I've been mulling over this blog post for quite some time now, and, in light of tonight being one of those nights where I find myself "tired, but not sleepy", I'll take the opportunity to opine.
I can pretty much tie anything that happens in life to an episode of my all-time favorite television show......"The Flintstones".
One of the more thoughtful episodes was at the Slate Company picnic, where Fred begins in his usual rotten mood, not wanting to partake in the annual three-legged race. He ends up getting away to himself and actually falling asleep somewhere in the park.....
....and he dreams that it's 20 years later. A gray-haired Fred, complete with LONG beard, proceeds to run back to Bedrock to discover what's happened to Wilma, Pebbles, the Rubbles, et al in the 20 years since his apparent demise. It made him realize he should enjoy every moment.
Even the three-legged race.
He wakes up, goes flying back to the picnic, and he and Barney are the hit of the day.
After completing my fourth week at a job yesterday, this is a good time to share my "similar to Fred" story. Going back to Aunt Sharon's sudden passing in February, my life schedule started to get back to a reasonable normalcy. It certainly has since April 11th. And I've realized how much has come and gone over the past nine years.
--I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that it's 2011. It doesn't seem like it's been almost 10 years since 9/11.
--I've realized how much pop culture has come and gone, much of which I don't know, know bits and pieces of......now, don't get me wrong, it's not that I regret it, it simply is a barometer of the volume of what's gone on while I've slept.....
....and slept.....and rested......and tossed......
Now, add to that the egregious error of allowing myself to live at my job at Clear Channel the last four years I was there, and it all adds up.
My son is now 19?
My daughter starts high school in September?
What happened to Blues Clues?
Has it honestly been seven years since we left Longdale Elementary in rezoning?
Some of what I've experienced (and missed) the past several years was truly out of my control. Concoct a potion of sleep apnea, depression, bipolar, then throw in some diabetes, and there have been many days where I may have wanted to conquer the world, but, in the end, I was lucky to get to the bathroom. I know some who read this will truly not understand. That's okay. I certainly never want you to experience it simply so that you'll "get my point".
Other things, though?
One of the coolest things about the new workplace is everybody looks at each other just before 5:30 each day and implores the others to "get up and get out". We get there at 8:30, we work throughout the day (thankfully it's close enough to home where I can come home for lunch and check on Harry!), but then, when it's time to go home, WE GO.
I'll never make that mistake again. Am I saying I'll never stay late? Of course not. But if I ever get back to working 70/80 hours a week again (and I KNOW that can't happen in my current physical condition), somebody slap me silly.
Fourteen years of mostly seven day a week newspaper delivery, having 2 or 3 jobs for 17 straight years, working 80 hours a week in the mid-2000's....they all had a hand in the permanent crater that now occupies my half of the mattress, I'm sure.
But what I'm really trying to convey is simply this.
1) Remember what's important in life, and focus the most on it. I gave Clear Channel the bulk of my energy and devotion, and it got me.....a pink slip. I married Bonnie, I'm hired to do jobs. BIG difference.
2) When the kids are young, breathe it in. ALL OF IT. Even the hard times. Rachel and I are at Roy's Big Burger in Lakeside today and in line is a dad with his son, probably three years old. Some of the boy's behavior reminded me of Rachel when she was that young. Then I smiled, looked at the practically grown Rachel in front of me....part of me kept smiling, part of me sighed with great disappointment. That Rachel, the one looking for her binky, is gone forever.
3) Enjoy the current moment. If you've experienced/are experiencing similar regrets to what I've shared here, DO NOT dwell in them. Period. You must live in the moment, enjoy what's happening NOW, otherwise "now" simply becomes an extra day in the regret column.
In the past ten years, I missed many things in life. Some I couldn't control. Others I could have. Those which I can, from here on out I will. I suggest you join me. :)