I used to scoff at the concept of moderation. Compromise being the concession of those with weak vision, and weaker conviction. These were the philosophical musings of a self-righteous, well-rested young man who was only responsible for himself. And for a while I lived my life with blinders on. Nothing mattered but me and my goals. Selfishness was a necessary evil in my mind. I could not compartmentalize my life. There was only room in my box for my dream. Or so I thought.
What I realize in retrospect, is that in many ways, I was an obsessive, self-absorbed kid. And that tunnel-vision not only limited the broader scope of my life, it damaged my ability to be my fullest self, unintentionally undermining my attempts to bring my aspirations to fruition. Whether as a ballplayer as a kid, or as a filmmaker in my early twenties, I wanted it so bad, I was getting in my own way.
It wasn’t until an only son with a two-ton chip on his shoulder, working as a bouncer in Atlantic City, met a twenty-two-year-old single mother more stunningly beautiful than any model in a fashion magazine, working as a waitress, that he came to understand his real potential.
Tara gave me the greatest gift of all. A family. And, through coming to witness, know and appreciate true selflessness, helped me bring into much sharper focus all that I wanted out of life. From raising Madison as basically kids ourselves to Sienna and the twins in our thirties, with each addition the demands on us became greater, while the intensity of my dreams mounted. To care for my growing family, to provide for them, became my main focal point. However, I never took my third eye off of my ultimate goals. What I wanted of myself, I desired much more now, for them. It all meant so much more. And the stakes were higher.
Time took on new meaning and importance in my life, because to a heightened degree, it was in limited supply. So demand was through the roof. With available time at such a premium, circumstance puts a man to an ultimatum. Either find the time in your schedule to make your personal objectives a priority. Or abandon them and move on with your life. It’s really that simple. So for someone like me, there was no decision to be made at all. I would take the 168 hours that I was granted each week and make the most of them, finding the time, one way or another. Otherwise, I was wittingly forfeiting my right to complain if I wasn’t making the progress I desired.
Now, with maturity, I have come to understand the meaning and essential nature of “balance”. And there is nothing profane or heretical about it. Balance in life is critical as it is in the gym or in all athletic pursuits. Without your two feet underneath you and solid footing, a man cannot make decisive moves. He cannot be explosive. He cannot generate the power necessary to make an impact. He cannot deftly move forward. Balance can enter the determined person’s life when they come to understand that there are things—principles and people, in the universe, and in their own lives, that are bigger and more important than their own existence and aspirations.
There is tremendous freedom in understanding how brief our moment on Earth is in relation to the whole of history, and how small we each are in the context of the endless cosmos that surrounds us. In our own insignificance, we become free to significantly affect those around us, and by extension, the whole world. The loss of my father. The birth of my children… These monumental events imbued my life with balance, by force. Reordering my priorities in a manner that would no longer abide me taking the blessings of each new day for granted. In coming to better value the present moment, I was able to identify how fortunate I was to have a higher purpose in this world, and what a windfall it was to actually be a man with enough weight on both scales that I had the luxury to find a balance.