The Facebook is a strange place indeed.
I check my “memories” every morning. Sometimes random, sometimes laughable, there’s always something that brings a chuckle or raises an eyebrow in some way or another.
Yesterday’s was quite interesting indeed. Among the photos of Young Master Oliver playing in his sandbox and general musings on music there was a post describing how exhausted I was at the time in 2017.
I was drowning in work, school, parenting, household chores, some physical ailments etc. It was one of “those” posts. The phrase that resonated most was “To what end? An early grave?” I was so tired and desperate for a break.
“To what end? An early grave?”
It had been an incredibly taxing five years.
I had a second back surgery, finished my undergraduate degree, learned how to build websites, launched three of them, I had been gigging almost nonstop, built upon my professional career, had a child and who had basically spent his first two years “on top of head,” began and was about to finish my master’s degree, bought a house, was struggling with migraines, and, and, and, and…
Bottom line I was tired and didn’t know why I was putting myself through everything. Was I trying to further my career? Why? Was I trying to build a better life for myself and my son? What did that look like? Would even I survive to see it?
Here’s a screen cap of the post…
Among the comments expressing compassion and encouragement there was on in particular that looking back I find to be quite impactful.
“Our power comes within our ability to make choices”
And there it was. Wise words indeed.
It took another year but in August 2018 I began making a series of choices that would forever change my life, and the lives of many around me.
I asked for a divorce.
It was not a decision taken lightly. It was one that had been explored for nearly the entirety of that marriage, one I had tried to avoid answering until I no longer could.
The ensuing months found me in the midst of an unfortunate, stressful, and what I continue to believe could have been an avoidable process to ensure my son had equal access to both his parents and that his life would be disrupted as little as possible. I feel like I achieved close to everything I hoped.
As I’ve joyfully written before, the end of that story was quite different than anticipated. Rather than being a divorced single dad living in an apartment or with his parents, I found myself married to my best friend and living back in the old neighborhood.
Everything has changed. My clothes, my car, my address, even my name and signature are different (enhanced!).
And there my friends, is the answer to the question about why I was doing everything I was doing for so many years.
I didn’t know it then but everything I was doing then and everything I was doing before, was leading me to that “better life” that seemed so nebulous and unattainable. I was recreating my life…from the ground up.
In talking to my wife and best friend about Our Life we always come back to the fact that we didn’t “fall in love.” We didn’t meet and realize we wanted to be together.
We were living our lives parallel, working towards goals, pushing through obstacles, until those straight lines started to merge. We didn’t realize it then but This Right Here, Us, was the only way this story was going to end.
And now there’s a new question…
All the battles seem to have ended…or at least ceasefires have been achieved. Everyone has found a bit of a rhythm. We’ve settled into Our home. There are no more boxes left unpacked, no fires left to extinguish. The old house sold last week. We paid off a mountain of debt. We got our transportation needs worked out. Our budget is set. My guitars are restrung and tuned. We have our routine.
So now what? Enjoy the hell out of life, that’s what!
At some point we must lay down our arms. At some point we have to stop living for the struggle. At some point not only do we get to let out a sign of relief but we simply must allow ourselves to breathe and relax and enjoy what we’ve worked to achieve. Smell those flowers and all that jazz.
That’s where I find myself. For the first time in the last 10 years I’m not looking for the next big challenge. I’m not desperately seeking out a great struggle to overcome because at least for now, I’ve achieved everything I’ve set out to accomplish.
For the first time I can look around my home, I can look at my life and the people in it and feel comfortable, content, and happy. I’ve never known that feeling.
Life isn’t perfect. I won’t sit here and say that my best friend and I don’t get aggravated with one another. I can’t say that building a modern blended family is not without challenges but I’m not looking to fill gaping holes in my soul with massive projects and to-do lists.
Right now I want to enjoy every moment with my family. Right now I want to enjoy baseball season! I want to play guitar for the sheer joy of it. I want to binge watch HGTV, cook, and just live the life I’ve been trying to build because without even realizing it, I was building This Life…and it’s incredible.
It won’t always be. There will always be challenges and problems but I know that my best friend is at my side…not behind me, not leading the way, but shoulder-to-shoulder and together we can do anything. We have done so much and we’ll do so much more.
But right now? I just want to breathe all this in. Right now I want to rest up because life will throw new challenges at me and at Us…but right now? Right now I’m going to enjoy every second because This Right Here is glorious.
Be Well and Kind,