Saturday, August 25, 2007

The Accelerated Life

In case anyone doubts that my life has been a touch out of the ordinary thus far, let me recap. I was married nearly 10 years ago and am still married. Not very unique? Well then, consider WHO I got married to. I don’t know about you, but I think that makes me one DLD! (Downright Lucky Dude) LĂ©onie has had the patience to put up with me for a whole 10 years, and that is SOMETHING!

I went into the professional field of Speech and Language Pathology. Most people have no idea what that even means, but that’s okay. What’s different about it is that it is highly dominated by humans of the female persuasion; Even more so than teaching, nursing, and the like. I have no problem with that, as many competency components draw from some of my personal strengths. I have seen good success with clients across the whole range of the lifespan, from really tiny to very old. Plus, I don’t really mind women, so my colleagues and I get along just fine.

I moved to Central California. It’s hot, brown/yellow, and populated such that I am a ’visible minority.’ Don’t get me wrong here, I always have been and continue to be comfortable in a highly multicultural environment. But the location and climate?! If there is one thing consistent about people who grew up in British Columbia, it’s that anywhere they relocate to is a decided downgrade in beauty, and thus livability. I am no exception to this rule. However, here I still am!

Although I am only 33, I have already retired! Not from my career, mind you. But this week, I officially stepped down from being the Director of the Pathfinder Club after leading it for five years. Talk about a rapid growing experience. It was that, and a whole lot more. However, the time has come to re-focus my life on what really matters.

Another unique thing is that I RETIRED from gymnastics and acro-sport fully 15 years ago. The knees and other parts of my body told me emphatically that it was high time that I do so, and (for a change) I wisely listened to it. And yet, this week I logged over 12 hours in the gym at Gymnastics Beat! I worked out some, taught, spotted, and conducted leveling assessments. Aside from the expected sore muscles, though, it was trouble free. And I really, really enjoyed it!

Now, very little of what I’ve stated thus far has anything to do with the title, right? Yeah, I kind of gathered that. I may be old and get easily side tracked, but I’m not senile. (I hope) Besides the early retirements and the late resurrections of long dead ‘careers’, here is where the “accelerated life” comes into play.

Forty months ago, my household consisted of my wife…. And myself! (We’ll overlook the fish for the moment.) Fast forward 4 months, though, and we now had a 150lb boy and a cute little puppy with a funky name. This made for some really interesting times, but I do have a few warm fuzzy memories in spite of this period of dynamic learning.

Only 8 months later (28 months ago), the other shoe dropped. That was when we went up by 6 more kids and one more dog! Not only did that make for SEVEN children, but four of them were also already Teenagers! (and nary a diaper changed had I!) One is autistic/low functioning and requires a lot of energy as he is not self-automated. This was the beginning of the period that I call ‘shock and awe’, because I was perpetually in shock. And any time anybody asked me a question, all I could say was, “Aaaaaaaaw. (pbbbt)”

By the time December of that year came around, or 20 months ago, we were fully rounded out to our current complement of three ‘parents,’ seven kids, and THREE dogs! It’s all ho hum and status quo from then on, right? Well, not really. At present, I am still close to the experience of watching my father pass away. Never mind that he was fit, healthy, and loving life at the ripe age of 64 years young, he went away so quickly! And here I am, now with SIX teenagers and THREE college students!! Nobody is even in Elementary school anymore.

Today marked yet another new phase in life; one of me playing the part of an empt(ier) nester. James went off and left home to go to college out-of-state this morning. He is one of the few subtractions in a period of rapid additions. And, like losing my Dad, I’m beginning to really dislike these ‘subtractions’ from my life. … True, my boy will still be around from time to time, but this marks the beginning of yet another trend of inevitable shift; one where life will be punctuated by subtractions rather than additions. The result: Something is missing, and it just doesn’t feel right.

But I’m going to have to get used to the idea, and quickly, too. It cannot be changed, only accepted. (if never embraced). Such is my lot in this ACCELERATED LIFE.

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