As a youth, the movie Top Gun ruined me because from that moment on, all I could see myself becoming was a Navy fighter pilot. Prior to that, my childhood dream was to grow up and become a pussycat race car driver but, that’s a story for another day.
To become a Navy Pilot you must be nominated to Annapolis by a Congressman or Senator then compete against the other nominees for the 2 open slots in each state – I lived in California:( Regardless, during my junior and senior years of high school I was nominated by Congressman Bob Dornan and Senator S. I. Hayakawa. In my senior year I was certain I was going to receive the scholarship until I learned about politics and life not being fair. Someone was moved ahead of me (he had an uncle who graduated from the academy) and I was offered West Point. Army guys don’t fly fighter jets.
I dealt with the disappointment as well as any immature 17-year-old would. I turned down the scholarship and decided to figure life out while attending Community College. My dad wanted to strangle me. I also decided to work in a restaurant, buy a motorcycle, hang out at the beach and eventually take a 6 month journey across the U.S. In a Volkswagen Van.
Thankfully, I finally came to my senses. Have a wife and a baby girl will do that to you. I had 2 years of college left to complete my degree and accepted a scholarship to Pepperdine. Going to school while working full-time and raising a family was no picnic but it was during this time I learned a valuable life lesson.
As each new trimester of school was about to begin I thought about who I wanted to be 16 weeks from now. Those 16 weeks were going to go by whether I attended class or not. Was I going to create a better future by being in class or not? By putting in a little effort each day I could accomplish big things over time. This kind of thinking got me through college, graduate school, broadcasting school and later graduate school again. I kept wanting to see a better me after each period of time.
This brings me to my point. Time is always going to slip by and we have to choose how we'll spend it. Exercise or not, eat healthy or not, pray and serve others or not. There are two versions of you waiting at the end of time. Which do you want to be?