I don’t always see things through.
I quit trying to be John Elway right about the time I found out how hard he got hit every game.
I quit baseball not long after one of the bigger kids threw a brush-back pitch meant to intimidate. Which, clearly, it did.
I gave up on the idea of music stardom, or even being in a band, because performing made me a nervous wreck.
This is the first paragraph of one of several books I began:
I guess it started with this fanciful notion that I could outrun the heartbreak, and of course no one ever can, you just inhabit it, and live it, until one day you’re done and it’s gone and you move on, but no one knows when that day comes, the day when you just accept it, and so sometimes you run. And so here I am someplace foreign but familiar–the chaotic charm of the old Latin world, the whimsical machismo fluttering through the air like a hammer, the crimson wine, the strings of Spanish that unwind like a yo-yo, the romance of the city and the grand space beyond– knowing that when the rush wears off, the sadness will be right behind it, thick desperate sadness that you have to embrace until you beat it. Even here. Especially here.
It, like the others, remains unfinished.
The world is so full of possibility (and distraction) that sometimes it’s hard to tell which pursuits are worth the effort and which ones are just somebody else’s idea of a good time.
We did a story the other day about a couple who just celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary. Our reporter asked the guy the difference between his generation and his grandkids’. He said young people have more choices now…and too often they make the wrong ones. In his day, he said, choices were often made for you, by others or by circumstance. His generation learned to make it work. Whatever it was They saw no alternative. When things got hard, there was only one option. And that was to keep going.
What does this have to do with parenthood? Well, for me, everything. I’ve quit more than I should have in my life. Sometimes out of fear. Sometimes to chase the next thing.
Marriage and fatherhood have had an anchoring effect on my life. They are things I won’t quit out of fear, that I won’t flee out of distraction. They are, even at times of thick desperate sadness, a light right here, a path to see through.