Yesterday, as part of a belated Valentine’s Day celebration, The Auteur and I went to an Extreme Midget Wrestling show and stayed the night in the city. We had a great time and it was a much-needed, albeit brief, break from the day-to-day grind. We probably didn’t really have the money to do something like this, but this was one of those time in life where we had to be a little selfish and splurge on ourselves just a little. It was the kind of thing that we don’t do enough of and need to make sure we do more often.
Our hotel room had a spectacular view of downtown Detroit. That alone was probably worth what we paid for the room. From our window, I could see Comerica Park – the home of the Detroit Tigers and a place where I spent many an afternoon – and a few evenings – with my Dad watching our favorite baseball team.
The morning after the wrestling show, as we were getting ready to check out, I got a little emotional standing on the 26th floor of the casino hotel overlooking the city. Seeing Comerica Park made me think of the Old Man and I started to cry a little.
It’s weird because I didn’t attend a single Tiger game in 2016. I would have to check back on this, but last season is probably the first time in 20 years I didn’t attend a single game all season – including my time down South. Last season was also the first season in which my family did not have season tickets to the Tigers since at least 1997 (or 1996?). And while I went to a few games after The Old Man passed in 2015, I think I was a little apprehensive to go back to the stadium last year. Had we still not had his partial season-ticket package, I doubt I would have gone back there at all in 2015.
Some people feel weird to go back into a parent’s bedroom – seeing where they lived and their most personal belongings – after they’ve passed. The reality is that during my college and early adult years, I probably spent more time with my father at Comerica Park than I did in his house. In a lot of ways, going back to Comerica Park is not unlike seeing his bedroom again; going through his belongings; or his man cave.
But here’s the thing that I do know: It’s my turn now. It’s my turn to be the dad, to take my kids to the Tiger games, to teach them the game, and bask in those lazy summer days, weeks, months and years and pass that great family tradition on to my kids.
It’s time to become the man that I was born to be (and yes, that made the list…)
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.
One of The Auteur’s close friends, who is now a neighbor of ours, got pregnant a few months before we did and just had her baby yesterday. She had a boy, as are we; and I have to say that I’m getting bit by the baby bug once again.
I want to meet our little boy. I want to see what he looks like and I want to discover his personality – how he takes after The Auteur and how he takes after me. The Auteur is showing. The Baby is looking like a real baby in his most recent ultrasound photos. I just want him out now.
I think we chose a name. Thursday night, we drove down to Columbus to see a WWE NXT house show. On our way home Friday, we decided on a name. Granted it was a name we were leaning toward already, but I think we made our final decision.
Today, I’ve been gearing up for another round with Jabba, which has had me searching for old computer files. While doing so, I came across some old photos of The Kid when he was a baby, which is making the baby brain thing even worse.
Oh yeah, and The Old Man’s first name is also going to be The Baby’s middle name. It only seemed right…