Today is the last day of my traveling for a few months. Tomorrow I fly to San Francisco where I will work hard on www.fivepointfive.org, live poker and of course Sober Paddy. When walking through the local town after breakfast, I was yabbering manically as the caffeine from my double espresso sifted trough my system. Second chances was my topic. Do you get them in life?
The way I see it is that you create your own chances in life. I remember being 22 and about to head to Australia for the first time. I had a feeling in my belly that the world was my shellfish. There was nothing that could stop me doing anything I wanted. Five years and a lot of mediocre madness later, I washed up in Goa in India and went through some deep self analysis.
I made a pact with myself to go back to Ireland, get close to my aging, sick father and to get onto the Dublin GAA team. I felt again that the world was open to me. I had flamethrowered the candle shop but was ready to give myself a second chance. Five years and some serious success personally and professionally, I washed up drunk and druggardly in Sydney yet again.
I took it upon myself to get sober. I found that good things happened when I was in the arms of Senorita Sobriety. Bad, nasty, warped and destructive Lenny appeared after about 6 pints and a line of ketamine. So to give myself a chance I kicked everything. And four years later here I am in Mexico after spending 10 months travelling though South and Central America.
The thing about my travels is that I have being paying my way while travelling. I have been earning dollars playing poker which have funded my ventures. I have launched a new website with my wife which over the next few months is going to help us sustain this new life we live.
If you had told me five or ten years ago that I could create this, I would have laughed you out of crazy town.
What it proves to me is that in life you have to decide to change, before you can. You have to be willing to change before that possibility can be a reality. Second chances don’t just come around. The “Universe” does not magically open its doors for you. Destiny does not reveal to you a secret opportunity one mysterious misty spring morning. You have got to go and take it. You have got to go and make it happen yourself.
I read today that a young GAA prodigy Ciaran Kilkenny is returning from Hawthorns AFL in Australia to play for his local club and county Dublin. He is giving up a chance to be a professional sports star, to be an amatuer with the people whom he knows and loves around him.
It is a great quixotic story for those who believe in the romance of sport. He has given himself a second chance. Nobody but he himself forges his future and I commend his ability to seize the power of his life and send it in the direction he wants.
There are no guarantees in life. There are lots of downs and ups. But if you let yourself drift at the whims of some external forces, then you will probably look back in life and wonder where it all went wishy washy. You might spend your days being envious of how others live. You might never give yourself a second chance.
Do you really want to be one of those people?