And so I have a question for you. It’s the kind of question that I suppose we hear a lot this time of year. No, I’m not asking you what your resolutions are. Though that may be a good question too.
I’m asking if you’re excited for it. Are you excited for 2016? Are you excited at what the year holds? Are you excited to make this one better than the ones before?
My guess is that you might not be.
My fear is that over the years you’ve grown complacent in how much excitement one can actually maintain apart from trading in your job for a career in bank robbery.
Now, you all know me. Many of you have been my readers for a couple years now. You know my story and are familiar with the journey I’ve been on. An evangelical pastor who was everything-in for Jesus from the age of 16. You know that I had spent the last few years as a steakhouse manager and along the way discovered the oasis that we call The Clergy Project. And you know that now I’ve transitioned to a Life Enhancement and Career Coach. It’s not about trying to be cool and trendy. It’s about me taking all the best things I loved most about pastoring and being able to do them in even better and more liberating ways: Actually Helping People Make the Most of this Earthen Life. And I’m as convinced as I’ve ever been that things like joy and happiness and peace and excitement and thrill and adventure are things that can actually define your life—your earthen life! Earth can actually be pretty great. And your life can be absolutely amazing.
Anyway, last week I put together a quick little eBook now available on Amazon. It kind of keys off the idea of your New Year’s resolutions, but not really. It’s actually designed to help you break out of the mundane and cliché habit of forming just-resolutions that never actually change anything. It’s a quick and easy read with long-term effects. It’s called Your Next Life Now: Trading Sticky Notes for Badass Tattoos as We Conquer Life Together, and I’d love for you to pick up a copy today and check it out. As always, take a moment to drop some feedback in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you. I cannot even begin to describe the change I’ve felt in my life over the last three years, and this is an honest attempt to try and share a bit of that with you. This is an invitation for you to join me.
Special 2-Day FREE Offer: Yep, you heard that right! Today and tomorrow, you can get your copy of Your Next Life Now absolutely FREE! I want to share this with as many as possible, so please don’t miss this opportunity! Get your copy from Amazon now and download the Kindle app to any reading device. Once you’ve finished reading, join the community and share your thoughts below!
The Trade: The Last Thing You Need is Just Another Resolution
Your buddy’s kitchen is generally not the best place to get a tattoo. Neither is the kind of 4am that comes after several hours of binge drinking.
But alas, our friend Vince has had to learn this lesson according to the proverbial hard way.
After spending some time on his new rugby team, Vince began to notice that all the guys had these terrible tattoos. And it was about that time that he also realized one of his new teammates entertained himself—and the entire team—as an amateur tattoo artist. Take a moment to connect the dots if you must. But see, our friend Vince had never been much of a tattoo-wearing kind of guy, so he just kept declining the offers and looking for other means of indulging in all things life and rugby.
But then came Vince’s Big Day. And when we’re talking about his Big Day, we’re not talking about tattoos. At least not yet. We’re talking about how Vince’s rugby team voted him “Man of the Match” for leading the way in kicking ass against a team they most definitely should not have beaten. The big win led to a traditional Drink-Up where as the newly declared Man of the Match, Vince was obligated to “shoot the boot”—a rookie cleat filled with beer and a shot of spit from each of his teammates—
You can already tell this is an evening where the best of decisions are being made. You should probably sit on the edge of your seat awaiting more…
And so it’s here where we fast-forward to 4am and find a crowd of not-so-sober rugby players, their girlfriends, and a stray cat from down the street all chanting Vince’s name and empowering the Most Matchful of Men to finally get the tattoo that his position now demanded. And just as you would have expected,
Vince jumped right in.
But rather than getting this amazing new tattoo on his arm or leg or chest, Vince saw streams of light shining through the clouds of misjudgment and decided to put it on his backside. Yes, backside. In other words, the area south of his back. And rather than playing it safe and requesting a more conventional or conservative design to be tattooed across his arse, our bold new rugby legend told his new amateur-artist-friend to surprise him, to tattoo anything he like on his backside. Be a true artist, we can hear him saying, and just make it great!
And here’s where, a good decade or so later, we find Dirk Vermin and Rob Ruckus of the reality TV show Bad Ink step into the picture.1 You know this show. The one with the slogan where Ruckus says, “Welcome to the mistake capital of the world. We have a reputation in this town. We’re saving Vegas one bad tattoo at a time.” It’s a tattoo cover-up show. People bring them terrible tragedies, and Dirk rescues them with amazing works of art, large enough and dark enough to hide all trace of tragedies stained permanently in ink and blood.
And so it’s here with Ruckus and Dirk where we find inscribed across Vince’s seat cushion the hospitable invitation “Welcome Aboard,” embroidered in the thick dark lettering of something like a Cooper Black font and spanning cheek to cheek. And it’s here in the show where we find jokes abound, those of love boats and the swabbing of poop decks. Here we find Ruckus draw a very careful distinction between badass tattoos and bad ass tattoos. And somewhere in there Dirk saves the day by painting a large eagle over what was once designed to welcome unexpected guests…
Thankfully not all tattoos are bad tattoos. And thankfully I’ve seen more badass tattoos than bad ass ones. But tattoos, for better or for worse, are a part of us. Though it’s true that we can decide to cover them up with more tattoos that are larger and darker, once we get one, it’s almost guaranteed to stick with us forever. In a very real way, our tattoos become a part of us. They both shape and are shaped by our individual identities in an almost cyclical fashion…