I firmly believe in staying true to your dignity and integrity; upholding what your conscience feels as right, and in making decisions with character and intelligence. Many times I’ll be faced with unusual or difficult situations. It should be to nobody’s surprise that life is tough, but being a sensible person should be able to trust one’s gut instinct.
Very recently the thread of my patience, temper, and wit was tested to the point where things could go wrong quickly or they could be handled intelligently. For most of my life I found it impossible to do the latter of the two. My fuse was too short and my sense of reality was shot in situations with volatility. I’ve been getting better at handling things with an even temperament as I’ve gotten older though.
I was at Delaney Gym playing ball. I was out there doing what I’ve got to do, that’s win and win convincingly. The team I’m on just won our fourth straight game but going on these winning streaks isn’t always a good thing. First, I can’t pay attention to my belongings and furthermore, if I beat someone they’ll find a way to get payback; even if it’s off the court. Sometimes you might not leave with everything you brought.
The game ended and I go for my sweatshirt…it wasn’t there, neither was my ID, keys, and money. Now I became livid and my temper goes explodes. Deep down I know I probably should take a step back and look over the situation; was it an accident? What’s the sensible thing to do next? I go back over to the gym and someone returned my ID and my sweatshirt. They took my key and my money, but left my sweatshirt and ID. I was scared at first, but then I realized the key is useless to them. They have no idea where I dorm or what room I’m in. I’ll get a new key and I’ve got my sweatshirt back. So I’m out thirty dollars; big deal, obviously the person needed it more than I did. I didn’t do anything I’d regret; I didn’t fight or punch anything. I wasn’t irrational and I think that’s a testament to my character.
When all is said and done, once the dust has settled, what do you really have other than yourself? If you look at yourself in the mirror, are you content with the man that’s looking back at you? I try not to leave any doubt in my mind that I have done all I can do to keep my character intact, I try not to leave any doubt in everyone else’s mind that I’m a dignified, good guy. To sit here and try and say that I’m perfect or even that I strive to be perfect would be wrong, I’m trying to say that I set out to be the best person I can following what I so strongly believe.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.