20 September 2017
An Odd Morning
Driving home from work and I was looking forward, as is usual for me, to a few pints in the Grotto with the next day being my first off in a week. I had missed many dinners with the late nights and overtime but since we don't have kids, it didn't really impact us that much. Kat and I spend a few hours together and then she heads to bed while I stay up a little later for some quality time alone with a beer to settle my mind. I started thinking about how different our life would be with kids, how the hell people afford them and what I would be doing if we did have them. I pretty sure I'd be different too and chances are I would but I also started to wonder about what I want to do with the back half of my life.
Life without kids isn't really something people like to talk about. Some give their time to charitable and community organisations. Others concentrate on their extended families, becoming integral to nieces and nephews and involved in their lives to contribute something. I thought about some of these things, but my work schedule sees me home long after most everything that would like my help or on the weekends when I almost never am off. It crossed my mind to go back to coaching but in reality, with my schedule I would miss almost every game and practice, rendering me at best an ineffective assistant who would be missing 80 percent of the time.
So where does that leave me? I ponder what I am doing, working so hard and despite the financial rewards, do I need to pursue money for the sake of money? When you have children, your focus obviously shifts to making sure they have a better life than you did. You strive to give them the best you can and sacrifice to ensure that happens. I don't have to do that, the only people I have to worry about is Kathryn and myself if you get right down to it. I love my extended and immediate family but through the combination of lifestyle, work and just plain neglect, I have become a peripheral member at best. I wish them only the best things, but I am not involved enough to be considered anything but a member in name only it feels sometime. Perhaps as we get older, things will change with a little more effort on both sides.
I used to be involved in all sorts of family events, hosting and planning them because I wanted to ensure a strong bond and a history of family traditions for my future children. Not having them means that any tradition becomes moot after I die, perhaps the memory of what I did carried for a generation but then I become a picture in an album that eventually finds its way to that dusty attic. A little dark but not untrue. I can tell stories of long ago relatives, but do the children of my cousins and brothers know them? How long before they are left to the past and a world that goes on regardless? Its a weird way to look at life I will agree, but it's where I am right now. The best thing about writing down my thoughts is to help me see what is bothering me and when I am finished, they tend to recede to the past.
With holiday season approaching, I become more introspective about what they mean and how I want to deal with them. Thanksgiving has long been avoided, along with easter, because they never felt like fun. Having to choose which side to go to makes it a minefield and I am not even going to get into Christmas, that mess isn't made better by hosting. I see nothing of value in forced bonhomie with anyone and since we really don't celebrate any of them with the verve of those around us, I am always left with nothing to say when we get together. We don't exchange gifts or have anything near a traditional holiday. It isn't necessary to perpetuate the myths of the santa or the rush of presents and family time when it is just two people, we buy the stuff we need and occasionally what we want when we can afford it. Just because it's December doesn't mean we suddenly have more money for things we don't need. So not being part of that and stepping out of the larger family gift giving takes us further afield. It's not the season of my youth obviously and while I do enjoy the trappings of the season, the specials on TV, the beer and the food, I cannot get excited about something I no longer participate in. I don't hate Christmas or anything like that, it's just different for me now and I don't know if I like that or not.
It's not a "pity party" as one wonderful member of my family said of my work last week, I just write what I am thinking to help me understand it. None of this is ever intended to ask for sympathy, it is and has always been a way for me to convey my feelings, work out the problems I am having and maybe help someone who is suffering in silence to realise that they are not alone. I don't want anyone to think I hate my life or how it has turned out. I write because it works for me, no one has to read it if it bothers them, I would never want that. My social life has shrunk but thanks to my online friends I can always find someone to talk to and that has added value to my life that I can't measure. Do I want to go out more? Sure I do and I hope we will as my work life returns to a more normal pace.
It is easy to become inward looking when you don't have to look outward and you see the march of time ending with your own demise. I get a little maudlin when I realise all this comes to an end when I go and no one carries on the lessons I would teach. But it isn't all doom and gloom, I intend to squeeze every moment of enjoyment I can out of whatever time I have left. I will do what I want to and make decisions about my life that enhance it wherever I can. It's been a weird way to arrive at this conclusion, but that is what this process has always been for me. Write and understand my own mind, it's taken me far and I don't want to stop now. The depression and low feelings are a thing of the past and it is though this medium that I have found peace with who I am. I'll be as surprised as you where this all ends up,