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My Own Standards: My Life Index

Jan. 1, 1970

Dear Fellow Former Players & Friends,

Just had another birthday. I may be getting older, but I’m good. I’m feeling strong and my transition from football is complete. I have clear goals on how I want the next few years to look.  My oldest is now in college and my two kids at home are doing everything right. Happy wife, happy life…and I live in a community that I love. I have a career and time to volunteer. A roof over my head and food to keep me nourished. I’m grateful, but getting here required mistakes.

Today I stay clear-headed and focused because there’s so much to pray about and so much to remind me of how easy it is to get off course.

My elderly friend, who I love dearly because I cherish his journey, moans about his money. He never has enough and always comes up short. Asking for help again just to survive. Always saying this is the last time. It will never happen again.

I’m afraid to become him.

It would be all too easy to become him if you don’t place a true value on the things you cherish in your life.  It’s easy to become like him if you buy all that you want and take every trip you desire…purchasing without pause, purchasing because you want, never understanding need. Self -denial is difficult, after all we’re human.  But if you would only just wait a bit, the opportunity to grow in wisdom outweighs the present thrill.

I have my own kind of standard. Not in the traditional sense, but in my own way of valuing what is important. I call it the ‘MY LIFE INDEX’.  Rule #1…I won’t let anyone else define what’s valuable to me. I’ll go wrong comparing myself to others or even the reckless version of my younger self.

I have my own needs that must get met and I prioritize what’s important for me and my family. I like my old SUV and keeping it simple with my clothes. The kids hate both, but I don’t care!

I won’t pay someone to do things I can do myself. Nor do I let anyone make me feel a certain way about how I live and what I choose to make essential. What I can live with and live without is really my business. No one has the right to care what value I place on things.

In the ‘MY LIFE INDEX’, rule #2 is Spend less than you make and be sure to save because tough times are undeniable. Stay ready. Don’t kid yourself. Things get tight for everyone in one way or another.

When will you figure it out 40, 50… 70?

My problems are different than your problems and his problems are different than mine, but the pain of coming up short is familiar. What does the ‘MY LIFE INDEX’ look like for you? Are bills getting paid? Do you have money left over?  Are you caring too much about what others think?

Turn in and find the strength to run your own race. Action Creates Opportunity for you to live your best worry-free life.

Andre Collins


Executive Director
Professional Athletes Foundation
NFL Player 1990-1999


Gene Upshaw Player Assistance Trust Fund

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