I have always considered myself a restless soul. Always looking for something more exciting or interesting to immerse myself into. I love to experience new things and try to take life in on many levels. If I find myself in a situation where I feel like my life is stagnate, I get very uncomfortable and pissed off at myself for allowing it to happen. I don’t want to waste a minute on this earth primarily because I know my time is limited, I just don’t know how limited. There are times when I wake up in the middle of the night and realize, I will die someday. This realization causes a sense of panic, but not for the reasons most would think. The panic doesn’t occur because I am afraid of dying (I used to be, but not after losing Katie and Noah), I am actually afraid of not living my life to the fullest and the fear of wasting my time.
Here in the United States, we’ve been sold the “American Dream.” We are supposed to graduate high school, go to college and get into the workforce. Once we are in the workforce, it’s all about producing, out maneuvering your co-workers by working harder (60+ hour a weeks) so we can climb the ladder. We do this so we can achieve more titles and collect more stuff. I believe our forefathers and founders were brilliant in developing the “system” that keeps many of us here in the US trying to chase that dream. I believe this work ethic (spun to be a great thing) we have in the US is what keeps the United States one of the wealthiest and strongest in history. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change the system for anything, I love the US and freedom and security it has provided. However, I would like to change the way I personally approach the system. If others want to chase the “American Dream”, go for it.
I chased the dream for years (and still do on some levels) but after the death of Katie and Noah, I realized it’s not the most important thing in life. So, why do so many people do this? So we can pat ourselves on the back and tell each other how great we are because we have arrived in a new car, live in a 3000 sq. ft. house and take the best vacation one can afford. Or in most cases, can’t afford, but we’ll put it on the credit card and work harder over the next 25 years to pay down the house (or buy a bigger house in a better subdivision) and buy a nicer car. We have all been guilty of it, some worse than others.
I read a sign the other day that said, “don’t grow up…..it’s a trap.” I caught myself saying out loud, “Isn’t that the truth.” I often reflect on the days when I had no responsibilities, when “ignorance was bliss”. When I would have the summer days to myself to explore and spend time with my friends. Lately, I have been asking myself the question “Why can’t we still live a life like that?”
I have a neighbor down the street that I see in his yard with his dogs every morning when I go to work. He is out there playing in the dirt hanging out with his dogs and creating a beautiful landscaped yard with flowers everywhere. I stopped to chat with him the other day and the subject turned to “living life” and traveling. He told me he made a decision when he approached 40 to walk away from the corporate world because he was experiencing stress and anxiety. He is now 48 and works a part time job at the local Home Depot and makes enough to allow him to live a life he wants. I am jealous of his ability to make that decision and follow through with it. In all fairness, he has his house paid off and chooses not to live in debt with a lot of “stuff.”
I know I have been rambling on for a while, but let me bring it back to my “restlessness” (did I also mention I am self-diagnosed with ADD). Over the last couple of years, I have started down my own path of “taking in” life. I’ve written a book, taken photography classes, taken cooking classes, started biking and running more, jumped off the side of a mountain to paraglide, landscaping, garden and many other things. Although I enjoy doing all of this stuff, I still feel like I need to do more.
Lately, I’ve been day dreaming of extreme experiences like taking off a year from work to bike across the US, hike the Pacific Crest Trail, traveling the world or moving to Tulum, Mexico for a year and live in a beach town. I’ve been reading a lot of blogs of people that just go and do it. They inspire me.
I think losing Katie and Noah left a void inside of me that I am trying to fill. As I stated earlier, I’ve always been a restless soul, but it has been amplified since losing them.
Has your outlook on/approach to life changed or has your restlessness gotten worse since the loss of your child? Tell us about it.