From the editor: Surprise yourself
Chris Cox, our cover story for this edition, is an impressive guy. He’s a Guinness World Record holder, former national champion wrestler and police officer turned firefighter. It’s quite the resume. And while most of us are not world record holders, or national and internationally competitive athletes, Cox inspires a sentiment that everyone can aspire to, and that is the joy of finding out just what you’re made of. Consider those pinnacle points in life when you felt you outdid yourself with your own bravery, patience or strength. Perhaps it was during a tough call. It might have been the stamina in the recovery of injury or illness when sometimes simply carrying on seems pretty darn daunting. For runners, it’s the literal extra mile. For many of us, it’s the willpower to resist in the face of serious temptation. Not everyone can earn a world record, but everyone can stop long enough to feel that warmth in the belly that comes from being just a little bit more than you thought you were, an inch more self-disciplined, even if it’s just for one more rep or one more minute of patience in a pressure cooker. There’s a lot of power in this grand discovery of inner fortitude if we stop long enough to appreciate it.
The older we get, the more we can become unsurprised by life. Consider children marvelling at a spider web in the window or a teenager anticipating all the noveau magic that is the first year of post secondary school, first credit card and all. The more years that pass, the more we get the feeling of having “seen it all”. One can feel quite jaded by this. Cox’s story is a great reminder that when in doubt, you can likely become your own source of discovery by digging in and giving just a little more (so long as we are not on the edge of burnout, and for a great conversation on that subject, see Jennifer Grigg’s reflective road trip story in this edition’s Dispatches). Sometimes it is self-care that’s the needed discovery, knowing how and when to take the pedal off the metal, and maybe even reconsidering the speed you want to drive. Simply slowing down can be more difficult than we anticipate.
In finding out just what you are made out of, an often self-centric and endorphin-rich endeavor, you will actually be selfless in your tandem impact on those around you. You will find opportunity be a role model that others can mirror, a rock for someone when their landscape’s being ripped out, and an all-around good person to all those you interact with, because feeling good begets good behaviour and exampling that behaviour is central to the high standards communities have of their fire service.
Fire Chief Arjuna George talks about legacy in this edition’s Between Alarms, and at the literal and proverbial end of the day, the memories you leave make your mark. Be a lifelong learner on the topic of you, ferret out your best right to the last mile, and you’ll be sure to leave a legacy you can proud of, starting with being proud of yourself.