The 2000‘s are almost a thing of the past. THINK about that. I keep gettin older
and they stay the same age and time keeps speeding up. A month is a blip; a year, a flutter…and I’m pretty much doin the same thing now as I was almost 10 years ago. Well…pretty much.
As the year 2000 rang in we were knee deep in the Florida Everglades, ushering in the new millennium with our favorite band and 85K of our closest friends. I was still delivering for Pizza Hut and desperately trying to find some sense in it all. Late nights spent smoking and drinking and pondering and noodling on the guitar. There were parties and parties and the hangovers lasted half a day. An EPIC summer PHiSH tour changed my life.
By NYE 2001 I’d had been at a new job (Latitude Graphics) for 10 months and had even taken a computer class at MATC. Things were looking up. The lifestyle hadn’t really changed, however…I just got up much earlier in the day. Hangovers were still somewhat manageable. This was the year I became acquainted with my true nemesis, ANXIETY.
Marriage was the best thing to (Ever) happen to me in 2002. A beautiful day for me and my beautiful bride who’d been with me since 1997. What else happened that year…I cannot recall. I think we saw the PHiSH a few times.
The years 2003 through 2006 are a bit jumbled; a hot sticky mess of late-night hootenannies and camping trips and PHiSH concerts and general depravity. Throughout the whole time…employment at Latitude Graphics. Trusty, instructional, helpful, flexible, and understanding…Latitude Graphics. Oh, and I went back to school. MATC has been teaching me things ever since. Keep changing your program..and you can keep going forever. Things were solid throughout these years…but I had no focus, just short bursts of peace and satisfaction. 2007 changed all of that and everything else.
This was the year Lizz told me that she had news. Nine months later I was a father and the focus had arrived. Living for a child is the most gratifying thing one can do. It’s indescribable. That year was filled with fear and love as we built a new world for what was coming and studied up on all sorts of ideas and methods. We were showered with gifts and excitement. We breathed it all in that summer…and despite my understandable nervousness, I had the lowest blood pressure readings I had ever had. In fact, it has only continued to climb every reading since. Peace was upon us.
The next year was fraught with change and decision. Lifestyles were permanently altered and I went back to school with a CLEAR mission and program. I finally had a five-year plan I might stick to. 2008 brought our world in much closer to us. Our circle tightened and we felt safe within it’s warm seemingly controlled circumference. Little things began to take on greater importance and I felt older than I ever had before. Not that I minded, as Oliver brought us back to when we were young. He didn’t care about “big pictures” and “five-year plans”. Responsibility – piled high on someone working full-time, going to school and raising a child – was something that didn’t affect the way my son saw things. Everything is raw and real through his eyes…and for the first time in a long time, Lizz and I were seeing things with the same measure of abandonment. We were young again. We watched as our son learned to speak and walk and run and jump. He wanted to be us…and we wanted to be him.
Coming into 2009 I was as stressed as I have ever been. School was taking it’s toll, as was my inability to find time for friends and family. Money is always tight, deadlines are deadlines, and a man with responsibility has little time or energy for letting loose like in the good old days. As stressful as things could be, however, they were often equally exciting and truly amazing. Oliver was learning so fast. Lizz was impressing me every day with the ways she managed our home. She always smiles as she cleans up after us, cooks for us, loves us and hugs us. These things got me through….these things and the people behind them were and are the reason I’m here. I am no one and nothing without my family and my family that was about to get one bigger.
I spent the first half of the year reveling in the new pregnancy and looking forward to summer and it’s little gifts it brings us. Like those perfect days where if you step to the left…the sun hits you hard. You feel warm and everything is good and nothing else matters. If you step to the right and into the shade, you feel refreshed and new as that soft breeze tickles your face. You have choices to make that don’t seem so hard anymore…a calmness comes over you.
And so here we are. The decade drawing to its close and what’s changed? I saw PHiSH again last week for the first time in five years. They sound better than ever, even if I can’t party like I used to. Goin’ out drinkin’ with the friends happens very rarely and the hangovers now last two days solid. Still working at Latitude Graphics, and still in school pluggin away at that 5-Year. Starting full-time in a week, I’ll be away from home WAY more than I want to be and I’ll be spending that much more of my time studying when I AM home. Lizz is VERY pregnant and I’ve been spending more and more time with my hand upon her belly, feeling little Elliot kick kick kick away (gonna be a soccer player). Oliver amazes me more and more every day. His mind is brilliant; his energy, constant.
Last week I saw into the new little baby’s heart. Four chambers beating away at top speed working for the day when he’ll be able to run around and demand crackers and TV like his older brother. We saw his little feet and little arms all curled up. We saw his beautiful face and there we were again, re-experiencing the joy that had been so moving last time around. As I begin to stress about the upcoming semester I think about that and it calms me down. As I read and read and sit in class after class; as I pour over notes and take exams and get up for work and have to constantly leave the house and everything that means so much to me….I will think about this little boy and what he’s about to go through (not to mention his mother and what she’s about to go through!). In comparison, my struggles seem so insignificant; my experiences so thickly veiled with sarcasm and contempt. I could learn a lot from my children.
I sure hope the next ten years are as exciting and interesting as these last ten have been. I hope my children look back on them fondly and remember trips to the beach and camping and swimming and ice cream and movies. I hope they look at the 2010’s as the years where they learned how much their parents loved them and would do anything for them. I want Oliver and Elliot to learn as much in these coming ten years as I have in the past ten times TEN. I want their mother and I fall deeper in love while the kids experience childhood they way children ought to as childhood is the only time we are really free and real…even as we are held captive by curfews and frequent groundings.
This is my 10-year plan. A new career, a new job. A healthy and fun-loving family. Friends and parties and trips and laughter. Days spent outside from dawn till dusk….and movie marathons spent astride the couch with buckets of terrible snack food and smiling faces. Oh, and I wouldn’t mind seeing another PHiSH show or two while we’re at it.
As long as we’re all together.