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.
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.
I couldn’t resist using that title…
I had another interview on Thursday. This was for a job that I never even applied for – though it was in the same district that I interviewed with 2 weeks ago. I got there 15 minutes late, though that was because of an accident on the freeway. Still, i felt like I left myself more that enough time to get there should I run into any traffic snafus; and yet, late I was.
In spite of my lack of punctuality, I felt like the interview went alright. Looking back, I probably would have changed an answer or two in the interview, but I don’t feel as if I said anything that would have sunk me. But then, they haven’t called me back, so who knows.
I’m not sure I would have even wanted to take the job had it been offered to me. It’s two hours away from where The Auteur and I are living, In fact, it’s closer to my parents than it is to us. But the fact is, a job is a job and I need a job. Badly.
Well, it has happened. Child support has finally started being pulled from my paychecks. I still think my payments are based on what I was making when I was teaching full-time. God knows they can’t be based on what I’m making now. But there are steps I can take to have child support re-evaluated. I just have to do it.
About 3 weeks ago, I began moonlighting at a major pharmacy/retailer. Now, I’m sitting home after working a 7 hour shift and I’m restless because it’s the first time I’ve really had a chance to relax.
I think I’m getting addicted to work.
I was pretty lucky this week in that I had three days in which I worked both of my jobs. I say lucky because the school year is winding down and I know I will have to find another job of some sort relatively soon; so I’m trying to get as many sub gigs as I can before the school year ends.
It’s only been one week that I’ve been really busy and I find myself restless at the prospect of sitting here with nothing to do. Do work addictions happen this quickly?
I haven’t talked to The Kid much in the last several days. In part because I’ve been working a lot of nights this week; also in part because he is only returning my calls sporadically. Last week, I booked airplane tickets to pick him up for a week at the end of the month. I’m stoked to see him but right now our relationship seems a little rocky. He and I need this time together, but I fear it will be a little awkward at first.
Who am I kidding? I’m always afraid of how awkward things are going to be with him. Given our recent history, I think I’m pretty well justified in this fear.
Today I substitute taught at a juvenile correctional facility.
I had heard about the facility a while ago, and i was tempted to fill-in there but it wasn’t until I talked to some teachers at another local school that I really thought i’d give it a try.
Like a lot of people, I was nervous to go there. I was intimidated by the fact that the kids there are…incarcerated. But the more I heard about it, the more intrigued I was: small class sizes, no possibility of snow days, kids whose very freedom depends on their cooperation with authority. From what I could see, these weren’t bad kids. they are kids who did some really dumb, or even bad things; but they themselves did not seem like bad people.
I played basketball with the boys’ PE class. It was probably the one time of the day that they are allowed outside and the closest thing they currently have to a sense of freedom. I’ve never been much of a basketball player. I’ve always lacked the coordination for the sport; but I wanted to connect with the kids. I actually scored 8 points.
The entire day was a very…humbling experience. It really helped me put a lot of things into perspective. Concerns and stressors that I’ve had lately suddenly didn’t quite so important. The kids with whom i worked were pretty much stripped down to the basics – literally. These are young people who have lost their freedom. The experience mad me not only appreciate the small things; but it also made me realize that things currently can and will work out .
Naturally, seeing these young people there naturally got me thinking about The Kid and hoping that he stays out of trouble. Given the chance, I would most certainly work at this facility again.
“…nothin’ lasts forever, even cold November rain” – W. Axl Rose
The weather is finally breaking and people are starting to come out of their homes and resume their normal lives. It’s kind of surreal: local temperatures are about 35 degrees higher than they were 2 and a half days ago. Snow, arctic wind shears, sub-zero temperatures: I got to experience the entire Ice Age in just five days.
It occurred to me today that – and this may sound really melodramatic – that just like the weather, tough times do pass. The holidays are over, the world is returning to its regularly scheduled routines. My classes started this week – more or less given the snow days and I am more motivated I’ve been to finish school since I returned to Michigan. People like like to talk a lot about how important it is to have goals. Recently, I have come to the realization that as important as it is to have something to work toward, it is equally important to have things to work for.
But back to my point: Being broke, feeling stuck in a seemingly never-ending divorce, dark skies, shitty weather – all of these things do come to an end. This isn’t to say that life is perfect. As always, it continues to be a work in progress. but I definitely feel like I’m turning a corner.
With the start of school and re-certification around the corner, I find myself wondering where I’ll find a job for the fall. this time of the year inevitably make me look forward…and look back. i wonder where I’ll be 9 months from now, or even 6 months from now. The reality is that, just as I did ten years ago, I’m going to raise my proverbial sails to the wind and see where potential employment takes me. I feel like experience has made me wise in this regard. I’ve moved ‘cross country before. i know what it’s like; I know what it takes; and I know what I would do differently the second time around.