Monthly Archives: March 2011

My Mother, I’m a Son

My mother lives in government housing.  She is in a wheelchair and paralyzed from the waist down.  She was hit by a drunk driver before she was even old enough to drink.  I haven’t been to see my Mother for three weeks.  I visit my Mother less than once a month.  I speak to my Mother less than once every couple of weeks.  When I email my Mother, its only a couple sentences long – at best.  I think I am a bad son.

I grew up poor.  Neither of my parents graduated high school and they both made a lot of dumb mistakes.  I tend to focus on that a lot.  The mistakes.  I often resent my parents for being ignorant, uneducated, and unsuccessful (in my opinion).  I fail to take in to consideration what my Mother had to endure her entire life. 

When she was three she was run over by a car which severely damaged her right arm.  She grew up in a fairly mentally and sometimes physically abusive home.  I’m sure she was insecure and was never taught much self worth or ambition – and self confidence didn’t come naturally.  These factors alone should make me stand up and be a good son, realize why my Mother is the way she is, but I fail again as a son.

It’s no surprise that she found and married my Father right out of high school.  (Who has his own set of issues)  He loved her and gave her a sense of security I’m sure my Mother probably had not had too much of.  I cannot blame either one of them for being together – they gave me life. 

Both, products of their upbringing turned out just as one would expect.  They were poor and knew no better.  They were also unlucky.  After only a couple of years together my Mother was injured and became wheelchair bound for the rest of her life.  Shortly after my Father became addicted to crack and lost everything.  He recovered and life got better. Somewhere between those events I was born.

A few more tragic events later and my Mother was really no better off, but had raised me.  In between her addiction to drugs and alcohol, refusal to educate herself, and general lack of motivation she had also managed to make me right my spelling words five times each, encourage me to play sports, praise all of my efforts, support me in everything, love me, and teach me self confidence – most of which I often forget to give her credit for. 

I guess my point is one for myself to remember.  Of course she has messed up a lot – but can I really blame her?  Her life has been tough, tougher than I can imagine.  I should stop being a bastard and really cut her some slack, lover her as much as she has loved me all this time.  It’s time to stop being so selfish and give something back to her. 

My desire to achieve so much in light of where I have been cannot overshadow the duties I have as a decent human being.  Love was given to me, despite any mistakes, despite an recentment, so I have a duty to give that love back.  I want to do that.

The Map in my Closet

I put up a map in my closet.  I bought little pins to mark all of the places I have traveled.  It was satisfying and it was revealing.  I want to see so much of the world, but the places I have been mostly make up a small portion of the eastern United States.  I’ve only been out of the country once (twice after next week).

It’s kind of an interesting thought that there are people in some place I have never been, never even thought about, never even heard of - living another life.  They know all the local places to eat, most of their families live nearby, and it’s their life. My counterpart in another part of the world I guess.  I want to be able to go to those places and have those experiences.  There is just so much more than this small piece of land, although I am thankful of what I have here.

When I travel, I try not to do just the touristy things.  I make an effort to go to local restaurants, not just the ones everyone has heard of.  I try to talk to the people – get to know the place…at least as much as you can in a week or two.  I think I love travel so much because it is the easiest way to remember you aren’t the only one out there.  I am not the only thing to account for on this planet.

I mean, someone is fighting a war in the middle east.  Someone else is worrying about radiation in Japan.  Someone is sitting on their patio enjoying an ocean view.  I’m sitting at a desk in a room typing this.  The variety (and similarities) just amaze me.  People are so different, but at the same time just the same.  Someone has already said that before…

I do not really have any brilliant and unique ideas.  Probably nothing original to say.  I just want to do my best, I want to contribute.  I just think people would be a whole lot better of if they remembered for a second that they share this planet with a few billion other people.  I want people to teach me about their lives and I can do the same.

Routine

I walk in the building and I see the same faces.  Day in and day out those same people are sitting in there same little spots looking at those same fucking computers.  It’s like clockwork.  I do not visit the office often, most of the time I spend at one location or another working on various projects.  I guess I’m fortunate in that respect, but even on occasion I could spend a month or more at one place.

That’s when I began thinking it’s like a prison.  I have spent days and weeks inside a tiny office looking at four white walls and a computer screen for hours a day.  Missing the sunshine, not even knowing for sure what the weather was like that day.  I even forget that there is an outside world, I’m so focused on my work.  It’s really a tragedy.  It’s a self-induced prison.

I have talked myself into believing that this is the best I can do.  Too afraid to give it all up.  What if I did.  Gave up the security of a well paying job.  Just lived off the land – day by day.  Would my wife agree?  What about something less extreme?  I don’t even know what that would be.  I just know that in the end, there is a high probability I will regret missing days of my life in  self-induced confinement.

It’s not all bad, don’t get me wrong.  I get to travel and occasionally see some nice things, but on the other hand I have spent full days in an airport food court.  What if I just took my life savings and moved to Europe, New York City, South America, wherever – and just did my best.  I wonder how I would feel.  What would happen when suddenly that became my life, my reality – would I regret it?  Would I be miserable or would I be alive?  It’s a big what-if risk.

I just know that I have to see the world.  I must have amazing experiences. And I have to fulfil these ambitions inside myself.  I can feel it in my chest, it’s what I’m meant to do.

Sometimes

Sometimes I just sit awake at night thinking about what I want to do with myself.  I just stay awake for a while, not sleeping, just thinking about living a less than ordinary life.  Thinking about ambitions I may or may not be able to talk myself into pursuing. 

I’m pretty comfortable with my current life.  I’m pretty sure that most would say its a great place to be.  I work for a great company and I’m very early in my career.  On the other hand, I could see myself just dropping everything and moving away to some cool place I’ve always wanted to give a shot.  Or maybe do something else all together.  Go live in another country, drop everything and just help people, I don’t know.

I just don’t want to live this life “normal”.  I don’t want to wake up a few years down the line and wish with all of my heart that I had done something when I really had the chance.  I want my life to be amazing.  No regrets.  I want a meaningful existence.  I think everyone wants that – but I also think that few really have the courage to go after it.  Do I?  I’d like to think so.

Going after it may mean losing some security.  It may mean getting out of my comfort zone.  It will probably mean a lot of work, but I think even just as I write this, that I am strangely comfortable with the thought of being out of my comfort zone – kind of an oxymoron…

Our short little existence on this earth is so miniscule I think I really can’t even grasp it.  I just want to do so much.