I think I am late writing this letter and I am not referring to the time of day. Don’t I normally do this around my birthday? Hell, it doesn’t really matter all that much, it is only a month or so.
A month or so since I turned 44 which I can guarantee sounds quite old to you now whereas I see it as being quite…young.
That photo is the kitchen from the old house. The caption says “old kitchen” but it really is the “new kitchen.” It is the one that replaced the one that came with the house. I guarantee neither one of you really remember the old kitchen but I don’t have to think hard to see it.
Don’t have to think hard to remember what it was like to buy that house or all of the dreams that came along with it. We moved in there about two weeks before 9-11 and watched the world change before our eyes.
Some Changes Were Good
Some of the changes were good. Some were beautiful, significant and amazing, while others were…not.
I don’t look at pictures of the old house or think about it often. Some of it is because there is anger tied up there, anger and frustration. It is not one of my finer traits but I don’t easily forget the things that really bother me.
In time it changes and the edge softens so that the sharp points that don’t poke me like they used to but some things take longer than others and this is one of them. That is because we found ourselves in a situation in which we had to sell that place.
I don’t regret it. It was the right thing to do. The local schools weren’t that good and it needed a ton of work to make it into a place we could stay long term. It never was supposed to be anything more than a starter home but things happened.
The market exploded, housing prices shot up exponentially and then the economy tanked. We got stuck between the proverbial rock and a hard place and we made the decision to move, but had we waited much longer it might not have been our choice.
What bothers me most was the frustration of trying so damn hard to change things and my inability to do so. I am not used to that. My entire life people have always mentioned how determined I am and how strong my force of will is.
That is sort of a double edged sword because sometimes I have spent more time in bad situations because I was determined not to flinch before the other guy. I persevered and they didn’t, one moment longer and I won the contest, or maybe I didn’t.
Maybe the advantage of being 44 is that it is easier for me to acknowledge some of those things. Maybe it is a sign of maturity to say that sometimes I made mistakes and sometimes I didn’t but couldn’t overcome the challenges.
Either way hard choices are a part of life and you will have to find your way through the mazes that are presented.
Fear Of Failure
You might not be able to tell but I am smiling while I write this and that wasn’t the case with a number of the prior letters. That is because the situations and moments were painful and the feeling that I had failed chafed my hide more than a little.
But now it is not the same.
Now it is different because I see the benefit of some of the hard choices. I see clearly how some things are a million times better and I feel very optimistic about the future. You can attribute some of that to things I learned from your grandparents and great grandparents.
I am far more adept at taking life one day at a time because sometimes it all you can do.
It doesn’t mean I don’t get frustrated or angry because I still do. Some days if you listen carefully you might be walking down Ventura Boulevard and realize that you can hear me screaming at someone in Texas. What can I tell you, the drivers here aren’t allowed to get a license unless they are drunk and blindfolded when they take the test.
Life Is Pretty Good
I miss you guys more than you know. It won’t always be like this but for the time being it has to be. See you in a few weeks, try not to kill each other while I am out fighting the monsters of the night.
Won’t be all that long before we’ll get to build another kitchen but this time you’ll get to be a part of it all.