Friday, April 29, 2011

What's Next?

A very open question with an unlimited number of possibilities.

Another week has just about been ticked of the calendar of life. Time is always moving forward and it is how you make use of this time that makes one's life interesting or not. I knew this past week was going fly by as I had something scheduled for each day. Work, therapy, and a many things like paying bills that just kept me busy.

"Busy" is good for me. It means my brain is busy hyper-focusing on what I should be doing and not sitting idle and thinking about other stuff. It is during the times where I have a few minutes to myself that the brain starts to wander and think about past events that have saddened me. That is when I go into the "I Should Have" or "I Could Have" thoughts and those are just nonproductive for me.

With that said...

Easter service was great! I took almost 500 photos and I got about 25-40 good shots with a handful including some panoramic shots that came out great! I sat in the same area as I did last year with my camera bag in the seat next to mine. I reserved the entire row for Ron and his family and Nuno even showed up this year.

After hugging much of my church family (there were approximately 1,100 people there) Nuno and I headed to my dad's house. My daughter had spent the weekend at her mom's house again and got dropped off just as the food was coming out of the oven.

My dad had called a few weeks ago and asked what my daughter was doing for Easter. It always bothers me that he doesn't ask me what I'm doing. I need to let that go of that resentment once and for all.

My dad's main form of entertainment is sitting around his big screen TV and channel surfing. So that is what we all did for most of the afternoon and headed home in the early evening.

As the clock struck midnight this Easter thoughts of how I spent it last year surfaced. I hoped that (K) had had a good day. I also hoped that whatever she did this holiday she at least spent a moment remembering last year and how special it was.

So what is next?

I have done a great deal of thinking about this. A few weeks ago there was a college fair at my daughter's school. An impressive 88 colleges were represented, mostly from the East Coast. I struck up a conversation with the dean of admissions at one of the local state schools and we briefly talked about my daughter and her goals. Then he shocked me and asked: "So what's next?" I wasn't sure what he meant at first and started re-explaining how my daughter was a Junior and still unsure of where she was going. He stopped me and said, "No Glenn, I mean WHAT'S NEXT FOR YOU?"

It is very rare that I am speechless because the people that know me, know I can ramble on about anything for hours. But every now and then it happens. I couldn't even wrap my mind around the concept of the question. I don't think he was selling me on a future college solution per say but being really genuine and asking me from one human to another.

What's Next?

Indeed! What is next!

This has lead my mind in a million different directions recently. I have a lot going for me, really I do. I have my house, a job, a good group of friends, church... the list goes on. But am I really happy? What is next?

While in my teens I was purely in survival mode. I lived for the basics - food and shelter. I received my street smarts during those years.

While in my early to mid 20's I established myself with some roots and an apartment. I experimented with a lot of things - drugs, alcohol, and yes, even women. My friend Carl reflects on these years as the years we lived like we were above the law, didn't have responsibilities, and had no fear of consequences of our actions or even of death itself. He once stated, "We are fortunate enough to not only be alive today, but to not be in prison for a very long time."

It was during these experimental years I met my daughter's mom and she got pregnant. That changed my life drastically.

I became a "weekend dad" and for the next 13 years I made it a priority to be there for my daughter each and every weekend. It wasn't easy leaving her at her mom's on Sunday nights. During her early years she would cry as I pulled away from her mom's house. I always tried to be the strong parent , letting her know that "daddy" would be back next week to pick her up and that I would call her during the week. The feeling of separation weighed greatly on me. I would myself be crying the minute I had turned the corner wishing she were still with me.

As she got older and progressed through grade school I stayed active in her school system's PTO - parent teacher organization but by middle school all weekday ties had been broken. She had fallen into a routine of living with her mom for the majority of the week and with me on the weekends. Her attendance, grades and attitude were all sliding in a downward spiral and I knew I had to do something before it was too late.

It wasn't until my daughter started high school did she come to live with me on a full time basis and attend a local school here in town. Her grades improved dramatically and with them her attitude towards school. She plans on going to college and living a fulfilling life of her own. :-)

So here I am today with a beautiful and brilliant daughter, a junior poised to take her SATs, attend college, and go on to live a life of her own. Will she keep in touch? Oh I'm sure. Will she see me during the holidays or other special events? Sure. But she will be on her own, and that is the reality of it.

Which brings me to that nagging question that seems to live in my head these days.

What's next?

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