Twists and Turns Along the Journey

I find that as I get older I experience fewer peaks and valleys. Maybe I take fewer risks because I have four children and a spouse who rely on me to provide for them. That’s probably a good thing because children gravitate to people they can count on.

But fewer lows means fewer highs, and I miss the highs.

Could it be that I’m becoming more stable?  More mature? Or more boring. It’s probably a combination of many factors. I turned 43 this year. I’ve now been married and out of college for nearly half my life. I know what my strengths and weaknesses are in both areas. When I was younger, I fought against those weaknesses by ignoring them. When I realized that wasn’t working I began to focus on them. But over the past few years I’ve come full circle to the point where I try to spend my time doing what I do well.

I pick fewer fights. I’ve learned that only a few topics are worth taking a strong stand on and those are usually family related. Let others battle it out over the mindless details and let karma take care of those who treat others poorly.

What I’m finally beginning to understand is that I like myself for who I am. A number of twists and turns mixed with with a few roadblocks along the journey can make a person wonder if he’s heading in the right direction. I second-guessed myself a time or two, and I shouldn’t have.

Last year at this time, Kim and I discussed cutting back in a number of areas including activities that kept our family from spending time together. That’s resulted in the kids occasionally having to choose between a school and church activity. It’s meant that Kim and I have spent fewer nights and weekends doing our own thing. When we’ve had free time, we’ve spent it together as a family. We’ve stopped feeling lazy because we participate in fewer activities than most of our family and friends.

This past summer, we spent several weeks visiting the coastal towns and beaches of Washington with Kim’s parents. We slept in a tent and fell asleep listening to the waves crash against the sand while our kids slept in sleeping bags next to us. No rushing from one exhibit to the next. Just simple living and spending more time together. Remove most of the distractions and time seems to slow down.

My father came to stay with us for a few days. We used to spend a good portion of his visit going around to the various Seattle attractions. But today he took the kids shopping.  As I pushed our 3-year old in a stroller, I watched how my three oldest children laughed, hugged and basically mauled my father for a couple of hours. I don’t know who was happier to see each other. I have no doubt neither would want to be anywhere else. Sure, the kids enjoy the new clothes. But it’s the time he spends with them that can’t replicated.

I don’t know what I’ll be doing in 20 years. But after watching my father, I hope I’m doing exactly what he did today.

3 thoughts on “Twists and Turns Along the Journey

  1. As someone who is a few years old than you 🙂 I can assure you that this process you are going through is a great thing. In some ways it gives you a fresh set of eyes to see the insanity going on around you for what it is.

    I definitely can understand how your father feels as he gets mauled, or just spends quiet time, by the grandkids. For various reasons we try to get our 9-year-old grandson every weekend and he loves nothing better than to – as he tells his grandmother – “hang with grandpa” in the office doing stuff on an old laptop (he will be getting his own at the end of the school year).

    Over the Christmas holidays we were lucky enough to have him for a whole week and when the week was coming to an end he was trying to come up with ideas to “convince” his parents to let him stay a little longer.

    We miss him already.


  2. We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Washington hanging out with family. Grandchildren turn out to bring more to your life than you could possibly imagine. They are so much fun as cute little babies but as they grow and develop their personalities and recognize you as someone valuable in their life it is like fertilizer to your heart and that love grows and grows and grows until your whole being gets a buzz just thinking about them. The other awesome thing about being a grandparent is that you have so much in common with your children that they love hanging out with you again too! I love this time of my life.


  3. Being a grandparent is lovely payback for all the crud you go through as a parent. 🙂

    You and your wife are very smart to slow your lives down. You only get one chance at this, and it is clear you are making the most of it. You won’t regret it.


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