The past week as been therapy for the soul. Kate, Max and I have made the trek up to Bolton Landing, NY and have been re-finding ourselves on Lake George as I have throughout my life…and will for as long as my lungs draw breath. I’ve come to realize there is (maybe was) a disconnect between my mind and my body as well as my fantasy and reality.
Go look in the mirror right now and ask yourself this simple complicated question: “Who am I?” Don’t over think it…just answer with the first response that comes to you. For me…it was all wrong. My answer was, “I’m this brain right here (pointing to my head) that controls this body (motioning to the rest of me). That’s such a terrible and scary thought…that I’m just some grey matter barking commands at a 6’4” command module equipped with legs, arms, vocal chords, and bodily functions. What happened to my heart? What about my soul? What about me?
If I am some robot controlled by synapses and nerves then surely the waters of Lake George have triggered the reset button. Before coming here my friend and acupuncturist asked me, “When’s the last time you noticed your feet?” I thought it was such a stupid question. Then…I started thinking about my feet…a lot. Feet are weird. They are what connects us to the ground, and at 6’4″ tall they are a long way away from my brain. Right now my feet are dangling slightly from the leg of a stool…and I feel them longing to have blades of grass crunching beneath them! They paddle through water, chase nephews around couches in games of tag, and are the first to slide into bed at the end of the day.
Between my feet and my brain is a bunch of stuff that likes things too. My legs like to run off the end of the dock, my shoulders love the feel of sun on them, my chest adores it when Max naps on it while we sway in the hammock, my arms love to hug my wife Kate, and my hands look forward to every chance they get to gently run their fingers through my son Max’s soft blonde hair. My ears are listening to a momma duck swimming 15 feet from me with her 4 ducklings while my nephew plays soccer in the yard with my son. Birds chirp, crickets hum, frogs hop, and constantly the water of Lake George laps at the shore setting the tone that everything is good in the world. Light spills through the trees and onto the porch, the backdrop a stunning lake surrounded my rolling Adirondack Mountains.
I have a brain but I am not just a brain. I have a whole “me” that I have forgotten to engage in my daily life. It’s too easy to get stuck in my head and just hang out there in the safety of its constant thoughts. Except…the thoughts are constant…constant…fantastical…boring…everything. Engaging my body…my “me” has rescued me from my brain like Rapunzel trapped in her tower. Brain! Brain! Let down your hair! “Okay feet.”
When we are kids we all dream big! “What do you want to be when you grow up Timmy?” Timmy enthusiastically replies, “An astronaut!” Or maybe its a firefighter, or the President, or a filmmaker. They don’t usually say “A Marketing Director for a retail company!” How do you respond? “Ooooo a Marketing Director for a retail company you say! Wow! Will you live in some amazing place like New York City?” Timmy shakes his head no, “Nope! In Wichita, KS!”
No…I never dreamed of living in Wichita, KS and working as a Marketing Director for a retail company…but that is what I do and where I live. I didn’t end up there because someone held a gun to my head and made me. No, I chose it…dove into it happily like I dive into the lake here on hot days! After years of working in the film and television industry it sounded like an amazing new opportunity (and it was and still is). No more freelancing! No more unsteady paychecks! No more uncertainty! However, the fantasy and the reality were at conflict and thus…”So Long Freedom?”
It’s not uncommon to fantasize that something will be fantastical only to find out you hate it. Luckily I don’t hate my job but in my fantasies I left out all the responsibilities, hard work, and details. It’s actually exactly why I started writing about Max and created this blog. When I found out I was going to be a dad I envisioned myself playing basketball, going for bike rides, swimming, etc. All the things I’m doing now…I forgot that there would be sleepless nights, teething, vaccinations, colds, learning to walk, and other developments to get here. I fantasized the end game and (as any movie maker would write) turned the hard stuff into a montage.
The reality is there is only a montage after you’ve lived it…and we’re all living it. Fantasy is great! It is what sets your dreams in motion…but reality is what you do to make your dreams come true…and they don’t happen in seconds to up-tempo music like in the movies. It takes years…maybe a lifetime. That’s scary. That’s life.
MY BODY IN REALITY
It’s easy to engage your body on vacation…that is what vacation is for. Engaging it while living in reality is tougher and what I am realizing is: that is the road ahead of me…and it isn’t a road with an end…its just a road. I haven’t given up on my dreams nor have my fantasies failed…I’m just slogging it out in the trenches right now…like the rest of us. I really like my job…but its hard and requires a lot of responsibility. My family is depending on me. Right now, I’m going to go live out one of my fantasies and go swim with my son, or as he calls it “splash-splash!” I’m going to soak up every last second of vacation I can because I’m living in one of my fantasies right now! The one where my son is old enough to play with me, go for boat rides, talk to me, and enjoy one of my most favorite places on Earth, Bolton Landing. This is home. No matter how many times we move…this always feels like home…though my heart always reminds me that home is wherever Kate and Max are. Wherever home is – its good to be home.
I’ve got to admit it’s getting better (Better)
A little better all the time (It can’t get no worse)
I have to admit it’s getting better (Better)
It’s getting better
Since you’ve been mine
-The Beatles (1967)