A Perspective on Life
By Eruch Kimball ’03
“So how’s the weather in EEEELL AAAAY???”, my mother asks through the speaker of an “i”
device. “Yeah, its pretty great. I think it got up to 82 today.”, I say, with slight enthusiasm. “How’s
winter treating you and Dad?”. “Well, its down in the 20’s. It’s a little cold”, she says. “Well”, I rise to speak, with an instant thought of tactical advantage, “just remember, I spent a week in the mountains of South Korea in January, with a high of 9!”
I like the outdoors. I also love air conditioning. When I was in the Army there were a couple of very memorable training events involving the outdoors. A night time live fire obstacle course. My first January in South Korea. And a special time where I lived in a tent in a ditch in the woods for a week. You knew I’d get to that title soon…
Sleeping in a bag in a one person sized tent, machine gun clutched by my side, gas mask and
helmet at the ready, I spent a week training and going on very long marches through a variety of terrain. Our drill sergeants used to throw fake grenades and smoke bombs at us in the middle of the night and we’d have to respond with any number of outcomes. What this experience gave to me was, besides a dislike for one person sized tents, the ability to really look at and understand the challenges that were put in front of me. I tried to figure out, as best as I could, how to look at whatever crazy thing the Army was throwing at me during training and objectively really look at what the experience meant to me emotionally.
What I think about, symbolically, when I remember “the tent” is what is the real significance of
the challenge I’m going through right now compared to all of the other challenges I’ve had in life so far? Just a few months before writing this I had left the Army, moved to Los Angeles, and was looking for work in a number of fields in the film and music industries. I was also in grad school. That’s a lot of challenge headed straight towards my face. I continue to try to remember to focus on looking at all of these news challenges relative to my life experience. I think about things in three ways in this context.
1) Is the challenge other people?
2) Is the challenge the environment?
3) Is the challenge me?
Other people are one of the best parts of life, but sometimes they get in the way. This is a
category of challenges that we can look at and try to find a way to use them to give us perspective compared to other experiences. Is a bar fight or other outburst really worth it? Is whatever you’re mad at right now as bad as the last thing that got you really mad? Think about your worst challenge with another person and then think about whatever you happen to be going through in life while you’re reading this. Now, think about any challenges you might be going through because of where you are, physically. How can you solve these problems? What gives you the tactical advantage? The home field advantage? The upper hand? I remember “the tent” and suddenly my cheap apartment is a lot nicer than it was before.
The last challenge is, of course, ourselves. Are our goals being made harder by things that we
can control? We can’t control other people or our environment with any certainty so the only other thing that we know we can improve on, to help us solve our challenges and achieve our goals, is ourselves. Whatever your challenge is, let humility be your friend and ask yourself if you can change, go the extra mile, or make just that much more effort. If you can, I think you’ll find a great way to keep that tactical advantage by having self reflection in your mind when you face new challenges. I think you’ll find that there will be fewer challenges to deal with from other people or the environment.
As long as “the tent” is in my mind, as long as I remember that I’ve had a lot of life experiences
to pull from when I try to put my challenges in perspective, then I’ll have that tactical advantage. As we all continue to face the challenges of life, at every stage, try to remember your “tent” and just go with it!
Eruch Kimball ’03 is an electric bassist, composer, arranger, audio engineer and marketing professional. Originally a Professional Music major in performance and songwriting, he completed Master Certificates in Film Scoring and Music Business through Berklee Online and is currently competing an MBA in Marketing. Over his 16 years of music industry experience he has performed and engineered over 3000 concerts for over 2 million people across the U.S. and East Asia. A military veteran, he served six years of active duty service with the U.S. Army Band. He owns and operates SynchroMuse LLC, an audio branding and music services company based out of Los Angeles. He loves to blog about life and food and is developing an online community where these two passions of his intersect called Urban Bento. You can follow him, his music, and his writing on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (@urbanbento, @synchromuse)