My life changed drastically in August. It was for the better – it remains so much for the better – but like all huge changes, it takes time to assimilate all those stray pieces of your existence into a new and durable routine. As a result, I’m still playing life-Jenga and it’s a little frustrating, even as it is awesome.
The upshot is I’m in love. And man, let me tell you, that one was a huge surprise. It’s no mystery to those that know me – or those who have read a lot of my writing – that when I split up with my son’s mother, I went into a hard spin that involved lots of dating and conversation with people who, while incredible in a number of ways, simply were not “right” for me. In a couple cases, I thought maybe love was a possibility, but almost always those were intentional non-starters due to practical factors like distance, marital status, or both. It was self-sabotage because I wasn’t ready. I simply couldn’t be ready.
Then I met the lady who changed my world without even trying. She stepped into my life and she listened to me. She showed me care and thoughtfulness. She showed me her vulnerabilities, admitted her own imperfections and exhibited passion I’d never encountered in person. And she did it all effortlessly. No agenda. No deceit. No rule-bending or fine print. She simply presented herself as who she is, warts and all, and I fell in love despite the grave belief that I simply had no love left inside.
I did. I had a seemingly endless supply. And I continue to find more and more as we embark on new adventures in this life of ours.
It hasn’t been easy. The cracks in this here ticker are fierce. As big as I love, I hurt. Not others, although I’ve certainly been the cause of some terrible pain which plagues me with guilt, but more so my own hurt. Love and hurt have been in equal measure within this internal matrix, a yin and yang of delight and solemnity that I’ve rarely seen in anyone else I’ve met. And I look too. Very few seem to both love and loathe life the way I do.
Maybe that’s part of the reason I write. Maybe that’s part of the reason I struggle even when I’m living a truly enviable life filled with love and incredible, almost astounding good fortune. A concentrated effort to pay more attention to the things for which I am grateful has helped offset my frustrations with the incongruous parts of my current routine, but those frustrations do persist.
And so I must sort it all. The websites, the blogs, the journal, the poetry, short-stories, podcast ideas… all of it needs sorting and time. But most of all they need to be made a priority, by me, and understood as essential to my happiness. Life is full of obligations and it always will be. There’s no way around that. But they cannot, and will not, be allowed to once again overshadow the things I need as much as I need air.
No one is telling me I shouldn’t write. In fact, the woman in my life is demanding I do so. She sees me struggling now and it breaks her heart. I have to honor this fact – this support – through action. Get this routine straightened out. Get this life’s path paved. Walk hand-in-hand with the idea that my creativity is as important as everything else.
This has to happen now. Before too long, I’ll be a dad for the second time and life will put a very hard stomp on my ability to carve time for myself. But I must. And I must bury any thoughts that I’m doing anything wrong by taking time to create.
I’ve made the mistake once before putting obligations and allegedly more important responsibilities ahead of my personal happiness by burying my creativity. No one told me to. I chose to because I believed it was what I *had* to do.
Truth is, the only person that can really ever demand you do something is yourself. And I’m demanding one thing: stay balanced not with love and hurt as that’s as natural as breathing, but with what creativity brings and what responsibility demands.