One day, shortly after Jabba and I separated, The Old Man called me out to his Man Cave. It was his garage, but he had put a TV, a couch and a fridge out there. At the time, I was back living my parents. I had no job, no car and no money and I was ready to start using the George Costanza line from Seinfeld episode “The Opposite”. I know I’ve talked about this one before…
The Old Man asked me to bring out a pen and a notebook – something that I was going to keep. He gave me the following directions:
- Create a list of goals – on where I want to be in five (5) years
- On a separate page, create a list of things I need to accomplish in four (4) years in order to reach the aforementioned 5 year goal.
- On another page, he told me to create a list of things I need to accomplish in three (3) years in order to reach the 5 year goal.
- On yet another page, he asked me to create list of where I want to be in two (2) years, in keeping with the 5 year goal.
- On a final page, he asked me to write down where I want to be in one (1) year, again keeping in mind the 5 year goal.
I specifically remember him saying that these lists were for me, not him. But he wanted to know that I would be okay; that I would have some goals and direction. He wanted it written down because he didn’t know if he’d be around in 5 years to see if I accomplished what I was setting out to do.
I logically understood what he meant when he said all of this. I just never actually thought he would be gone in less than three years of this conversation.
On his own blog, the actor, writer and self-professed geek Wil Wheaton wrote about a life reset. This is the story of mine.
Shortly before the holidays, I made the decision not to make a trip down South to see The Kid for the holidays. I could have pulled it together. Mother would have certainly helped me finance it. But I haven’t been working much lately to help contribute financially to my own family, and making one situation slightly, momentarily better with The Kid didn’t seem worth rocking the proverbial boat with my own family. Of course, I didn’t want a repeat of The Perfect Storm. Most of all, I felt like my life needed a good old-fashioned ass kicking. I’m hoping that that ass-kicking starts here:
The List of Rob
This was going far beyond a hokey New Year’s Resolution that would be forgotten before Groundhog Day. This was to be a multi-faceted look at my life – what works, what doesn’t work, where I am, where I want to be, where I’m going and how I plan to get there.
Without getting into too much detail – out of respect to the parameters I set down upon the creation of this blog – I broke this list into ten distinct areas:
- Me & The Auteur
- My family (me, the Auteur, 1B, The Kid & The New Guy)
- My relationship with The Kid
- Dealing with Jabba
- Health & Wellness
- Mending Fences
- The Future
There are action points listed under each of these categories but again, respecting the parameters of this blog, I will not get more specific here.
I’m still working on some of the details on certain parts of this list, but I am focusing a little bit on everything. I’m not saying everything is going to magically be better by 2018, but the truth is, there are many areas of my life with which I am not happy. There are other that I would like to see improvements. Then there are others still that like all good things in life, need maintenance. But this is the most comprehensive self-assessment I’ve ever made – including the list The Old Man had me make nearly five years ago.
People often lament about the things in their life that they want to change. Some even use that blanket statement “I really got to get my shit together”. The List of Rob is not only about getting my proverbial shit together. It’s about keeping it together, and putting the tools in place to keep it together for the long haul.
I’m going to be 43 later this spring. I’m not a kid anymore. I’ve lived most of my life day-by-day and for the most part, it has worked out pretty well for me. But things could be better. Of course, there are some things that will not work out for me, no matter how hard I try – areas of my life in which I will inevitably fail, but I’m tired of just going with the flow; being reactive instead of proactive..
Oh, and speaking of that list The Old Man had me make, like any list of the sort, there are things I accomplished on it and others I didn’t quite get to. But the things that I personally deemed very important, I did.
The pressures of teaching all caught up with me yesterday: Coming in late in the school year, getting to know the kids, their backgrounds, the pressures they fact and the expectations placed upon them – or in some cases lack thereof; report card grades coming up and preparing for my first formal evaluation all hit me with the force of a Mack truck.
I literally worried myself sick.
The truth is, I
think know that I have dealt with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I’ve always had trouble sleeping. Even as a kid, people told me I was a “worry wart”. I was so intimidated by my second grade teacher that I worked my stomach into a tizzy throughout that entire school year. A few years ago, I was prescribed anti-depressants which may have fixed a short-term problem, only to hide something I’ve been dealing with all my life, namely anxiety.
Yesterday was my breaking point. Enough is enough, I decided. Yesterday was the last time I will ever allow myself to make myself sick. I’m seeing my family doctor in two days, which makes me feel better about things.
The one thing I’ve always said, even when I had my teaching job down South is that education programs do not prepare teachers for the psychological aspects of teaching. It’s not an easy job. Teachers take their work home with them every single night. their kids become a part of their everyday lives. Sure you get weekends and summers off, but you don’t get to take long lunches, or cut out early or even go to the bathroom whenever you fee like. I know this may sound like whining, and maybe it is, but I’m ranting.
A LOT has happened since last I wrote. One-and-a-half weeks ago, I was offered the job in Eastpointe – the one I didn’t even apply for. I interviewed on a Tuesday; completed all my paperwork on a Wednesday and was in the classroom teaching on Thursday. I worked all of last week and that brings us to the present.
I have to admit, it’s far from ideal circumstances. Work is a 1 1/ – 2 hour drive from where The Auteur and I live; so I’m staying at my parents’ house during the week, and going home on weekends. The first coupe days weren’t so bad. I worked two days and went home for the weekend. This past week was my first full week of work. After living together for the last year, being away from The Auteur for almost an entire week sucked. Doing that again Monday through Friday this week – and every other week for the rest of the school year – seems almost too hard to imagine. I know, I know – I’m being a little melodramatic. Truck drivers go through the same thing. Military families have it even worse. The thing is, I don’t drive a truck and I’m not a soldier, and I want to be home.
This wasn’t an easy decision for us to come to. And yes, this is something that The Auteur and I discussed at length. The truth is, I need this job. I need it for The Auteur and the life we are building and living together. I need it for The Kid – so that I can be a good father to him. Finally, I need it for the sake of my career. Sure I had a few years experience under my belt, but that ended 6 years ago. Employers are going to start asking “What have you done lately?”; so this will be good when pursuing other jobs in the future.
All in all, I feel like I’ve taken a small step backward in order to make several giant steps forward. I’ve talked at moderate length before about wanting to get started with the rest of my life. Maybe its finally happening.