Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Reflections

The past few weeks have been a blur of work, moving, getting a new puppy and stressing a lot about everything. Looking through pictures to find a few to print for the kids room, I encountered the last 12 years of my life: something I've tried to let fade into a blur. I don't want to delete things my children may want to see but I hate what my life used to be. There was one photo in that struck me in particular: my 21st birthday. The person in that picture looks so different than what I see today that I can't believe it was me - I looked like I was 16. I had already been married a little over a month and in my mind I was an adult. I was supposed to be once I was on my own right? My parents locked up all the tools to be independent as if one day I would be ready to handle it. When a nebulous time was reached, they would hand me the key of permission and suddenly I would know how to be this person called adult. Don't get me wrong, I handled myself with restraint leading most people to think I was mature, but it's like having an shiny robot with no programming. 

Unfortunately I got the sense that my parents were never going to think I was ready and decided to try and prove them wrong. How long was I supposed to wait to be allowed to be my own person? When I popped the top with a crow bar I found I had opened Pandora's box but was convinced that somehow it would all work out. I mean it had to. I was told I knew the tools for God to bless me and I would be damned if I didn't try to make it work. 

Helping my girlfriend pack to move, I saw things I know she has saved from different memories in her life - experiences that I will never have. It made me sad and angry because I felt robbed among other things. Reviewing the pictures helped me see how far I've come, and that despite everything, I'm way closer to being myself than I ever have been and I let a lot of the anger go. It's useless to be upset over something outside of my control. I can't go back and change the past but the future is still moldable. You don't cry over spilled milk when you are lactose intolerant. 

Sweeping a floor the other day gave me what I feel is an apt analogy for life. There was just a dusting covering the ground from some cuts of plywood I had been making earlier. I always find it to be more tedious to try and clean when something isn't super dirty because you feel like you aren't accomplishing much. As I swept, I eventually made little piles and noticed that in a fraction of the time came together into one big pile. Daily life may seem like drudgery but if you are making an effort towards a focus, all the little things you pursue will eventually and quite suddenly build into something substantial. 

Around the time of the move, several things seemed to blow up at once and I wasn't sure if I could handle it. I told a friend yesterday that I feel like life kicks us when we are down so that we can realize the things we think are a big deal rarely are. Coming from a religious environment where everything is scrutinized and judged, it's easy to get your focus and confidence thrown off by the exhaustion of all the perceived pressures. But eventually, hopefully, you learn more clearly what really matters and focus on that dropping the weights you don't need to carry. I'm currently at a crossroads in my "career" trying to figure out how to step from where I am now into what I will be. The path isn't always laid out but focus is like a homing beacon that I believe will always lead us where we need to be eventually. 

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