The last few days have been quite the event.
With every passing day, I have been back on the mend. The left arm gets a little stupid from time to time, but it becomes less and less frequent.
With everything that has gone on, it becomes more and more clear that some of my current options need to change, be approached from a different angle, or just disappear entirely. And I’ve thought on that, and what all of it has been worth, and what my life is worth.
Part of it, admittedly, is that I had a personal crisis of faith. I had grown stagnant for a while. I wasn’t enjoying things that brought me pleasure, or simply stopped doing them entirely. My routine had been interrupted some time back, and I never really returned to being “me” again. Well, not the “me” that I liked and want to be: The video gamer. The writer. The actor. The guy who went everywhere from the beaches of Kauai to the deserts of Burning Man, or just had an adventure within his own city. I didn’t feel like that person anymore, and I panicked, feeling that my most “interesting” days were behind me. I didn’t want all of that to be over.
But as I had realized earlier, I remain the very definition of those old stories, and they will remain a part of me wherever I go. They are “over”, so that I can keep moving forward and adding new ones. If I ever need to revisit them, all I have to do is tell that story to bring it back.
In realizing this, I took a look at those stories, and noticed the patterns that take place in each one. Some of my best were shared, and as independent as I have always been, I realized that it was time to no longer go alone. Not that I have been, mind you. I’ve had someone by my side for quite a while now, but I never stepped up properly like I should have. Too proud of my eternal “Toys R Us Kid” lifestyle, I suppose. It’s not so much that I owed the next step, as it was more the proper thing to do. It wasn’t a compromise in any way, but a compliment to the life I’ve lived.
And so I hatched a masterful plan within the last few months. Granted, there have been obstacles. The “sue” thing put a damper on some, and my body shutting down was another. It’s not been a cheap ride, let me tell you. But I was determined. A few traditional bills could remain angry at me for a little while longer.
And so I found the one item that said “This is the one”, same as one chooses a puppy, or the wand chooses the wizard. I made my payments, and smuggled it around like Gollum for several days until this morning. And it culminated with this:
I asked Jen to marry me. Properly. No “implied”. No “You know where this is heading anyway” or “We’ll get around to it eventually”…. No more half-ass from me. She deserves better than my occasional half-cocked and overzealous stupidity.
Of course, life has a funny way of making things happen. A flu bug has been growing in me the last few days, making me a globby, wheezing mess of a human being (just in time for Christmas, of course). But as the last gift, I made her close her eyes and wait until she again opened them to find me on one knee with ring in hand saying: “I suppose you’ll know the next four words: Will you marry me?”
(To those wondering, after the initial squeak, the “Yes” came quickly.)
And so, Christmas took on a whole meaning this year, one where I put shared needs over anyone or anything else, the return to a clearer path of getting back on track for my life, and learning that love can also come in the form of a 1980 Lando Calrissian themed Burger King glass.
I am, admittedly, a little melancholy about Christmas as years have passed. I love the cheerfulness that the season brings, the lights, the music, and even that brief moment where everyone behaves a just little longer, and acts a little nicer. But I do miss my old home at times, the family that lived there, and even old friends that have long since gone.
And like my life and the things I’ve done, I realize that none of that can ever be taken away either. There will always be those frozen moments in time where I laughed and loved with my Mom and Dad, my grandparents, Sparkle, Junie…. And I can return to them with pictures and videos, and memories that I will never forget. It’s not as direct as I would like at times, but in a sense, I will always find ways to “return home”. This year reminded me of that with revisiting old homes, reunions, and a picture sent to me of my Dad that I had never seen before. It brought me a moment of comfort seeing his face again.
But it’s time for new memories. New traditions. New doors to be opened, and all new paths to explore. And none of it has to change or replace the old ones. I wouldn’t want it to. I just find a new area of canvas to fit them in and keep building on. Unify everything into one picture of my life that I have been painting for a very, very long time. And it’s time to restore my routine, and no longer be limited. I should have done that a long time ago. Turns out that I don’t have to grow up after all. Not entirely, anyway.
My life is not perfect. It is not always easy. But I am reminded that friends and family, and friends that have become family, will be there beside me as I stride into this next evolution to make sure that I am not alone.
No one is alone. Not completely.
And for those wondering, Dad once told me many a year ago that if I ever chose to go down this particular path, then I would have his support.