So here we sit. Or rather, here I sit. Just me. Empty house. On the Friday before Christmas 2015. Not exactly what I’d planned. 2015 was supposed to be the year in which we… well… made it. The Ph.D. was done. We both had good jobs. The kids were out of diapers, potty-trained, and in pre-school. The balances were getting better. We were meant to:
– Advance in our careers
– I, in particular, was going to pursue and succeed at finding academic work
– Buy a house, our house, finally after all of these years
– Finally begin to enjoy life as a family, rather than just trying to survive
Instead, here we are. Empty house. Divorce papers still hanging out there in the universe. Expensive counseling. Diagnoses of various kinds. Strained love. Uncertain futures. Doubts and insecurities and lack of trust.
— § —
What happened is that we took on too much. People like us, I think, often try to live too much all at once. Me, because I always think I can handle it. My wife, I think, for other reasons that I am only beginning to understand.
But we did everything in the space of our eight short years together. We finished two graduate degrees, moved literally across the country, had two children, began to renovate an older house, switched our careers, travelled the world and the country, and made a whole bunch of other plans ahead of us still.
This sort of cascade of eventfulness wreaks all kinds of havoc:
1) It tends to persuade you to think of anything other than chaos as stagnation
2) It brings out any latent individual stress cracks
3) Because of the itense effort required, it draws into relief any differences between you
4) It demands ridiculous levels of coordination and compromise
5) It puts everything at stake, all the time and thus requires endless success at each step
6) It keeps everyone off-balance, ungrounded, and struggling to adapt
We didn’t know how to slow down. Me, because the world is a kind of candy store in which I want to grab everything, and my wife, I think, because any slowdown is a kind of risk that it will all come flying apart and we will have nothing that we wanted in the end, maybe forever.
— § —
So, here I sit. Here are some things that I used to do all the time, even compulsively, albeit productively and happily… that I simply don’t do any longer:
– Participate in local life
– Participate in politics
These things were my mainstays for a very, very long time, and then, somewhere over the last eight years, they disappeared. I’m sure she’s had a similar experience. Somehow our together life sort of forced them out.
They are the things we’ll have to rediscover if we’re to be a couple again.
— § —
But for the moment, it’s Friday and I’m sitting here in an empty house and an empty kitchen at an empty table typing nothing in particular. At least I’m doing it on my blog rather than on Facebook, even if it is on the wrong domain.
It’s time for me to retire this abominable “aa-hsiao.net” domain and go back to being who I am and always was. That work remains to be done during this winter break in which and on which I’m not working.
— § —
On that note, I’m torn between tackling the always exciting but also daunting task of creating a new blog for the coming year or two, probably using WordPress, this time with my own custom plugin to dump FTP’ed in text files into posts, or… waiting for TheGrid.io.
Yes, I am a founding member (#12k something) and yes, I’m still waiting.
No, I don’t harbor any illusions that this platform actually represents “artificial intelligence” in web design or development or any such nonsense like that. But I do sort of harbor the (illusory?) expectation that it might just do a better job at creating something that is ultimately reasonably readable than I’ve tended to do in recent years sitting on PHP template files and HTML+CSS on my own, and that it might also save me the time of doing those sorts of things along the way.
Although perhaps “spending the time” is exactly what I ought to be doing these days.
After all, I’ve spent the past decade racing faster and faster, trying to “save the time” and pack more in. And now…
Now I have all the time in the universe. And, in fact, none of it, because time ran out anyway.