Things have changed over here at This Side of the Diaper. Last time I mentioned that things would change around here and they have. After many discussions with my wife, last week I withdrew from graduate school. I realized after my stay in the hospital that I needed to reprioritize my life and focus on what is truly important. I had to choose. For the past year I have focused on education. First I dedicated myself to finishing my bachelors degree and this spring I started a Masters of Secondary Education and Teacher Certification Program. Somewhere along the way I lost track of my family and my passion.
Separating myself from my family to pursue another degree caused tension and stress that affected the people I love. Honestly, my family never outwardly complained about my absence from their lives. My wife shouldered the load and carried us as I left before the boys got up in the morning and came home after they were in bed four nights a week. When my oldest son, Parker, was young I missed a lot of his childhood because of military obligations. I was missing Charlie’s and Eli’s lives while living in the same house. That sucked and I knew it. That knowledge caused guilt. I felt further guilt every time I was not available when my wife needed me to pick up one of the boys at school or take him to a swimming lesson. My guilt caused resentment and that resentment created stress.
God has his ways of letting us know that we are mortal and that we may have many more years here but we will never get yesterday, or today for the matter, back. Our tomorrows are limited. I got the message. I have spent many quiet evenings with my wife talking about what is important. I have decided, with her input and support, that whatever I choose, I have to be available to my family. Graduate school and a teaching career don’t really allow me to be available on the level we need. It doesn’t fit right now.
So what’s next? This. This right here. I said earlier that I lost track of my passion as well as my family. What I am doing right now is my passion. Writing. Telling Stories. Passing on messages and recording my thin slice of history. It’s what I love. I don’t know if there is much money in writing a blog but we will find out. Until I started back to school full-time, I wrote constantly. I put out two or three blogs a week. For the last year I am lucky to put out one blog every few months. Things will change. You’ll be hearing from me a lot more. We have converted a small room downstairs into an office. I have a space just for writing. I have a printer and a big chair and a cup full of pens and everything. I am officially a writer. Besides filling you people in on my life changes, so far this morning I have sent out several story ideas to potential publishers and started the early ground work for a possible book idea. Next I will be updating social media sites and then get to work on marketing. It feels really good. We’re going to see where this thing goes.
There have been other life changes as well. I am on a low sodium diet. Sodium comes from the Greek word for happiness. My food pyramid is leaning heavily to the side now. Sodium was one of my four food groups. My wife bought four kinds of Mrs. Dash brand seasonings to use instead of salt. Mrs. Dash is a fraud and a deceitful wench. Without going upstairs to check, I think the flavors are ‘Cajun Sorrow’, ‘Chipotle Boredom’, ‘Mediterranean Bland’ and ‘Garlic Herb Heartbreak’. I tend to pass on the Mrs. Dash. I have had more success in just letting food taste like food. My wife also knows how to use all those other spices in the cabinet, so it’s been better than it could have been.
The biggest change has been to simply refocus on what’s important and let the stress melt away. For the last year I have stalked around the house with a full stress tank. I had no room to emotionally maneuver and that resulted in little things putting me over the edge. A spilled cup of lemonade or dirty socks on the kitchen counter should not result in banishment from my sight and memory. I mean the socks were pretty gross but I should probably be able to deal with it without melting down. My family deserves better. There have been a lot more smiles and laughter around here the last few weeks. I missed that.
I think it is very important to let you know that I realize just how fortunate I am. I get to do exactly what I want to do. Well . . . I get to do what I want after I vacuum and do laundry and stuff. Freedom comes at a price, right? I am lucky to be afforded the opportunity to reprioritize, refocus on my family and pursue my passion. But from my perspective I don’t think I could afford not to.
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