October 23, 2016

So Many Boxes

What else is there besides this? What more do you want? What fantasies do you still concoct as you lay awake in the darkness or when you let your mind drift at the traffic light? What random memory do you crawl to, to try and leverage a future you feel you are owed? Why can’t this always be enough?

The light kiss and the long hug from your wife in the living room on a Sunday afternoon. The fist pump from your daughter as she sinks a basket at basketball practice. The tangy salsa in your breakfast burrito. The casual conversation with a friend about the trials and tribulations of parenting. The work you begrudgingly had to do to get back in the swing of things. It could be worse- you could be doing a job you hate. Something that is not your calling.

What else is there besides this? Sure, the minutes can trickle by at a pace that feels frozen. A routine induced boredom that you try and remedy with…what? Why can’t you enjoy the trips and the journey? The small moments in front of the mirror, admiring how you have finally grown into yourself. The look matching the mood matching the inner voice- the one that won’t shut up. The one that is never satisfied. The one that argues with itself and demands more, while begging to be grateful.

The lives of the characters in the novel you’re reading seem so desperate, but their familiarity puts you in a panic. What are your rituals? Where is your romance and bliss? Is the literature a mirror of your routines? A cliched mid-life episode? Is this all there is? Will I cherish this at the end? Am I doing enough? Living enough? Loving enough? Am I to blame for the ho hum, hum drum of these days as they pass? Am I the only one who sees them? Feels their weight?

Why don’t we talk more about our dreams?
At this point what the hell is your dream?

So many boxes already expertly checked: job. wife. kids. expat. travel. hobbies. friends.

What else is there to want? And if you can’t even name it, why do you want it so desperately?

As a kid from an inadequate family, why can’t you just focus on the one goal? Have you forgotten the promises of selflessness you made to your infant daughter, on those quiet dark nights in the glow of her bedroom, with the tender music, and her in your arms, perfect and precious, an empty vessel for everything they didn’t do for you, an empty bag waiting to be filled with everything you salvaged from yourself worth passing on. You vowed to erase yourself piece by piece on those nights, promised to ignore your selfish needs for the sake of your daughter and your wife and this family. And now what ten years later you are wondering about your needs again?

Where did they go?
What are they?
Why do they feel so trivial and obscene?

Your priorities are in front of you. No more lethargic days passing away in a slow drip. Tell her you love her more often. Thank her. Help her. Live your politics instead of tweeting them. Go to Ikea with a smile. Care about the curtains. Get excited about the parties and the holidays and the future and the present. Be more present. Play with the kids. Talk to them. Look deeply into their eyes so they can tie themselves to your ballast.

Slow Sundays in your head can be exhausting. This election is pulling on you like dead weight, forcing you to carry around its bile with every step. The videos. The words. The Tweets. The half-baked opinions of every idiot in a comment box. Why do you let them burrow into your heart. Your space?

What else is there besides this? You are a middle aged man: a father, a husband, a friend and a son who is doing his best. Although, this seldom feels like it is enough, you have to trust that it is.

No comments:

Post a Comment