Take me back 15 years ago. I think if there was anyone whom I would have switched lives with, it would have been Junior Seau. He was at the top of his game in football and seemingly, in life. He played the coolest position in football and he was the best at it. Junior loved the game and it showed. He had fun. Men rallied around him. He made massive amounts of money for playing a game most of us would gladly play for free.
Junior was still playing as of January 2010. Just over two years ago. This week Junior Seau quite unexpectedly committed suicide. He has been on my mind a good bit these past few days.
Thinking about Junior Seau as of one week ago, he still appeared to have it all. At 43 years old, he was still young enough to do everything you would want to in life, save play professional football. He had more than enough money to live comfortably for the remainder of his life. Junior was a hero in his communities of both San Diego (where he grew up and played) and within the Samoan-Americans. He had a family that loved him and a stellar name that would follow him for the rest of his life. A week ago today, you would have thought that Junior was set up well to live a tremendous life for the next 40 years.
It is impossible to ever make sense of a tragedy of this level, so I will not try to here. However, I do think there are principles that you can draw upon from this horrible event.
First, you never know what is going on inside the minds and hearts of other people. We all have our secrete lives. We all have our thoughts that we would be ashamed of if someone else knew about them. I assume this was the case with Junior. This is the case with me, and I’m certain, you also.
On a more personal note, no matter how bad your own internal thoughts are, you should not process them alone by yourself. Don’t allow personally destructive thoughts to fester. We all have them. Make sure when you have them, you tell trusted people around you about them. It is amazing that when you pull destructive, evil thoughts out of the dark and put them in the light for others to see, then these thoughts often lose their power. All indications are that Junior was keeping his destructive thought life to himself.
Second, envy is stupid and often founded not in reality, but in fantasy. Junior had everything that guys like me want. Even though Junior was retired from football, he still had it all. Money, fame, looks, family, etc., Junior had it. It would have been natural for his friends, family, and casual observers like me to envy and want what Junior had. He had the kind of life which the rest of us fantasize.
We would have been wrong. Junior was clearly tormented. Not sure why, but it is clear he was in a bad place. Life is too short and too good to envy others, even celebrities and those of means. We all have our problems. Live where you are in your life, with the people in your life, and by the means you possess. Don’t worry about what you don’t have.
Finally, it’s been said many, many times before, but money, fame, looks, influence, and the other things we so often clamor and pine for DO NOT SATISFY. They never have and they never will. I think this is one of the reasons why I like shows like Mad Men. It shows worldly pleasure for what it is. . . ultimately bankrupt and severely lacking in final significance. In our celebrity fixated culture, we are programmed to envy lives that we don’t live. The “glamorous” is pushed upon us through magazines, TV, and the internet. Junior Seau was proof, once again, that what we think satisfies us, material wealth, notoriety, and even talent and professional achievement, does not ultimately satisfy us.
It never has. It never will.
for more thoughts on this post, please go click here – (Further thoughts on life and depression – Psalm 13)