Wednesday, 23 August 2017

One Year Down

As I write this I'm sitting at my desk in my home office, in a cloud of a my one-year-old dog's foul gas, reflecting on the past year. I guess I could take the path down the road of irony and say that it's fitting that my dog crop-dusted me as I was trying to think of a way to describe the last year of my life. I could go on to explain how difficult it has been on me, my attitude, and my marriage. I could take the easy road and wonder why it's me that has to go through this instead of someone else. I could think about all those things and wallow in my own self pity, but I'm not going to. Instead I'm going to tell you what I love about my life and why this past year has been one of the most rewarding I have ever experienced.

I learned how to love my wife.
You can take this statement any way you like and make all kinds of assumptions about it, but what it comes down to is that marriage takes a lot of work. Committing to one another was a declaration that we would do whatever it took to make our marriage work. Unfortunately, in order to understand what "whatever it takes" means, you really have to be tested through some kind of adversity - and adversity is never pleasant. We were struck with our own this year having been touched by a cancer scare and infertility, but we faced it head on, hand in hand. We supported each other and we took the time to understand what each of us needed from the other. I can't say it wasn't difficult, I can't say I would wish it on others, but I can say it has made us both truly understand and accept each other.

I learned to let go of the little things.
When mountain-sized problems are looming over you, getting wet crossing the stream seems a little less daunting. I'm not perfect by any stretch of the word, I still get angry over little things on occasion, but things like my puppy chewing the legs off my old-fashioned wooden office chair, my shirt getting bleached in the washing machine, or somebody stealing my parking spot just aren't worth getting worked up over. Chairs and shirts can be replaced and there's always another parking spot (unless it's Christmas, in which case, stay the hell away from the mall and order your gifts online because it's 2017), but I can't replace the time I would have spent raging about those things, or snapping at my wife for something not worth snapping about.

I learned the value of a dollar.
Fertility treatment is an expensive undertaking, even if you have good benefits, and saving up the money for it really put us on the right track. Obviously it set us back a pretty penny, but instead of going back to our old spending habits, we decided to take our saving to the next step. We took the money that we had been spending on fertility treatments and instead started dumping it on our debts. We paid off our credit card, one of our student loans, and two-thirds of one of our vehicle loans. We showed ourselves that all we needed was a priority adjustment in order to accomplish our goals - and now as a byproduct of our goal of having children - we have been able to take several steps in the right direction toward our goal of being debt free.

I've become a student of patience.
Patience has never been my strong suit, if you ask anybody that knows me they'll tell you I want everything, and I wanted it the day before yesterday. Kay isn't much better, in fact, she has a tattoo on her wrist that reads "Patience is a Virtue" which serves two purposes: it acts as her own gentle reminder when she becomes impatient, and it acts as rage fuel when she's being impatient and I tell her to look at her wrist. So when I say that I've become a student of patience, I truly mean that it is a work in progress, but what helps me to stay patient over such a long arduous process is reminding myself that the best things in life are worth waiting for; over, and over, and over, and over again.

I started writing again.
I used to write all the time. I would write rants as an outlet for anger, poetry as an outlet for sadness, letters as a way to communicate things I didn't want to say. In a sense I grew up writing, but I never really took it seriously. In fact, when I started this blog I wasn't taking it seriously, it was just another way for me to deal with my own life. This blog has allowed me to reconnect with my love of writing and helped me to express my passion for it by giving me something meaningful to write about, something that others who are struggling can relate to.

Kay and I will be celebrating our first wedding anniversary this month and when I look back on the last year of our lives, it only gives me hope for the rest of our life together. We are all shaped by our experiences, but who we are and how we choose to look at our lives is what makes us the people we are. I choose to look at my life as an incredible one, full of love and learning - one that I wouldn't trade for the world.

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