Monday, January 23, 2006

Howz About a Little Loverboy?

Anyone remember that Loverboy song, Working for the Weekend? I'm sure everyone does. If your middle school or high school dances were anything like mine, you heard that song, Foreigner's I've Been Waiting for a Girl Like You, mixed in with a ton of Journey. Just thinking about it takes me back to a lighter, less-stressed time in my life when the world was before me.

Going back to the Working for the Weekend song and the mantra that it's become over the years, at this point in my life I'm asking: What for? If you're getting that, "This may be another one of those Rich's pity-party posts," feeling, score a bucket for you. Here's my regular workday schedule:

Monday: Up at 6:30-7:00 a.m. Work from 8-6. Eat. Clean Kitchen Wife's Bible Study, I watch the kids. Have kids work on piano and reading. "24." If I write, it's between 10-2.
Tuesday: Up at 6:30-7:00 a.m. Work from 8-6. Eat. Clean Kitchen. Have kids work on piano and reading. Basketball Night at Church (my one day of activity). If I write, it's between 10-2.

And to cut it short, that's essentially my work week. If I want to have a Bible Study, prayer time, write, blog (although I'll take time in the morning and lunch to shoot off a post), surf the Net, or in any other way unwind, it's all between 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. So, yeah, we're working, working, working for the weekend. And then the weekend comes.

Saturday: Kid's sports in the morning. Come home. It's cleaning day. And outside project day. Which is all very, very important stuff to my better and wiser half. Working with the kids on their reading and maybe doing a little something rough or outside with them. There's the eating and cleaning the kitchen. And then it may be time to file or work on finances. And until everyone else goes to sleep, which usually means 10 p.m., I can't/don't write or anything else.

Sunday: SS/Church takes up most of the morning. Because we've never finished all the cleaning or projects from the day before, we have to finish them on Sunday. Then, we work with the kids on piano and reading. At 5 p.m. I have a Men's Bible Study. From 6 - 7:30 p.m., I take the kids to AWANAs (and hip, hip, hurray, I write [handwritten in a notebook that will need to be typed out] while they're doing Cubbies and Sparks work). Get home, eat, clean the kitchen. And if I write any more or do anything else, it's between 10-2.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- --

Unlike my junior high dance hall days, the world's no longer before me. I'm flat in it and at times feel like it's drowning me. Sometimes when I think about this season of my life, I have to throw my hands up in the air and say "What is important about this?" And, of course, by "this" I mean "my mundane existence." My job is nice and it's great to have, but it isn't what my mind is necessarily on most of the time. My mind dwells, mainly, on whatever story I'm working on, or even other writing ideas. If I'm mowing the grass, usually I'm thinking about writing. If I'm putting stuff in the attic or cleaning out the garage or scrubbing the johns -- well, I probably have a lot of silent complaining going on but if not -- I'll let my head drift into thoughts of our (P&S) stories. At this point I should note that my wife looks at my writing as a hobby, and everything else -- the important stuff in life or the stuff that's GOT to get done -- come first. I have a lot of bitterness in my feelings toward her notion of this, but at the same time, it's for better or worse, and love is sacrificial. I've conceded and continue to concede to writing in the off-hours, which is what I've done.

And now that I'm getting older, those off hours are getting harder to work in, and I'm getting more and more stressed. A lot of the time I'm too tired to write -- and by golly I'm always too tired at those hours to pray or read the Bible, two things which are sure sleep potions -- so at times I drift into bad habits of either playing X-Box games or watching re-runs on TV. Which stresses me even more. And just as bad, I go into my job or walking around on weekends living and looking like a zombie, which doesn't seem far from the truth.

Part of my problem is that I need to take Colonel Hathi's (The Jungle Book) advice, "Discipline in the ranks!" Discipline is a tough thing for me overall. I'm not a structured person, and I'm definitely more spontaneous than plan-oriented (which is exactly what my wife is). I need to put some of this in play. But I still don't think that's going to do it. I can work for the weekends or for "my time" in the late hours, and I fear it's still not going to be enough. Maybe "What's enough?" is a question I need to be addressing. "Enough" right now would be nice three hour blocks of writing time at least three to four times a week when I'm not sticking toothpicks in my eyes to try to keep them open. And I don't see it.

So... my open question is: 1) Is this a season in life that will get better as my kids get older and aren't so dependent or 2) do I need to take additional steps to free time and if so what are those steps or 3) is it a lost cause at this point and just keep on doing the best I can (i.e Rich take your pity party somewhere else because we all got enough problems without trying to solve yours)? Also, is anyone else's life like this, or is everyone else pretty much hunky dory with at least enough time to do what you think you need/want to do? I'd really like to know.

I read once, and I'm parapharsing here, where I think it was Martin Luther (but it could have been another Christian giant of the past) once said that he spent the first four hours of the day in prayer because he didn't have enough time not to. Boy, I wish I had that mindset, but I look at that with my work schedule and think: I'd have to wake up at 3 a.m. which would, if I wrote until 2 a.m. mean one hour of sleep a night. Hmm. Not to much different than what I'm doing now, but I still don't think that's going to work. But I've got to find something that does so that I at least think that I'm fulfilling a part of God's purpose for having me here on earth. Call me a fool, jerk, or worse, but being a "decent" (which I don't make that) husband, father, and employee just isn't enough. Anyway, God grant me, a fool, wisdom. I'm asking.

As always, if nothing else, thanks for listening. Oh yeah, and for anyone I hooked with the "Loverboy" title, shame, shame, shame on you.


codepoke said...

The Loverboy title and image almost ran me off!

Brother, I don't have anything wise to say to you, but I hear the hurt. I've been there, all the way.

What makes it bad and worse is knowing as I read your stuff that you have the gift in spades. The couple things you guys have released out here are creative and very, very fun to read.

My dream contributed to my divorce. Whether 2% or 20% I don't know, but it played a part. You know my dream, and when I fill in the gap that somewhere along the way my wife quit calling herself a Christian, you can see the problem. I'm sure you can tell that our cases are not parallel, but honesty compelled me to say it out loud.

As good news, I can offer the fact that it DOES get better as the kids get older. A time is coming in your life when free time will seem to appear as if by magic. It will never be enough time, but honest-to-goodness free time is out there just waiting to be had.

Hang on!

P&S said...

As you know, I feel you Bra'.