My American Dream
Many years ago on some random weekend during my time as a Californian, I found myself sitting on the diving board of some random SoCal residence having a beer induced conversation with a gentleman that I consider my brother. At this point in time (some 12 or 13 years later), I have no clue how we got on this conversational topic or even what the rest of the conversation was about. But one portion of the conversation has stuck with me over the years. Maybe it is because of the topic, maybe it is because of how close to my heart that topic was. I frankly have no clue at this point why it stuck with me, just that it had stuck with me.
I was in my early 20’s when I was stationed in California. Already more than two years into my first enlistment when I picked orders to the World Famous Wallbangers be with a friend from my time in Pensacola. I mention how old I was because I drank a lot then. We all seemed too. Likely like those in college at the same age do. Never for a particular reason. Most often just to blow off steam and have fun. I had a fantastic group of friends then, they were more than friends, they were my family. I still talk to most of them. Most of us have moved on to new things and new places. But we still talk when we can and it is always a relief to hear from some of them.
My last paragraph took me slightly off of my original point. It was more of a backstory and random tangent. While it adds to the original intent of this post, I could easily have continued without it. So back to the random pool, back to the diving board. I have a tendency to either play the piano or become philosophical when drinking and on this occasion, I am pretty sure I did both but the aspect I’m referring to is my hopeful look into what I wanted in my future. While I do not remember the exact word for word conversation I had, I do know what I was talking about because for a long time, those hopes persisted in my mind.
I wanted what I have always called my American Dream. I wanted a family. I wanted a wife. I wanted children. I wanted a home and land that belonged to me. These things I could call mine. That is what I wanted. For 2160 days (186,624,000 seconds, 3,110,400 minutes, 51,840 hours, 2160 days, 308 weeks and 4 days if you want a different way of counting) I thought I had my American Dream. It did not come all at once, but one by one I checked off things from my mental checklist. Man, I had them all. My list was complete. I had a wife. I had kids. I had a home with a little patch of land that I could call my own. Even had a bonus dog that I added to my list. That was then.
My American Dream imploded. I do not particularly feel like going into the reasons it imploded. It is rather irrelevant to what I am writing at the moment and I am also in a good mood so I would like to keep it that way. I no longer have a wife. She has moved on. My house is for sale. I do not see my kids nearly as must as I wish I could. The dog went with my ex-wife since he was a present to her when he was a puppy. Other than my children I am pretty much back at square one. The things that I focused on achieving for so many years is not what matters to me anymore. In many ways, I am not sure it really mattered anyway. You can see things so much differently after they happen and after age brings with it a little bit of wisdom, things change.
I want three things now. I want my kids to be happy. I want a safe place for them to live. I wanted to be happy. That is it, ladies and gentleman. That is all I want. Right now I have that. I might not own a home that I live in, but I live in a place that is safe for my kids. I am doing everything in my power to make my kids happy. That last thing I need (and I am making good progress on) is being happy myself. It takes some effort to climb back from what was basically rock bottom. But step by step I will get there. Mainly I need to figure out what things, aside from my children, will make me happy. Many of the things I thought made me happy before, really do not have the same appeal to me anymore. I do not really know of some of the things ever will again.
So. There you go. A short trip down memory lane and I shared my feelings with you. Hopefully the time you took to read this was worth it. I cannot promise life lessons or empirical wisdom. What I can promise my readers is honesty in my writing. I want to share my life experiences, whether it be with PTSD or something like what I have written today, with anyone who will take the time to read it. If something I have lived through and what I write helps even one person than I do not feel like I am wasting my time. Either way, I will continue to write because this is the easiest way to get things to stop floating around inside my thick head.