Many years of my life have been spent alone, in fact it’s quite disheartening to even think about.  But that time alone has brought me appreciation for certain aspects of life.  Such as friendship, honesty, and camaraderie.  You learn to appreciate things more when you are on the outside looking in.  But something has occurred to me recently; I find myself greatly empowered when in the presence of others.  Whether it’s mountain biking through the woods at breakneck speeds with a friend.  Focusing only on what’s ahead of you as the adrenaline flows through your veins, knowing one small misstep and you are going down, hard.  Or pushing my body to it’s limits in the gym, hearing the shouts of friends as I grind through a grueling session.  When I’m with others, my spirit rises and my constitution is as a rock.

For example, I went to work out with a group of friends today, as is pretty typical for us.  Most all of my friends are in good physical shape, and some of them are in phenomenal shape even.  I am a bit smaller, a bit weaker than some of them maybe, but I can typically make up for it with tenacity.  When I am surrounded by others, pushing me to a certain goal, my mind and body become strong.  There is no quit in me.  And today was a particularly challenging day, we had a 40 minute marathon of a workout that threw everything under the sun at us.  I watched as my friends started ahead of me, I saw how extremely grueling this was going to be; I became nervous as I awaited my turn.  The minutes were counting down, and soon I was up, fear struck.  Then a calm washed over me, and I had a brief conversation with my inner self: “Don’t be afraid.  You are strong.  Do what you think you can do, then do more. Give it your best, give it everything.  Oh, and Brian….Don’t give up, ever.”  The fear subsided, the clock sounded, and I went for it.  I pushed myself to the limit and beyond, I pushed myself so hard that people were cheering and laughing at the effort I exerted.  When it was over, I hit the ground in a cold sweat, body shivering.  I could scarcely move, my breath was coming in fiery heaves.  I wanted to vomit, but forced that thought out of my mind.  I heard the whispering: “Wow, he killed it,” as I smiled inside.

My will becomes so strong with others, I feel I can take on the world.  When I’m surrounded by friends who care for me, and people who want to see me succeed I have no fear of anything.  The problem I’m currently facing is that, all though I do have friends that I can share in physical activities with, and that’s great; few, if any, share the same outlook on life that I do.  Most of my friends are content with living in their home town, working their meager jobs, and trimming their lawns.  I don’t want to be one of those people.  I know I have such strength inside me, and it all ready manifests itself in certain ways.  I am probably the most honorable person I know, and certain things I could never betray.  I would die for my friends and their families if that’s what it came down to.  These are strong traits, and they expose strong character.  But I need to find a way to channel all my strength into myself.  I need to be as strong when alone, as I am with others.  It’s a battle I’m fighting, and I know great things will come if I can win, but it’s not easy.  But then again, nothing great ever is.