In an excellent story written by Rick Reilly for ESPN, Hall of Fame NFL quarterback Jim Kelly says he is "blessed" and "wouldn't change a thing," despite living for years with constant neck and back pain, the death of his eight-year-old son, and a recurrence of cancer that cost him his upper jaw bone and teeth.
Instead of feeling sorry for himself or wondering "what if," Kelly, who led the Buffalo Bills to four consecutive unsuccessful trips to the Super Bowl, keeps busy as a motivational speaker and an advocate for fighting the disease that killed his son.
I'd seen this story before, but read it again today as I scanned ESPN's website for late scores from yesterday's NCAA March Madness games. And it was the part about not changing a thing that really stood out this time.
So often, people say things like, "If only I could go back and do it all over again. I'd sure do things different next time." I know I've said it many times. But not Kelly. Sure, he's rich and he's famous, and he's enjoyed a highly successful life. But look at what else he's gone through, and continues to go through. According to the story, he once had to have a cyst removed under his nostril without the benefit of Novocain.
Losing a child, plates and screws in his back and neck, constant pain in his face, cancer that won't go away. And, yet, he wouldn't change a thing? Wow.
That's an amazing statement, really. Think about that. Wouldn't change a thing.
I've always said I wish I'd done this, wish I'd done that. Shoulda, coulda, woulda. Hell, nothing bad that's ever happened to me can compare to those things that have happened to Jim Kelly. The bad things that have happened have pretty much all been of my own doing. My own bad decisions. Nothing that has happened to Kelly has been his fault. It just happened. And he wouldn't go back and change a thing.
That's a pretty outstanding attitude, I'd say. He must be a pretty outstanding person. That's what I've always wanted to be. An outstanding person. To stand out, somehow. Not just an ordinary, regular ol' person, but outstanding. I know some people I consider outstanding. And the most outstanding thing about these people is probably their unwavering, positive attitude. That positive attitude leads to everything else.
And I do have a pretty outstanding life, if I really think about it. I'm doing OK, in spite of myself and my best efforts sometimes to screw it all up. Maybe if I start practicing more gratitude and stop thinking about how things coulda, shoulda, woulda, I will get to be outstanding, before it's all over.
Ciao, y'all ...