooled around the entire walk to the restaurant; when we arrived the atmosphere was cozy and compact. There may have been 10 couples there total, with a few having brought a child. They were obviously high-class as well and one server worked the whole room. We uncorked the wine and ate shallots, escargot, steak, and salmon while laughing at each other’s jokes and stories and enjoyed ourselves for multiple hours, until we were a bit drunk.

I also won’t ever forget the ride back, how comfortable she was laying her head on my shoulder, how the air seemed to soften when she sighed. The world melted that night and I won’t ever forget it.

Two years later we were living together in Boston, reality had set in and I was beginning to find that I was unhappy. Over the next year the depression grew until it was unbearable. I wasn’t ready for the assumed finality of the relationship, I needed more adventure in my life (this had nothing to do with women, I simply needed to continue exploring the world). We broke up in December and I moved out on the first of the year. I never looked back, but I will always miss the companionship and friendship that we cultivated. The memories that we created will always be an intrinsic part of me and I will never regret a single second of the time we spent together.

I have moved on, but haven’t found love again. Maybe someday I will, but I am decidedly unattached to it. Life will bring what I need to grow and learn.

I honor that, without regrets.