On Sunday I went for a run along my favorite beach bluffs path. I got to my turn around point and I stopped like I usually do to bask in the beauty and look out over the ocean for a few minutes before making my way back home.
There was a thin, scruffy, homeless looking guy with an impressive afro standing along the guardrail. I’m guessing he was in his mid-20s, he was wearing clothes that were way too big for him, and he was holding a small blow-up beach ball.
He was fiddling with the beach ball and said something to me about how it would be funny to toss it down and hit someone in the head that was riding by on their bike. Weird start to a convo but I got a good vibe from him, so I was open to talk.
Then he began telling me about how he is originally from Puerto Rico and that he walked from Washington, DC to Santa Monica, CA. It took him 3 months and he slept on park benches the whole way.
He said he decided to do this because his life got turned upside down and he had nothing left. A man that was a pastor in Puerto Rico ruined his reputation and destroyed his relationship with his girl. He was very bitter and angry.
I let him talk for a while and then I stopped him and kinda bluntly said, “You know what you need to do? Stop telling that story.”
We bring so much anger, resentment, and ickyness into the present moment by telling old stories of hardship. Yeah, crappy stuff happens, but every single thing that we experience helps us to become more of who we truly are and want to be.
Every challenge is an opportunity to grow.