It’s snowing out right now. Fat flakes are blanketing the ground, muffling the sound of whooshing cars and buses. I’ve got that fuzzy glow one gets from awaking from a nap. There is coffee at my side, and I’m listening to some gentle music. I am alone in the house and taking in my breathing, the sound of clicks on the keyboard, the heat coming from my mug. I have to leave for work soon. My bike sits outside ready for duty.
My body is sore. More than normal. My legs feel like refrigerator doors. I now have tendonitis in both my elbows, which makes shaking hands or even using my phone or computer mouse painful. My IT band and lower back are strained. Knees protest at most activities. I am still weak and dizzy at times. I have had to cut runs short. Or cancel them. But I am healthy nonetheless. My dad is halfway through radiation, so who am I to complain about some dents in my armour?
I am 44 years old. Sure, sometimes feel like I’m 75 – world weary, creaky and crusty. Other times I feel like a child – ebullient, naive, vulnerable, spellbound by simple things. I chomp kid’s cereal at the grownup’s table in many ways. I am no better nor any worse than anyone else. I do my best to remind myself that I am no more important than the man beside me on the bus who has wet himself. I am no less important that the actress who wins accolades from millions of adoring fans. My judging mind likes to tell me otherwise, but deep down, stripped to the bones of our existence, we are the same.
I write a blog. I connect with others, as much as my introverted nature will allow me to do so. I do this recovery thing. I do this running thing. I do this parenthood thing. Some folks have loftier goals and more ambitious lives. That’s fine. It’s not for me. They don’t have my kids. Or my aches and pain. Or this coffee I’m slurping. Those things are mine to wear and take pleasure in, and I am glad to wear them as my offering to He who has given me this life.
And what of these digital doodles I scribble here? I have been somewhat reflective in where I’ve been and where I’d like to go, both in my life in general and here, distilled, in the blog. Many of the bloggers that I admire started out with recovery at top of mind, chronicling their own journeys, and have now shifted to a wider canvas, a broader frame of reference. Recovery is a muted but essential tone in their stories but often out of sight. Tales of parenthood, work life, family, pain and pleasure, life’s follies, etc. are front and center. And I think that’s important. I know because that’s the shift I have been moved to follow, but resisted for some time. That motion to go forward only gains momentum from within.
Many astute and wise readers have commented on the more general nature of the blog lately. Many of those not in recovery have graced these pages and have helped shaped some of my opinions and outlook on many topics. And I believe that this journey I am on is not so much of a man in recovery, but of a human on a healing path. I can see now that recovery from alcoholism was the catalyst for my voyage. It’s not the whole deal. Life is the deal, and how I respond to it. I am recovered so that I may discover life again in a whole and vital way. To enjoy and give back to. To learn. It’s my choice whether I decide to make that trek or not.
As I nestle into this new way of living, I have to remember what got me here. I honour the steps that have brought me here, and I also honour the tradition of passing it on to others. I also understand that I am also showing by example, and that even when no one is in the room, I comport myself in a way that brings me peace at the end of the day. I don’t always succeed, as I am a creature after all, but I learn from my errors. As we all do. We are perfectly imperfect.
So where does this lead me? I don’t know. I have no hook for this post, no real epiphany to hang my hat on. And that’s fine. This blog, something that I cherish and at the same time try not to cherish at all, is just a place to reflect. I have no answers, I just seek. I am often blind to what’s in front of me, and writing it out sometimes removed a layer of haze from my vision. Commentary is often where I find some truth, and for that I thank everyone who contributes here.
You might see some changes here. Or not. I haven’t decided. Something calls me to action, but it’s a vague notion at the moment. I do feel the need to open up the windows for a breath of fresh air, toss the pasta on the wall and see what sticks. We are meant for growth, and in the past I raged against it. Growth meant change and change never suited me. It meant getting out of my comfort zone. And it’s only when I leave that bubble do things happen.
In the end, this space is about sifting through those bones of my existence, to make sense of things, to demarcate light and dark. It’s not for everyone, and perhaps folks are here to bear witness, but again, I am okay with that now. I no longer need to dig for external validation. I see the snow falling and I know things are well. When I see my kids laughing and running about, I know things are well. Validation can only come from within. That I know, even if I struggle with it daily. But I know it to be my truth. I know it my bones.
Let us sift, my friends.