You’re Just Lucky to be Here Asshole

by | Jul 5, 2023 | Essays, Essays to Myself

Remember this movie scene?

In May of 1986, the blockbuster movie Top Gun was released, and early in the story, the main character, pilot Pete Mitchell – call sign Maverick – disobeys a direct order to land his F14 “TomCat” after an aerial altercation with several Russian MIG fighter jets. Instead, Mitchell, running low on fuel, turns back to find and guide a shaken fellow pilot back to their aircraft carrier.

Once onboard, Mitchell’s commanding officer dresses down Mitchell and his RIO – Radar Intercept Officer – with the call sign Goose. When the commanding officer turns his attention to Goose, he says, “And you asshole, you’re lucky to be here.” To which Goose replies in a full throated response, “Thank you sir!”

That about sums up the intention I try to carry around the concept of “achievement.” In this scenario, I am obviously Goose and my commanding officer is God the creator. And in this amazing and beautiful world, spinning around a miraculous sun in an awe inspiring galaxy, floating in a mind-bending and expanding universe – I recall that my little achievement, however great and meaningful I might imagine, is insignificant in the context of the creation in which I have the immense and profound privilege to exist. In this, we are all wildly privileged.

man standing on a cliff and looking off into the distance at a sunset
I am grateful for the opportunity to simply live, and in that moment, I realize…I’m the asshole that’s just lucky to be here. I don’t need to be nor should I be celebrated. I don’t need to be noticed or achieve prominence. I’m not seeking validation. Mostly, I realize in these moments how incredibly special it is to live – and to make an effort to create meaning in my life. That is more than enough for me – and the words “thank you sir” come into full focus.

I’m the “lucky to be here guy” when I spend time with my family, teach my boys something new, steal a quiet moment with my wife, get lost in nature, and throw a lure as far as I can into the mist and still waters of a lake full of bass, crappie and hybrid strippers. I’m lucky when I can be of use to others – to serve in meaningful ways. I’m lucky to be a coach, instructor, teacher, mentor, leader and follower. My cup runneth over, and that reminds me of the immense gratitude I have for the gift of life and the struggle to make choices that make meaning.

As for this, I’m lucky to have the opportunity to coach other men, to bond with my tribe, and to advocate for men willing to turn themselves inside out to rid themselves of the influences that have led them astray from the unique purpose for which they were made. These men inspire me, and often show me the way forward. Yes, I am very lucky to be here, now, doing this. And I hope you will join me – doing more, being more, and finding your way to purpose.

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