So, it’s a new year, a new time and a new era in my life. I’m no longer a pencil pushing, cubicle bound slave to people who may or may not pay their bills. Am I still an expert now that I am no longer paid to give companies my opinion? I don’t know, and I don’t really care. All I know is that my life has changed, dramatically, and for the better. I no longer worry about accounts receivables, or marketing time or my timesheets. Today I spent two hours running stock supplies for a demanding chef from street to basement to the second floor back to the kitchen. How much money did I make? I don’t know. Don’t care. I spent the afternoon writing and splitting wood while watching the Egrets make their yearly migration down the New River. I spent an hour registering for classes and trying to figure out how to pay for them. I qualified for a scholarship for Science Teachers. I emailed two high school principals to remind them who I am. I went for a jog. I read books by Georgia Pellegrini and Christopher Moore and admired their writing ability. I built a giant fire in our wood stove and turned off the heat. I helped my wife prepare dinner.
I threw the ball for the dog and fed the cat and split some more wood. I planned out my fire pit, staked out the deer fence and drew out plans for the garden boxes. I am quietly and carefully happy. I know this could change in an instant, but this is my life. Not only mine, but my families’. I am connected to them all, and to all of you, as well. Everything we do has an impact, not only on ourselves, but on all of those around us. Who is to say that the time I spent running ‘round with my nephew yesterday and showing him a rock will not have an impact on his life? Maybe. Maybe not. But I spent that time. I was not in a cubicle, writing reports that will not be read – unless there is a lawsuit. Then they would be pored over by an endless number of lawyers, seeking every mistake – and finding them. To shout before a judge who does not care.
I am cynical tonight. That is my right. Ten years in coal mining, ten years in consulting. Time wasted? No. Time is never wasted. It makes us who we are. Who am I to say that I want to back up and relive my years over? No thanks. I am who I am today based on a lifetime of experiences and battles. Of nights spent shoveling coal over a broken belt until I threw up. Of days spent in study and stress. Of countless hours spent at a desk despairing over logistics that I knew would not work. Of time spent in the bitter cold with a jackhammer or slump cone. So I will take these days, like today, of clouds and rain and cold, and enjoy them. I will read, and I will learn to be still. To enjoy the calm, the wood fires and the gentle sound of stock bubbling on the stove. I will also enjoy the calamity of the kitchens, the stress of graduate classes and the student teaching. I will love my students and care about the moments, for they are short and fleeting and unidentifiable in the future. I will remember the moments with my wife and family, oh so fleeting. Times at the beach, in our home – chasing the impossible, attainable, dreams.
For this is who we are. This is our opportunity. Our only life. Enjoy it. Live it. Don’t look back.