Some people you encounter change your life.
More so, they change you. You don't realize it at first. It only becomes apparent as the days fade into months and the months into years. At some point, it becomes clear.
My friend Justin Shideler was one of those people.
A memory returned to me one morning. I clicked play on an acoustic guitar playlist and the sound of the strumming of strings reminded me of Justin's music. I paused Spotify to search YouTube for Justin's music.
After a few misspellings of his last name, I found him.
Captured in time is his gentle, humorous, and intimidating presence. It was good to see his face again. I've not seen Justin since his senior year of high school. And I never got to see him again.
He passed away four years ago. He passed too young and too soon.
Though I won't see him again in this life, I think about him often. I think of him as I begin my workouts. After all, Justin was the one who got me started with weight lifting. He was a role model for me as I navigated the turbulent years of high school.
Hidden within that small habit of weight training is a secret to a happy life.
Showing up every day, showing up to better yourself, never satisfied but pleased with progress applies to every area of life. Justin was the first to teach me that lesson, a lesson that took decades to understand.
Ambition is never satisfied but is kept in check with the gratitude of progress.
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