Hi. I’ve missed you. I’ve been gone a while. And, I’ve missed me, too. Not in the vapid narcissistic ways you’ve come to expect, but in that I’ve been sort of wandering and sort of lost. In that time of being lost, I’ve neglected you. And, I’ve neglected me. Not in the scraggly beard and overall lack of personal hygiene kind of neglect you normally associate with the smell of cat urine but, neglect nonetheless.
Like you, I’m trying. I’m trying to be a good dad. Trying to be a good citizen and employee and friend and neighbor. Trying to kickstart my reasons for getting up in the morning. Trying to hurt less, both mentally and in terms of those back pains, when the alarm clock goes off in the morning for another round in the grinder. I want to face the day with a smile, not a grimace. I want to see the beauty again in the things I used to, like steam locomotives and musicians playing in unison in a dive-bar, their notes in perfect time. I see the crags and lines in my face in the mirror in the morning and realize, again, no one is ever going to refer to me as a young man with potential ahead of me. The prime has past, dammit. We gag on our morning breath, then contribute to the hurricane of halitosis with the simple act of pressing the “brew” button each morning, cursing the Lego piece that has lodged itself in our foot.
If insanity is defined, loosely, on doing the same thing over and again while expecting different results, then, yes, I guess we’re all a little insane. When the prospect of change in our lives is faced, though, the unknown of it all can nudge us into making the same, insane, decisions rather jumping off the rocks and hoping the water is deep enough. And so, grown-assed men let fear rule their lives, worried that change may kill them, worried what people are saying about them, worried that they’re just not doing it right.
I’m one of those men. I stand at the precipice of great opportunity in my life, and yet I find myself clinging to the ledge, looking over my shoulder and wondering how I could have ended up where I have. I have boys that need my attention, a career that demands my time and bills that refuse neglect, and these are all excuses for me to meekly grasp onto wisps of my past, hoping that one day I wake up and it all makes sense again. It is only going to make sense, though, if I define what sense I accept into my life. I’m not married. I’m likely not going to marry any time soon. I’m a single dad. I barely earn enough scratch to keep the wolves at bay, and it has cost me a lot to live within my means….but I’m lucky.
I’m lucky I have a job and one of which I can be proud. I’m lucky I have two boys who need their dad, still. I’m lucky I have my (albeit, aging) health. So lucky. I’m fortunate my ex-wife hasn’t firebombed my car. Time to acknowledge these good, so good, aspects of my life and then……and this is important…..forge forward.
To borrow from the cliche that you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take, I need to stop living in fear of change and rejection. True to human nature across the span of time, the haters are fully dedicated to hating others in this world, their vitriol coming from a place of their own worries and sorrows. I know….I tend to engage in the fine art of hateful snark more often than I’d like to admit. It’s a crappy behavior, really, and I need to knock it off; the bitter old crank is the one trapped within their own prison, and it’s a lonely place there.
So let’s get back together, you and I. I’ll take some steps to write to you, about us, about this crazy life, and about new adventures we can take. I’ll get back to nurturing the small, good things in my life, and I hope you are around for it. Just don’t try and catch a glimpse of me in the morning mirror, I promise you, you’ll regret the sight.