My wife and I had just had another perplexing day. So after the children had gone to bed, we were happy to crash on the couch for the evening and just vegetate in front of the television. During one of the shows we were barely watching, Stephanie muted the television and we were talking about some of the events of the day.
“When did we become old enough to be responsible for all of this stuff?” she asked me.
“I don’t know; we just have.”
“We used to be cool.”
“I know,” I said as I chuckled at her use of the past tense. “We still are cool but just not as often.”
“I don’t think so, Sweetie. You might think we are but we’re not; we’re old.”
I was slightly depressed at the thought when I looked up and noticed the picture that Stephanie had given me a number of years back. “Authentic Irishman For Hire. Storytelling & Singing, Dancing & Carrying On. Available All Hours. Experienced Drinking Companion.” The sign had once been a sign of the times, a badge of courage and honor, and a statement of the life we lived. We told stories, we sang, we danced, we carried on, and any time of the day or night, we were available to join our friends at the local Pub and, yes, we were experienced drinking companions. But those days have seemed to have passed us by.
Youth and frivolity had given way to that dreaded word; responsibility! We have a decent sized house and an even larger mortgage, we have a fenced back yard and we were a single income family. And yet, somehow, with the advances we have made in the world today, what I have learned was that the calm place out in the suburbs where the entire family meets on Sunday for a day of leisure and a full four course dinner doesn’t exist anymore. Today’s world was about a high-tech, high-speed, and high-maintenance existence and if we stopped to blink for just a second, we would be outsourced for something more innovative and more enhanced. But like Grandma’s apple pie and Grandpa’s sentimental sojourns about the “good old days;” it was critical that we remembered what was truly important in the world today.
My grandparents had taught me to take time out of my hectic life to stop and smell the roses, and I have always been glad that they did. I wish I could say that the world of my parents and even my grandparents still existed, but it doesn’t. The world has changed drastically over the past fifteen years and as we safely passed by the “Y2K” hysteria, life in the twenty-first century has kicked into hyper-drive, and I have had to admit that I have been treading water just to make sense out of it all. My sense of community has changed, our family structure has changed and the simple loyalty that was once shared between an employee and an employer has changed. And that was why it has always been important for me to take stock in the unimaginable beauty that existed in the world around me or I would have forgotten the true meaning of life.
Life was hard! It was meant to be filled with trials and tribulations but by persevering through all of the challenges that my wife and I have faced on a daily basis over the years, character has been built in both of us. It was what has given both of us the capacity to achieve greatness and to continue to attain better things for ourselves and for our family. And what I have found during this self-exploration of my existence was that my life has been idiosyncratic! And for that reason, I have had to examine the vague aspects of my life in order to find the beauty that exists all around us. I have lived in the moment and sometimes I have lived in the nanosecond but through it all, I have been able to uncover truths about myself that have allowed me to better understand my own life. By having looked within myself, having looked to my loved ones for guidance and at the roads I have traveled every day of my life, I have found the one sole truth that should exist in all of our lives; happiness.
So as I sat on the couch with my wife, stroking her hair and trying to make sense of the day we had just completed, I pointed at the sign on the wall and said, “Remember when you bought that sign for me?”
“Well,” I said, “Let me remind you.”
I got up off the couch, got a couple of drinks, came back to the couch, turned off the television and reminded my wife of the day she bought me the sign that hung in our house. I told the story, sang a little, we carried on about other stories of our life, we danced a little, and we drank. Our station in life may have changed and aspects of our lives may have gotten more difficult but in the end, we were still that young couple that used to be free of responsibility; but most importantly, we are still happy!