Cam turned 4 yesterday, which is crazy. The last 4 years have been probably the greatest of my life. Rhonda’s too, I think. He’s going to start school in the fall and so life will go in all sorts of new, predictably unpredictable directions. It’s an exciting time. I was reflecting back to when Cam was born–which is what you do on your kid’s birthday–before the incident in which there may or may not have been a fainting at the mention of Rhonda having a c-section; reflecting back a few weeks, in fact, before Cam was even born. He was due June 7th and so the night before his due date, while living in our one room basement apartment on Burriss St., I was in a bit of a funk, being all contemplative and reflective, certainly anxious about what the next few days held but more straight up terrified of what the next few years held. I was mostly terrified of settling, I think. I wrote a blog entry and figured I’d share it with here on my new, hip and cool blog. Sometimes it’s good to read old writings as it provides some needed perspective in the now…
June 7, 2009
Sheesh, so it’s 12:10am, the night of Rhonda’s due date and no action on that front. And so we wait…
It’s been a year since I’ve written on this blog… and I’m not going to lie to you, I was just reading some of my old entries and getting a few chuckles out of recollecting some of the experiences that we’ve written about. As if it was a year ago that I was writing about this elusive grouper that I finally speared off our dock in the transparent aqua waters of the sunny Bahamas. How surreal does that sound right now? It didn’t seem so in the moment but as I sit in our tiny basement apartment, think about getting up on Monday morning for another day at the office job, and am a year removed from that time and place, it definitely feels right now that it was simply a fairy tale reality. Or that it was a mistake to have left, at any rate. If you want the honest, no holds barred conviction, I am not entirely convinced it wasn’t a mistake to leave our Bahamas life. We had it good. Really good. Like….the life that most people work for 50 years to attain kind of good.
And yet we left.
And went to Bolivia for 5 months.
And got pregnant.
And then moved back to Canada.
And settled into a job as a research assistant for a workforce development board.
And bought a house (moving in at end of June)
And am sitting here, waiting to have this kid that, apparently, is going to change everything.
All within the last year.
And yet I know it was for the best. Family. Friends. Life. These things have encroached in on me in the last few months and I welcome them. And particularly this newbie that’s coming – I’m getting fairly excited about meeting him/her. In actuality, I think what I miss is not necessarily just the Bahamas but rather the ideal that it represented for Rhonda and I at that particular stage in the game. Life with no expectations and no obligations. We had freedom and opportunities for adventure and, I’m speaking only for me here, a greater zeal for life in general.
I don’t want to settle. That word scares me. I’m glad Rhonda is on the same page as me with this. It’s a pretty big subject, really, to have convictions on. I read some of your blogs and am envious at the lives you’ve chosen – to go against the quo and create your life. As one blog puts it in their subtitle, “making a life, not a living.” So clever. I’m concerned and, dare say scared, that once you start down a certain road, it begins to carve out ahead for you, making it very predictable and therefore comfortable and therefore very enticing to follow and very hard to retract or choose another road. So you get a job that isn’t particularly fulfilling but you need it ’cause you just bought a house and those payments aren’t being made by themselves and then you start having kids and in order to provide for them you gotta keep working at this job and so life carries on and on and on and your road is becoming increasingly predictable to travel and so you just walk down it not out of a sense of calling or adventure or wonder but out of obligation and necessity and, even, guilt. It’s part of being a provider for your family. It’s part of playing your role in society. It’s “the real world – get used to it.” Call it whatever but it’s a depressing reality most people can connect with and sadly are never going to challenge.
I want to challenge it. I can accept that this is where we are being led right now. And I can accept that we are here because of decisions we’ve made – no one else can be blamed for it. And I need to find contentment in the now. It’s been our struggle as a couple since we got married 5 years ago – learning to find contentment right here, right now and resting in it. I need to accept that this is not a matter of circumstance but rather of perspective. And I need to let my anxiety about all this subside. I know that. But I want to challenge this from defining my life because I know right now that in 10 years if this is still me, I will be a deflated, hollow person.
So what does the alternative look like? That’s the exciting part… the part of the road that hasn’t been paved yet. I have no idea and I’m cool with that.
I’m writing this tonight because in as little as a few hours I will have a new person that I am 100% responsible for for at least the next 18-20 years and I realize that my idealism and naivete are very well going to take a hard blow. I gotta get it out now while these thoughts are still in the forefront of my mind and not being trumped by the smiles, screams and needs of this new person we’re welcoming to our world.
At the end of the day, who am I kidding? My life – our life – is pretty dang good and I’ve got a heck of a lot to be grateful for.
I still agree with a lot of what was written in here. I’m still convinced, at least in theory, that life shouldn’t be prompted by the quest for security and comfort. But I also admit that a lot of this rhetoric was fairly naive. Heck, I even admitted as much at the time. The challenge is not to resist settling for the sake of settling, or to pursue adventure merely for the sake of adventure, but maybe it’s somewhere in the middle. I think I’ve come to terms with the truth of this and I confess there may have been some short-sitedness in writing 4 years ago.
Anyway, there’s something healthy and encouraging that takes place when we consider the evolution of our own perspectives on life – to see how they have been changed and shaped and contradicted and affirmed. It keeps you humble and brings into focus what one’s actual convictions and values about life in general really are. I know that in another 4 years’ time, with an 8 year old and a 6 year old and who knows what other family members might be in the picture (we’re not pregnant, relax), there will be the need to again look back on today and be reminded of what it is we valued in 2013, of what we thought about our life and our family and our faith and our world and to take that and to refocus it, refine it, and carry on from there.