Sunday, February 18, 2018
2018 Time Stamp #1
I used to show off my positive energy on social media, boast to friends and acquaintances about my family and lifestyle, and thereby feel a sense of pride and justification of living in the moment. It pleased my wife to have a public presence, and it motivated us to do more and be more. And yet, I felt a deep void. Many of my former friends, and those currently friends, who had much less fortunate lives than I envied me. As my younger brother put it in his speech dedicated to me in my wedding ceremony, "He was always the smarter one and managed to always get what he wanted. Whatever he set his mind to, he obtained."
I stopped social media because it was too easy to make the underdogs feel bad, and I found myself wasting time justifying the various forms of feedback. Perhaps one day I'll start up again, but only when the need for promotion of a worthy ideal exceeds the resulting negative feedback.
December 27, 2017, I luckily chose one of the finest days to climb Mt. Tsukuba. It was more invigorating than my trip to Okinawa or my trip to China, although perhaps slightly less than my trip to Bali.
My sister-in-law's wedding took place in the middle of a violent typhoon. October 21, 2017, it was a wedding in tight quarters, with the wind whistling outside.
And yet, the day after the wedding, the beautiful Okinawa weather returned. It baffles me how some people are so unlucky. And yet, sometimes I admire her guts. In times like her wedding, when she really wants something, she will defy the forces of nature. Even as the peak of the typhoon lands on the day of her wedding, there are too many guests for the arrangement, her youngest autistic son screams bloody murder down the halls, and her mother-in-law to-be has an emotional breakdown, she forces the wedding through despite.
I have no words.
My brother's wedding happened 2 months prior to my in-law's, on August 19, 2017. The whole arrangement was stressful as well. What can one expect? I guess. Glamorous as can be--too much food and drink, too much space, too many sets, and too much formality. The contrast between my brother's and in-law's weddings was night and day.
To summarize 2017, it was a fucking roller coaster ride. My wife and I underwent the bumpiest year of parental struggles with our two older boys. My mental resolve was tried and tested more than ever before. My wife had countless emotional breakdowns, and it became impossible for me to maintain grip on all the facets of my life.
As I sit here on a Monday morning at nearly 11:00, I find myself questioning the meaning of my existence, when it was just a few months ago that I was so close to quitting my job to tend to the demands of my family. The problems are just as prevalent as always, but they're being maintained because I've been regularly taking time off to deal with the issues.
I question my existence because I've chosen to ignore social pressures to demand that my wife care for our kids while I focus on work. Instead, I've agreed to pick up increasingly more of the housework and care of our children. What was once straightforward has now become intrinsically complicated.
Amidst this complex mix of life struggles and demands, I need to remind myself of my truly fortunate set of circumstances, and that perhaps I'm stressing myself out needlessly.