Sometimes I can be a bit cynical. Slogans and mantras are fine for other people, but I’ll just stick with being a Gen Xer and feel above everything.
The other day, however, I found myself inspired. I was inspired by an unlikely source. I was inspired by my arch-nemesis.
I was inspired by Kobe Bryant.
I am two weeks older than Kobe Bryant. Being so close in age, I’ve always compared myself to him. The result have been…disappointing. Sure I might have the Best Touring Show of the 2011 Dallas Theatre Season and a Young Alumnus Award from the College of Charleston, but he has five NBA Titles, an Oscar, and about half a billion dollars.
Still though, its important to have people to measure yourself against, and this week that actually paid some dividends.
On Monday I read an article on ESPN.com about the relationship between Kobe and Richard Sherman, the former cornerback of Seattle’s Legion of Boom. (That’s a football reference if you are my Mom reading this.) The two of them both had painful Achilles Heel injuries, and Sherman reached out to Kobe for support.
“Don’t be a baby about it.” That was Kobe’s first piece of advice. Perfect in all its Kobeness.
He then said that the most important thing is not looking at the finish line. That coming back from an Achilles injury is like climbing Mount Everest, and if you look at the top, you’ll just get overwhelmed and want to give up. Focus on one day at a time and eventually you’ll be at the top of that mountain.
Did those words ever ring with me.
This past week I got ahead of myself. So far ahead of myself.
It was a combination of thinking about how great it was going to feel to be done, mixed with thoughts of what will happen if it's never done. I am in the middle of treatment number four. I’m getting a scan after treatment number 6, and if that’s clear, then hopefully I can stop the big guns. If not, we will go on with the full twelve. All I want is for that scan to be clear. All I want is to become a vegan, run everyday, and juice the cancer away forever. But if I think about the results I get depressed, scared, and overwhelmed. Much like Kobe and Sherman felt when facing their Achilles injuries. Surely they wondered if they would ever walk again. Ever play sports they loved again. Kobe suggested viewing this as a challenge. The ultimate challenge.
Damn if that didn’t inspire me.
So that is my new mantra: Win Today.
Ugh, I feel lame just writing it.
This can look differently to everyone. For me, if I Win Today that means I’ve meditated. It means I’ve written and been creative. It means I’ve exercised, made a juice, and stuck to my diet. It means I’ve tried to help people and been a good example. It means on days I get my chemo, like yesterday, that I'm not a baby about it. I took my medicine like a big person. It also means that I haven’t had my head up there on top of Mount Everest, and if I do get stuck in the future, then I wiggled my toes and brought myself back.
Because that is the one thing Kobe Bryant and I actually have in common: we only have today. All the money in the world can't buy another.