“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” – Oscar Wilde
In the course of our courting, there were frisbees-a-flying, beers-a-flowing, big bad barbeques, and more than a smattering of smooching and cuddles. Being together was easy and always.
We married in 1997, healthy, happy, and excited about our lives. All that we wanted was to be together and continue the fun and goofiness that attracted us to each other in the first place. Simple enough, seeing that we were getting married and all, right?
Change We Could Have Done Without
Change from 1998-2007 included such delights as increased pant sizes, long work hours, more doctor visits, decreased intimacy, a slump in the fun fund, fewer hours together, lack of peaceful sleep, lack of creative endeavors, and an increase in mindless spending, just to name a few.
What the hell happened during this nine year black hole of productivity, progress, and pleasure? Work happened. Two crappy teaching jobs that we allowed to suck the life right out of us. Student teaching, years before, was a portent of what was about to transpire, but my first day of real teaching in 1998 was the proverbial ton of bricks. I somehow managed to choke down all the apathy and discomfort and trudge on with grim determination. Tammy was equally as stressed, only she got some satisfaction out of teaching.
Oh, how the kiddies needed us. Oh, how we needed them. The principal stopped in and said what a nice lesson I was giving on the life of Mozart. My student teacher was so appreciative and will no doubt be better off for all the time, effort, and energy I put in before and after school. My colleagues said I worked magic with kids and they responded so well to me.
I freakin’ hated it and all of those seeming positives proved cloying in very short order. So why stay? We had convinced ourselves that staying was the noble thing to do. We would continue to act selflessly, open our big hearts – even wider, express the utmost gratitude in achieving our lofty educational goals. These annoying cliches could be part of a commencement speech, sending the future of America off to their inevitable great deeds. Still, we were miserable and change for us was a painfully excruciating drag. Yet, my inner-martyr berated me ceaselessly with the guilts hurling deadly brick-bat bullets that whistled past my ears.
But teachers have the opportunity to transform our youth! They are invested in our country’s future! They help develop the great minds that will lead tomorrow’s world! Teachers are role models for our children. Teachers are heroes! What they do is SO noble!
I was still wishing my days away.
I wished Monday through Friday away so I could be with Tammy. Nay! Not only be with, but flourish, prosper, have fun, fun, fun!
Fun, where ever did you go?
Mornings were filled with sullen grunts, brooding silences, sick heads and stomachs, and occasional weeping. Yes, even that. The commute and the school day was mere survival. I tore out of the parking lot seconds after the last bell rang only to sit at home steaming at how long Tammy stayed after school, letting the bureaucracy grind her down.
Evenings were a noxious mixture of prickliness and anxiety with the additional strain of trying to show love in the absence of the resources to make it so. The night was all tossing and turning with our minds running and repeating disturbing scenarios of the following day despite total exhaustion.
How could I have ever denied this?
Finally, we admitted that we were very unhappy apart from each other, so we I quit and opened our own guitar and tutoring studio.
Stock Value Increasing
Sullen morning grunts became laughter and five mile walks. The death defying and lonely commute became an animated discussion or business meeting on the way to the studio. Our commute now enjoyed together. Incompetent coworkers and principals became employees of the month – every month. We really did hang an award on the wall of the studio too. Work hours got slashed by 50%. Evenings became filled with conversation, reading, and excitement over our tasty vittles. I can feel the excitement over the changes even now as I write and relive the lifting of the immense burdens of the past! Before we sleep, there is usually one more fit of giggles about some asinine thing we said or did. And night time now was filled with blissful, peaceful, complete, high-quality sleep – oblivion.
We wanted and got our time together back. And now that we have it, we clench it in our jaws like a rabid Tasmanian devil with a chip on its striped shoulder. And fun has returned screaming with vengeance.
We are together all day long and very happy about it. We are now excited about our lives and our future. How can that measure up to the ideal of noble? We put an end to wishing our days away!
Do you enjoy enough time with your partner? Please share in comments.
Photo by jDevaun