The story of my friend Stan who is one of my biggest inspirations.
“Attitude is a choice. Happiness is a choice. Optimism is a choice. Kindness is a choice. Giving is a choice. Respect is a choice. Whatever choice you make makes you. Choose wisely.”
— Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Life is such a funny thing. One minute you’re on top of the world and then the next minute you’re at the bottom of the ocean. At least, it can feel that way sometimes.
I’d love to say that every single one of my friends has lived a charmed life but the truth is that the majority of them have lived through some terrible things.
I have this friend of mine, we’ll call him Stan*. This dude is going through some sh*t right now. It’s been tough for him for the past couple of years. Between the divorce, moving to a new part of the country, leaving behind all his friends, and his health issues, I’m amazed the guy is still standing.
But that’s the thing. He’s doing more than just standing. He’s sprinting towards a better life. A full-on, non-stop dead sprint.
And how exactly is he doing this?
Well, my friends. Allow me to paint you the full picture.
My Friendship With Stan
I’ve known Stan for about five years now. He was one of the first people I met when I moved to the town I’m currently living in. I can honestly tell you that from the first minute I met him, I liked him.
Stan was kind to me and seemed extremely genuine. I met him that night when he was engaged to his now divorced wife. The two of them were performing on stage in front of the restaurant’s patrons. Stan was extremely musically talented but he was also quite humble. He never bragged to me about how great he thought he was.
In fact, I remember several times throughout our conversation that night where I complimented him on how talented he was as a musician and he seemed to almost shy away from it. That humility was a big reason why I felt so drawn to him.
He was friends with several of my new friends I had made during this time as well. Naturally, we all hung out at various occasions and got to know each other better over time. Stan and I clicked.
We had a similar sarcastic sense of humor and a flair for mischief. Honestly, I just liked being around the guy. He was a force of positivity and optimism.
Stan was a force to be reckoned with.
Over time, I started to realize just how true that statement was.
Stan Fought Like Hell To Try To Create A Better Life For Him And His Wife
Over the course of the past couple of years, I witnessed Stan work three jobs while trying to support his wife at the time and help them keep up with her medical bills.
The medical bills were piling up because they discovered that she had throat cancer and her doctors’ visits and medications were starting to add up.
Also, Stan’s wife was missing a lot of work because her health had become so poor. They stopped being able to perform music together and the happy times seemed to be fading away. Stan was running himself into the ground trying to keep things afloat.
A big part of why he hurt his knee towards the end of this timeframe was because he was working so many hours and one of the three jobs he had required him to do a lot of standing and lifting heavier objects.
His body finally started breaking down. You can only push yourself so hard until finally something snaps or breaks.
But he never complained. Through the physical therapy for his knee, working all of his jobs, and being stressed out to the max, he never complained. Or at least, if he did complain, I never heard it or witnessed it.
I started to develop even more love and respect for him because I could see how much he loved his wife. I could see how he was willing to do whatever it took to take care of him and her. Stan was fighting like hell to provide a decent life for the two of them. It was inspiring, it made me believe in the power of love.
And then they moved out to the other part of the country so his wife could get better cancer treatment and medical care. He left all his friends behind and relocated for his job too so that he could be with her and continue supporting her.
A few months later, we spoke on the phone to catch up on our lives. He told me they were getting a divorce. Things had been rocky in their relationship for several months and the move only made things worse on them. Life had taken its toll on both of them.
After everything, they’ve been through together. After all the sacrifices and highs and lows. It was over. It was all over.
Stan told me about the sadness he had felt and the depression. It almost broke him knowing that the relationship was over. A relationship that he spent 6 or 7 years of his life cultivating and nurturing.
In a puff of smoke.
Life can be cruel.
Stan’s Ship Was Sinking And Yet He Still Showed Me Love
Yet, he has shown incredible resilience throughout it all. My friend Stan talked to me about how he was taking acting classes now.
He wanted to explore a career doing voice-over work and he was making it happen too.
When I hung out with him over the weekend, he told me about how he has already landed a few book narration gigs.
Stan is even moving out to Los Angeles in a couple of months to go all in on this acting thing. He has been working extremely hard to meet new people that can help him further his acting career. Stan even did a theatre show recently. Incredible.
Yup. The guy is going all in. He’s taking risks and he’s giving it his everything. He isn’t sitting around feeling sorry for himself or making excuses. Even though, it would have been completely understandable if he did feel sorry for himself.
One of the most impressive things about him is that even while his relationship was imploding, he still would make time to call me and check up on me.
Stan would ask me how my writing was going and he would still be supportive of my goals and dreams. He always continued to show me love and support even when his own ship was sinking. I don’t have many friends like that, do you?
I don’t know many human beings that would be willing to do that, do you?
That’s Stan. That’s just the kind of man he is. I always liked him from the moment I met him.