Recently I went on the Tilt-A-Whirl at the Crawford County Fair. I only went on this ride because they wouldn’t let Aero on the Ferris Wheel (too short) and for some reason they also decided to jack up the speed at which the Ferris Wheel goes around. Hmmm. Going on the Tilt-A-Whirl was not a good idea, but I did it because I like my kids and I wanted to create a memory for them. The first two spins were OK and I was confident I could handle it. But then came the third spin and BOOM the realization that I am indeed a human being and that I have my limitations. The photo I share above was taken right after the Tilt-A-Whirl experience, me as white as a ghost, fighting off a bit of puke, and trying to regain the cold and clammy feeling that washed over me.
So I’ve had this thought in my head and this feeling in my heart as I entered my 38th year in existence this year that I am indeed a human being and that I too fall into some of the trappings of what it means to be a human being. For all my life I had a feeling that I didn’t have a limit on my energy and that if I set my head and heart towards something I could accomplish what I faced. This year was the year I realized that I was not everything. I could not put all of my energy into all of the aspects of my life. I had to have more of a balance. I had to structure my energy and my time according to what mattered most. And one of the big things I realized was that I had to take care of myself first and foremost.
Isn’t that the weirdest thing in the world? It was to me when I realized it. I had always put the needs of others before my own needs. I thought that was the goal of life: to serve others and to give everything you can to making them be well and enjoy their experience. It never dawned on me that Justin Hoenke the Human Being needed love first and then after that came everything else for everyone. Since I realized this I think I’ve been a better partner, father, librarian, and overall human being.
I tell myself these things now:
- You don’t have to finish that thing in front of you. You can leave it for tomorrow.
- You don’t have to change the world. You can just exist.
- You don’t have to constantly chase the muse. Let it run freely for a bit.
- You don’t have to be everything to everyone. You can just be a human being.
Justin Hoenke is a human being. That’s OK.