And set me free
It’s not gonna last you know? Nothing ever does.
“ Don’t blink, just like that you’re six years old
And you take a nap
And you wake up and you’re twenty-five” — Kenny Chesney — Don’t Blink
I spend a lot of time in these rabbit holes of “what might have happened if?”
I guess that’s not really a surprise. ’Cause everything went just as expected. Until it suddenly didn’t.
But there was a whole lot of life in between those events. I used to tell people we had the prototypical American family, times two. Four kids, two girls, then two boys. One blue eyed child because blues eyes are a recessive gene. The genetic lottery would indicate that one of four would be blue eyed. And that’s exactly what happened. She even had a miscarriage in between the last two, which would put us pretty much smack dab in the middle of the statistics for that sort of thing too.
After the first few years of marriage, I moved up in my career just enough to make a bit more money than my wife. Not because that’s the way it should be, but because that’s how we’ve structured life in this country. There’s actually no point in time that my job was as important as the work my wife did. And that’s almost certainly typical of nearly every other family in our world now too.
It was like I was living out pages from some sociology text on what to expect from a ‘normal’ adulthood in late twentieth century America. I never found the user manual for my life but I suspect it would have been written pretty much exactly as it happened. I wonder sometimes, what funky misspellings would be in that manual given what’s churned out by the Chinese factories for the other consumer goods we buy.
I probably would have gone to my grave in typical fashion. Sometime in my late seventies, still married to Liz, and wondering why my kids never call. I’d have been satisfied that I had done all I could to give my family a comfortable life. And the only real regret I would have had would be that I had never really taken a chance.
I did exactly what was expected of me. But the expectations changed.
Liz got sick. And then she died. And my carefully choreographed existence was shattered. I was cast into a world I was not at all prepared to handle. This wasn’t in the user manual (which some dickhead had misplaced anyway!). WHAT THE FUCK DO I DO NOW?
Well, what do I do now?
I’m still working on that one. Check back with me in a couple of months. Or, better yet, stay tuned here. I’m pretty sure you’ll be reading about it. Probably in near real time, as it happens. Oh, and BTW, I’m open to suggestions.
Thanks for reading.