Over this past weekend, it dawned that I’ve come a long way in understanding the “Good Life.” The word “dawn” seems apropos to use since this epiphany came while participating in an overnight walk in San Francisco to raise money for suicide prevention. By the time that the sun came peeking out over the iconic San Francisco skyline the next morning, I realized that I’m living the life that I always wanted that would make my father proud.
An Ocean of Emotion
The event was full of emotions – there were dozens sharing how they found hope that prevented them from taking their own life; others shared how they have coped from losing a loved one unexpectedly. Hearing these inspiring stories from the 2,000+ participants reminded me of my own journey of once being a depressed teen who could understand my father’s death to being the person I am today.
I’m now a grown man who has an ideal life – I’m in incredible shape, I have a great job, and I usually have an excuse to celebrate something on the weekends. This is all great – but all the things that I just mentioned are on the surface level. My dad’s life was great on the surface, but he did not have the hope or joy to want to keep going.
Over the course of this walk, I was reminded of all the things that aren’t on the surface level that have given me a true taste of the Good Life. I’ve been able to feel love – in regards to a romantic sense to being passionate about the work I do at my job. I’m able to see and experience beauty all around me – from taking the time to admire a city mural to stopping to admire the full moon over the Golden Gate Bridge. I feel that I’ve been in a state of constant learning – such as understanding the benefits to Yoga, to how to do public speaking, to studying psychology and how my own emotions are buried deep in my own subconscious mind.
The Stories that Touched Me
In addition to reflecting on what’s making my life meaningful, the event helped me encounter many amazing people who inspired me with their incredible stories. The night started with joining one of my good friends from Yale. Though we have been close friends for the past three years, I did not realize he lost his other brother just before we met. We had a great conversation and now feel like we have an even deeper friendship, knowing that we both have a similar scar that we can comfortably share with each other.
Then there was Dave who has recently had to have surgery of both of his hips. He relied on two hiking sticks to help him keep the weight off his legs. His doctor encouraged him to stay off his feet for any long period of time, but he was committed to walk this event in honor of his brother. His determination fueled him to complete the 18-20 mile journey.
I also met Carly who had just lost her twin sister a few months before. Though she was still grieving, she was able to find the strength to complete this highly emotional event. From the team she had joining her, I later learned that she had raised over $9,000 while still being a full-time student athlete who is in the middle of preparing for final exams.
I also met Christine who flew 3,000 miles the morning of the event. Her work schedule prevented her from taking any time off, so she would have to fly back out later that night after completing the 20-mile walk. Though it was not an ideal way to see San Francisco for his visit into the city, she said she would not miss out on participating in this annual event that rotates its location . She has successfully raised the $1000 minimum for the last 5 years since she lost a friend and considered suicide herself.
Even before the event, I was inspired by everyone’s generosity to help with my fundraising for this great cause. Knowing that I have friends and family who want to support me for an issue that I’m passionate about is something else fueling my Good Life. Thank you everyone!
The Overnight SF helped me take time to reflect on the joy I have in my life. I look forward to writing more on this blog in the future on how I’m experiencing the Good Life (and I promise to do a new post every week from here forward). I hope I’ll be able to help inspire you with the same joys I’m experiencing.
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You may not remember me but my son Justin played ball with you in the summer at Oklahatchee. I am so proud of the man you have become. I think the cause you are working for is one that is truly needed. God bless you and keep you! I look forward to your next blog!