Well, this took some time from my initial introduction because I had’nt anything worthy to say, at least from my point of view. Not so much a creative block as much as feeling that whatever I write should have heft and weight, something worth considering is what I enjoy reading and so of course, that’s what I want to write.
I had been contemplating my past of late and I always find my participation in events back then wanting. Not everything, just small choices along the way that lead us to the big moments, the gigantic decisions that at the time we are unaware will change the course of our lives.
Before Prison I made no time for contemplative reflection of my life so far. I felt like many do, caught up in working, family and the myriad other obligations that make up a day. I suppose if I read something like this back then I might have found it abstract, perhaps even unrelateable but, here is the thing. It takes time and a willingness to inventory yourself completely. Most everyone feels time is so limited and I will reserve that for another post. If you could imagine though that with the luxury of time, what would you have done different.
At the age of 14 I was presented with my first adult choice in life. I was on vacation with my Mom in Phoenix which was home base for me growing up. I was living with my Dad in Maine and my life was better as a result. My Mom asked me to move back and I did’nt hesitate. Tracing back, that decision steered me down the avenues that I travelled as a young adult. I have always viewed that decision as the wrong one and I reaped the sufferings of it well into my twenties.
I have been lucky enough to have two big moments like these in my life. Two amazing moments in a life where I truly had an opportunity to exercise free will. I wish I could say that I got it right the second time but alas, I blew it.
On a January day in 1998 I got a call from my Mother’s neighbor. My Mom was in the hospital and needed help. I called family in Phoenix and asked if they would drive up to Kingman, AZ and check on her, make sure she’s okay. Not one would go. So, I rented a car and drove from Seattle to the northwestern corner of Arizona in 19 hours straight.
I talked with my Mom and told her that I thought she should come back with me as soon as the doctors cleared her. I wished I had spent more time that day with her, I was a young man always in a hurry and so I was busy packing and preparing to depart the next day. She died unexpectedly in the earliest hours of the following morning.
Those phone calls to family were hard and I had trouble reaching my sister back east. I wont even describe what it’s like to watch a beautiful sunrise while you patiently wait at the Funeral Home for the mortician to arrive at work. That was the moment though. Once everyone had been called and my wife expected me home in short order, I had that precious time to figure out the best way forward before I had to cremate my Mother. I squandered it though and I believe to the depth’s of my being that had I tried to assess my life properly I would not have gone down the road that lead me to Prison.
There are allot of years and stories between 98 and 2011. They say hindsight is 20/20. I agree but this is’nt so much hindsight that I am trying to share, believe me no one is better at seeing errors in life as well as when we cross examine our own memories. I am talking about a deep realization of a life seen in overview. The ability to map backwards to a singular event and say, ‘right there is where I could have turned right instead of left.’
I was up the other night until nearly four a.m. thinking that if I awoke anytime in my life it woud be then that I would go back to, that January day as I travelled home after making all the necessary arrangements. The long day through the Central Valley in California could have given me the pause to make plans to better myself. I was driving home to a marriage only two years old and all ready in trouble, my first daughter who was so amazing at eighteen months and stable work. I was screwing all the good things in my life up and taking them for granted.
I would love to wake up in that guy’s body. In fact, I took a power nap in Stockton at around nine that night. Still a long way from home but because I do love to drive fast on the highway I would be home by just before six that next morning. I imagined getting out of that car and unlocking the door. The soft voice of my wife calling ‘Ron?’ and me saying ‘hey babe’. That hug being so beautiful and with the knowledge that I know what to do now. I wont make the choice to keep messing up this relationship because the divorce is going to hurt way more than I can imagine and it will eventually cause me to end up in Prison.
I never imagined I would end up in Prison. I never imagined I would struggle so much with time. You do though, your past, your present and the future. If I could go back I would be a better husband, Father, Neighbor and employee. Not because I aspire to do so but because the good part of me that I share with people now was always inside of me. My selfish, protectionist, I-centricities held me back from exploring the natural part of my base operating system, which is to help others and to put them ahead of me.
We all are capable of this and many people we know do it everyday. For what it’s worth I hope you will make time each day and contemplate a little about where you have been and where you will end up. You will make better choices if you do and you will most likely benefit those around you and yourself.
Thanks for hearing me out, until next time.