The Birdhouse

“Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Life is a mother fucker sometimes. I have no idea what I’m doing. And I think that’s one of the points. We learn and we grow. We fuck up, we fail. We succeed. We repeat. I saw a meme some where recently, that said something like, “When we’re kids we don’t realize that as our parents are watching us grow up- we’re watching them grow up too.” Something like that. Makes a lot of sense to me. I am 34 years old, going on 65 and concurrently going on 19. Weird concept. Most days I haven’t the foggiest idea what I’m doing, or where the day will take me. I just know that going backwards is not an option anymore and using drugs will not help anything one bit. A lot of random thoughts going in to this one, and it’s weird because when I sat down to write this one, I had a target. Delete? No, keep going. It will flow out eventually. Thanks for hanging in there with me. This is Catharsis.

When I first got clean, I had all these ideas. Nothing tremendously profound. Just ideas. Of what my life would or should look like. What certain milestones, holidays, or moments would feel like. I would day dream and imagine these places that I would go, and the feels that I would feel. I guess we call these types of thoughts, Designs. Truth be told, I don’t think I could reasonably design a birdhouse and it come out right. But the difference today, is that I am willing to put in the work to do it. To build the bird house that is. I am not perfectly good or perfectly bad. Neither are you. We just are what we are. And though I have never built a birdhouse before, if it came down to it, I would Google, YouTube, ask for help, put it together, take it apart, as many times as I had to in order to come out with the end result of having a little home for out feathered friends to enjoy, and for my family to enjoy having in the yard some where.

This dudes really blogging about how he can’t build a birdhouse. WTF? Next!

I write exactly how I think. In real time. This shit is not rehearsed. I am trying to make a point here, and Ill get there. But the Idea here, is the birdhouse is a metaphor I guess. For the end result. The life. The goal. The happiness from the quote above.

Why do you think that it is one of the most famous quotes ever written and it says the PURSUIT of happiness? Not happiness it self? I have been thinking about this recently. And to be honest, I have been thinking about this because I have really been struggling with some serious depression like symptoms. And I bring it up to people and they almost 100% of the time say, But Herb, what the hell do you have to be depressed ABOUT? That makes me snicker. I don’t think that anyone out there is ever depressed about something. And, yes, I am doing much better now thank you. I talked with my wife, who is without a doubt my number 1. My super hero, my confidant. God I wish I could be more like her. I envy her strength and mental toughness, rationale, and internal fortitude. I am the weak one. And I have Prayed a LOT. I have spent my last days, as I work from home and do my best to assist in the homely duties, really blasting praise music and in prayer and meditation which are big parts of my life and recovery. And I have talked with others and really leaned on my relationships. And writing helps. But anyways, back from that thought, I have absolutely NOTHING to be depressed about. I have much to stress about, but as my daily motivation app reminded me of today- “Do not stress about things that are out of your control.” Funny that I needed an app to remind me of that huh? Isn’t that day one stuff? The serenity prayer and all. But anyways. Building a birdhouse…

When I first got clean, and as life continued to chug along, I always had these milestones, these goals, and these aspirations for myself, my wife, my children, my family, and our lives together. Goals are good. Milestones are good. Hopes and aspirations are good things. And being vulnerably honest here, going all the way back to the beginning, and even recently, as I tend to lose focus from time to time of what’s really important; I have foolishly thought that, “If I/we can just get Here________ then things will be good. And then If we get here_________ then we will be great. But, God willing, if we can really do this thing__________ then all will really be awesome.” Dude, that’s addiction talking man. That is fucking drug addict thinking. I mean, in a way it is. Is that not one of the ways that our addiction manifests itself? Exterior solutions to internal conflicts? I think so. A great job, a beautiful wife, wonderful family, our very first home purchase on the horizon, and I fall into a big time emotional and mental slump because it doesn’t give me some hit the lottery/cocaine type rush. TF is wrong with me? But I’m really starting to learn some things as I grow older and older. The pursuit of the happiness is the happiness. The building of the birdhouse is the birdhouse. It’s the time invested in yourself and in your families and relationships, and in ourselves that matters. The journey is the destination. Everything else is just fucking stuff. Wow. And I know that some people may read this and have a lot of mixed feelings about it, but its true. Milestones in recovery, Milestones in careers, and in life are fantastic things. But its the miles that make the person. We are not ever defined by these things that we achieve. Were defined by the work it took to do so. Were defined by the relationships we formed and nurtured along the way. Were defined by how we persevere in the face of adversity and the turbulence of life. Holy shit. It’s true.

And what this last several weeks, maybe even months I don’t know, Has brought to my attention, placed on my heart and put on my fucked up brain is something that I have been quoted saying myself before: There is no Chemical, there is no Material, there is no exterior solution to a/an Spiritual, Internal, Mental, Emotional problem or conflict. It is really crazy to me how much we can learn, unlearn, and relearn the same shit over and over for the rest of our lives.

Yes. Today I am a VERY proud, happy, loved, driven, husband, father, writer, career driven, Christian, recovering person. But sometimes, in the midst of all the drive, and chaos, and life, growth, and work, and media, and people, and places, and gas stations, and TV, and laundry, bills, emotions, arguments, and everything that happens throughout our day to day lives- all of which is specific to us individually, I can forget-

I prayed for this.

This journey. This Pursuit. This riggamaroll. This marathon that I am on. IS THE DESTINATION.

Sometimes I think as humans, at least for me, that we compete with ourselves too much. And that creates pressure, and pressure brings stress, and for me personally, stress brings depression. And I white knuckle all these things that life brings, even the good stress, so much that when the storm passes, I have exhausted my emotional battery and am not able to enjoy the sunny skies and the rainbow afterwards. Anyone else experience this? Just me? Word.

Son of’a bitch, Everything is real. The good is real. The bad is real. The blah is real. the bills are real. The emotions are real. The kids are real. the house is real. the wife is real. the responsibility is real. The dogs, the oil changes, the snow, and fucking mortgage process… all of it is real. And it is the journey. It is the destination. It is the pursuit of happiness.

And once in a while, we get those, what my wife and I call “Lochloosa” Moments…

(Please, Listen to the Live version, of Lochloosa by JJ Grey and Mofro and youll understand)

In my line of work, my phone rings a lot. Like a whole damn lot. And though it is a beautiful thing to be able to assist those who are in need of help and relief from the disease of addiction, sometimes it can take a toll on me. Emotionally and mentally. There are days, when My Wife will return from her job and I wont want to talk at all. I mean at all, because my face and jaw, and my mind and emotional battery are just so tired. And thank God she understands, She has even helped me set time boundaries for myself to help me find rest in between all the craziness. And I am not exaggerating about the craziness- ask her, I swear on multiple occasions I have sat up in a dead ass sleep and answered my phone in a dream. It’s crazy. I used to have server dreams too, when I was waiting tables alot, and they were never fucking good- I was always in the weeds in them. But I digress.

What I’m getting at here, is that so often, I, and I am sure you too, will be so caught up in all of the work stuff, and then the family stuff and all of the ‘Real’ shit that I went over before, and it can be so overwhelming. I have never felt the pressure and stress that I have been feeling over this damn house ever before. And though it is “Good” stress, stress is stress, and I am a drug addict and the problem with that formula is that I am an addict and addiction is not about drugs, its about escape and if I am not careful I can and will return to the behaviours that brought me to my knees and I can very easily blow the whole fucking thing over something so fucking trivial as stress. Man, I wish you could have seen how fast I just typed that. Literally at the speed of thought. PHEW.

BREATHE, HERB.

We get so caught up in the world. The world. The physical. Yes, people are nice. Things are nice. Family is nice. Dogs are super nice. Progress is good. Working is good. Homes are beautiful. Nature is wonderful. All of the things that we see and experience throughout our days make up who we are in some aspect. But If I am not continuously working on my own personal growth and development, And learning to enjoy the journey as the destination- Then I can miss the climb.

But what’s nice about it all. Is that once in a while, something comes through. In my job, we have a saying, “Enjoy the silence when it comes.” And I believe that that also applies to life. Maybe the silence is a nice meal with our families, or a long walk with the dogs, maybe the silence is watching a documentary with the wife. Or going for a drive listening to music and getting dunkin. Whatever your silence is, that’s your Lochloosa. Your happy place, your mediation spot. A healthy and peaceful head space where you can find your rest. And that is part of the journey too. it’s not always about The rickedy and shakey climb up to the top of the roller coaster, waiting for the arms in the air screaming exhilaration of the drop and all the wild fun, sometimes its the fucking lazy river. That sweet spot. Just enjoying the journey and the marathon, finding a safe and brief plateau to just recharge the old bones.

I could write on this all damn day long, but I have some actual work to do today.

I guess what I am getting at, is that, Money burns, Houses will eventually crumble, Stuff is just stuff, Cars break down, and shoes really are a dime a dozen. We cant take any of that stuff with us when we go, so why do we put so much importance on it now? All of that “Stuff” Is just fucking turd polish anyways, If I am not working on myself on the inside and doing my best to help my family and friends thrive and feel loved. None of it matters. What matters is the pursuit. The journey, and the memories we make along the way. I have absolutely no Idea how to build a birdhouse, but if the kids and the wife wanna build one, we will find a way. because the construction of the bird house, the time we spend together, THE MEMORY OF BUILDING the birdhouse is what we will remember when we look outside and see a family of Robins making nest inside. Not the house itself, but the memories that went into it…..

 

Enjoy the ride.

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