It was during the endurance of my brother's favorite cartoon that I first remember seeing the Army's "Be All That You Can Be" campaign seen below. It came packaged with catchy little jingle that I can't seem to ever forget...no matter how hard I try.
Why am I bringing this up? Because I was talking to my friend recently about being the best version of ourselves that we can be, and I immediately had one of those rewind sequences that you see in movies and television where the character rewinds their memories back to a certain point, and then they re-live the experience in their head for just a moment before they get some wild idea. I happened to rewind to the memory of Saturday morning cartoons and this silly commercial's jingle, and it got me thinking...
The army's campaign is a sales pitch, sure, but they got something right with their slogan: Be All That You Can Be. I do believe that we are endlessly discovering ourselves, each other, and God. We never "arrive" anywhere that cannot be changed or discovered further, thus bringing the reality of eternity into our present lives.
I was thinking of it this way: I used to be incredibly active and never had to really worry about what I ate, and I ate horribly! Then I hit my mid 20s and my metabolism changed, which meant I couldn't eat In N Out every day. I also realized that it takes a little longer to recover from an injury, and I can't get away with all-nighter's like I had when I was a teenager. So, I have had to re-learn how to be the best version of me as my body changes, which means making sure to stay active, stretching a lot, sleeping (like a normal person!), and eating foods that will nourish my body. The same is true on an emotional and spiritual level. Take time to learn something new, journal, read, work at a soup kitchen for a weekend, play an instrument, sing, dance, paint, listen to music, whatever it is that feeds your soul... and in this generation, particularly, take some time away from the computer, the cell phone, and whatever other technology that keeps us from actually getting out and smelling the roses.
The most important piece to this thought, and the discussion I had with my friend, is to not compare ourselves to anyone else. We're not trying to be the best version of our friends that we can be. We're trying to be the best version of ourselves! Let's take pride in our individual body shapes, our hair colors, skin tones, personalities, and passions, and let's make them stand out features, while respecting other people's stand out features. We're all pieces of a larger puzzle, and it doesn't make any sense to me to try to be anything other than my piece, unless I don't want the puzzle to ever get finished. That would just be silly.
So, my thanks to the Army's campaign to remind us that while it is a fight to be all that we can be, it is a good fight, and like my friend Graham Cooke says, "A good fight is one you win." Let's be all that we can be!