What I Wished For

You own your status as the ultimate influencer, drug pusher, and like everyone, I grew up wanting your sparkle in my eyes. Now, the very thought of you sends waves of existential dread shooting…


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Pause for Sanity

Yesterday my wife and I celebrated our nine year anniversary. When we got married, we promised each other we would pause every once in a while and take time to look at the stars. This was not meant as a metaphorical promise, but over time I’ve come to realize that the things that are truly important to me involve that metaphor directly. Yes, we do occasionally pause and look up at the stars and marvel at the unfathomable vastness of the universe, and in so doing we find a little connection point between us. More importantly, we often pause to look at our lives and how we have shaped them.

My in-laws gave us a card to commemorate our milestone, and in this card they wrote a simple phrase that struck me deeply. It said “take a moment to look at all that you have done with the past nine years.” It’s not much on its face, but if you get down into it there’s a lot there. In the past nine years we have created two amazing healthy children, sold a house, purchased a house, started and solidified careers, and added on to an already strong relationship foundation. While society does expect many of these things from us as we grow into adulthood, that in no way diminishes the magnitude of these incredible accomplishments that so often we take for granted as a natural path in life.

Our lives have certainly grown more frenzied and hectic over the past few years despite our concerted efforts to simplify. Having children creates logistical puzzles that can feel overwhelming at best, especially while trying to juggle traditional vocational careers, personal businesses, and personal growth while trying to avoid dumping the kids in some screaming mess of a daycare. Creativity and flexibility have been key factors in our attempt at successful balance.

Throughout all the craziness, we tend to let the small but hugely important moments slip by. Of course we were there when our kids learned to walk, we got to see their first smiles, hear their first semi-intelligible words. But we sometimes relegate the quiet moments on the couch reading together to a lower level of importance. Or attempt to keep the kids from jumping in the leaf pile we just raked up because we’re trying to get the damn yard work done. That is where the true beauty in our lives lies. Don’t expect to get the leaves raked up in good time, expect the leaf pile to be a playhouse for a while. Maybe even jump in with them. Those are the forgotten “looking at the stars” moments.

I catch myself every now and then acting in a way I don’t like. When my son gets out of bed for the third time and asks for snuggles to help him go to sleep, I have been known to brush him off out of frustration and impatience. There have been times where, having been summoned yet again an hour after I put him in bed, I have barged into his room with negativity and anger only to have him say he just wanted to tell me he loves me so much. If that doesn’t hit where it hurts, I don’t know what will. This is a work in progress, these things will happen, we try to learn and grow from these experiences. And stopping to appreciate the little things, I believe, helps that introspection become tangible.

Our lives may not be exactly what we want them to be yet. We may never catch that elusive, amorphous goal of perfection. As long as we are conscious enough to recognize when it’s time for a brief pause, as long as we are able to allow ourselves the gift of positive self-reflection and realize the beauty in our small circle of influence, I believe we are properly looking at the stars.

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