I grew up in what I’d guess you’d call a pretty normal family. We lived in a smaller town about a half-hour outside the city. I was the youngest of three brothers. We were pretty close in age, and did all the things guys do … played sports all the time, went fishing, and went hunting in the woods with our BB guns. Dad worked in an auto plant and Mom had a part-time job at a store. I got out of high school, went to college, and got what I thought was a decent job.
Jenny and I got married when we were both 24. She went to high school in the next town, and we would see each other at games and such. I knew some of her friends and she knew some of mine, so I guess we were destined to get together. We’ve got two girls — one just started high school and the other is in middle school. Pretty normal life, I guess.
I don’t know when I started feeling like something wasn’t right, but I guess it’s been a while. Look, my job’s okay. I don’t love it, but I don’t hate going into work, either. My marriage … I guess that’s okay, too. Maybe it could be better, but I don’t know anyone who’s been married this long where there aren’t some problems. And I love our girls, but they don’t seem to need Dad quite as much as they did a few years ago. I get along with the guys at work, but we don’t hang out or anything, you know? My friends are all kind of scattered these days.
Maybe it all came to a head after Dad died. I spent a lot of time looking at his life, and then I started looking at mine. I’m in my 40s … and I know everyone says life goes fast, but that’s really true. So I started wondering if this is all there is to life? I mean, what’s the point? Am I just going to keep on working for 20 more years and then sit on the couch? I can’t remember the last time Jenny and I had fun together.
No, I don’t have a bad life. I guess I just feel kind of, you know, stuck. Like is this as good as it gets? I don’t feel like I’m really accomplishing anything. I’ve tried to discuss it with Jenny, but she doesn’t understand. I talked to a friend who’s a pastor, and he suggested I talk with a counselor. I told him I wasn’t crazy or anything, and he laughed and said that crazy people don’t see counselors. Sane people who want to stay that way do. He gave me the name of a guy, and I made an appointment. It was pretty awkward at first … I’m not used to talking about how I feel … but this guy did a good job of getting me to talk. Our sessions feel like I’m talking to a friend.
Do I have the answers yet? No, but I’m understanding more. I’m learning that thinking about me and what I want isn’t selfish. It’s healthy. And he’s helping me talk with Jenny about some things that have been hard to say. I feel like I’m starting to put it all together, and I wish I had done this years ago.
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