Do You Scream At The Top Of Your Lungs?
There were many years while raising children that it felt like all I did was work and then come home and do kids. Not that there is anything wrong with that. There just was not a whole lot more to life than that.
After the kids went to bed and my better half and I were winding down, we would talk some and perhaps watch T.V. Often, I’d have a couple of glasses of wine or beer. Hopefully after that we’d have a little ‘relations’. Likely not as we were both exhausted.
The weekends were spent cleaning and spending time with the children and usually drinking in the evening. We rarely got away unless we took a ‘vacation’ to a relative’s home. It was very disenchanting overall.
At one point, I decided that I was not happy and it created many problems between her and I. Why? I shouldn’t have been. I was 33 and we had what we wanted; a house with a pool, several cars, a good neighborhood, happy and healthy children, a family that loved us. What more to life is there?
I began to drink more heavily. We separated, and then I got a nearby apartment. I continued to spend a lot of time with the children while we were trying to work out our issues. I just knew I was not happy.
My apartment was small but nice, on a small lake, and right next to the community pool and rec center. I would often walk around the lake or swim, contemplating why I was so unhappy. Was I depressed? Not really. Was I healthy? Yes very. I just felt complete discontent.
On one of my late-night walks, I met my neighbor Joe. He was sitting on his porch, smoking a cigar, drinking a beer, and playing guitar. He invited me over and we hit it off. On Friday evenings, we would often sit and talk, joke, laugh, drink, and I would listen to him play. I found a lot of enjoyment in that, but during the week I did not feel the same way.
One Friday evening I asked Joe to show me a few things on the guitar and asked if I could borrow his guitar for a couple of days as he had several of them. He agreed. The next day I went out and bought a couple of guitar chord books and I spent every evening that week learning chords. The following weekend when we got together, I brought the guitar and he was playing ‘Free Bird’ by Lynyrd Skynyrd on one of his other guitars. I asked him to call out the chords as he played them. He was amazed that after one week I could play along with him!
I found that I was a very natural guitar player. Now mind you I come from a very musical family and played the violin as a kid. I also took a few piano and drum lessons. In the weeks that followed, I began writing my own music. Eventually I formed a band that was decent and saw some success.
What I learned from this is that I did not have an outlet. I always loved to write years before but I stopped. I was always so busy. My mind was always cluttered with ‘stuff’ and I didn’t have a chance or make the time to clear it and express myself. Eventually that stuff came out in negative ways.
I don’t claim to be perfect today. Many things have happened in my life since then, but those are writings for another time. TODAY I am trying to ensure that I have an outlet. I write (this blog) and play my guitar. I am more mindful than ever. I am taking time to be respectful to myself and my sanity. If I don’t, who am I good for?
What is your outlet?
P.S. As always, please feel free to reach out to me directly if you have any questions.