Justin Tadlock

The Captain Of My Soul

I’ve been lazy.

I’m in one of those moods where I see I need a change in my life. Yes, these come often, my search for motivation and desire (e.g. Asking For A Motivational High, Searching For Desire). This time it’s different though. I’m in a place where I don’t know where my life is going, and I’ve thought this the case many times. What makes this so different is the reality of it.

I don’t have any definite plans set for the future, and that’s a scary thought. My stepmother once told me (I think I mentioned this in a previous post) that I’m coming upon the biggest transition in my life, but it’ll be the last big one until I get married and have kids. In a way that is reassuring, but at the same time, it just frightens me a little more.

I don’t won’t to stray too far from my subject—laziness.

However, I do think some of this laziness stems from worry about the future. It’s like the world is finally letting go, saying, “I’m not holding your hand anymore, now spread your wings and fly…”

My wings aren’t spread though. I still don’t feel like I’m ready to hop out of the nest and feel the freedom of the air. I think I need to seriously reassess my goals right now. At the very least, my short term goals.

For starters, I shouldn’t be up at 2 in the morning thinking about what I’m going to do. I should be getting a good night’s sleep. I’m just a bit restless tonight.

The reason I’m even blogging about this is because of the conversation my sister and I had tonight. We were talking about where we grew up, and how we could never see ourselves back there, living as those people live. They simply settle for mediocrity. The main goal in life is to get a $20,000 a year job, a wife/husband, and a doublewide trailer. Everybody’s not like that there, but it seems like it when you take a look back.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a simple life, a loving wife/husband, a couple of kids, and to relax in the country.

I think it’s the thought of ending up back there that’s worse than anything. I would be content if I knew my going back was going to change things in that area. If I knew that I could change the educational system, the economic system, and the social system. But, I don’t see that as a reality.

Back to my motivational problem. Somehow, I’ve lost that motivation I had seemed to get back about a year ago. I started the Body For Life program last April, and for about four months I was a different person. I was motivated to do homework, to go out, to exercise (of course)—I was motivated in all things. Then, my roommate moved away (this is all your fault Danny, if you’re reading this). I started living alone for the first time in four years. I think I lost a lot of my support system, and I quit doing things.

I’ve had pretty good self-motivation in school, but I felt most of my teachers lacking. I still feel like I’m only doing enough to keep a B though—just getting by.

The reason I need to be motivated again is because I am jumping into the real world pretty soon, and I don’t want to only be striving for my doublewide. I put this poem on my Facebook profile a few months ago to try to keep myself motivated. I think I should start reading it more often.

OUT of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

~ William Ernest Henley (Invictus)

Those last two line have always been my favorite lines of literature. “I am the master of my fate: / I am the captain of my soul.” Self-motivation is the key to conquering anything. A good family, set of friends, or support system help, but it doesn’t replace doing for one’s self.

I honestly don’t know where I’m going with this post, but I feel like I have to write this. If you’ve read this far, and didn’t quit at the “flying from the bird’s nest” analogy, I thank you for having the strength to read on.

Okay Justin, start looking at something other than feelings of worry. What do I do now? I must start a serious search for a job. Next? Well, that’s about it. That doesn’t seem like much. I think I may be worrying over nothing. Maybe I should start putting things a little more plainly to myself like that. Look for a job. Simple.

Before I do that, I must go home this weekend and enjoy myself. I haven’t been home since Christmas, and maybe I should go back to my “roots” for a few days. What’s that saying, “To know where you’re going, you have to know where you’ve been”? I think that’s how it goes.

I have Spring Break next week, which should give me plenty of time to remember “where I’ve been,” reevaluate my goals, and get on that job search. I am the master of my fate. But, maybe, just maybe, you all can give me a little support. Remember how I said a good support system helps?

I think I’ve gotten that out of my system now. Tomorrow, or rather a little later today, I should wake up and be a new man. Maybe I’ll play a different CD on the way to school. I have been listening to the Walk the Line Soundtrack for about three months now because I’ve been too lazy to take my CDs from the living room to the car. I should definitely start with something simple like that. Music does have a way of changing lives.

Any suggestions? I’m thinking Tom Petty’s Free Fallin’. It’d be nice to ride down the road like Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, wind blowing my hair back (except my driver’s side window doesn’t work), singing, “And I’m free, free fallin!” I don’t have the CD though.

I’m waking up a new and improved Justin Tadlock.

I will fly out into the wind, tasting the warm Alabama air, spreading my wings, darting toward the light.

I am the captain of my soul.