The beers were taller than some of the waitresses. The mugs sweated like the kitchen help. The underground bar doubled as a Mexican eatery and was the perfect place for a couple of incognito pseudo-celebs to hide out. There was a bartender we called "The Vortex." She had long blonde hair and tats in all the right places. In spite of our chastity, such as it was, once we were sucked into The Vortex, we couldn't look away. Even our gay friends admitted The Vortex was an energy-sucking force that couldn't be battled.
It was in this place that I often fell into a hops-fueled lament. It usually began with the same line.
"What are we doing with our lives?" I would ask. It wasn't rhetorical. I really wanted to know. Back in those days, my navel-gazing become the subject of many a joke. I was an introspective, extrapolating drunk fool.
In those days, I was patently not satisfied with my life. I was wrapped up in professional concerns and wrapped up in the idea that I should be accomplishing something--anything--with my life.
Funny thing about the passage of time. I haven't asked that "what are we doing" question in a long, long time. Oddly enough, as much as I disliked that old Otis, I'm actually worried that I'm not paying enough attention to my goals anymore. I'm actually quite content with most things in my life right now. I feel, in a word, complacent.
My babies, I think, have a lot to do with that. These days, I think more about the well-being of my wife, kid, and dog than I do where I'm going with my life. That said, I'm absolutely horrible at showing how much I care about them. I know my wife could use a little more adult time with me. I know my kid would benefit from a little more daddy time. I know my dog could use a few more walks.
Thing is, my sense of complacency with my own life trickles down to my belief that if I'm content, well, everybody else should be, too. I get the sense that I'm wrong about that.
There is a lot that goes into making people happy. Take tonight, for instance. Tonight, a couple of buddies would like to have a few beers and invited me along. Of course, I like my buddies and would like to have a few beers. What's more, despite my relative dislike for myself, I like to think I'm good company and they would enjoy having me there. However, if I go, I know I'd be leaving the wife, kid, and dog behind. Moreover, I spent four nights last week doing things with my buddies and generally stroking my own needs.
So, the formula that goes into meta-happiness is one of balance. Just like my wife wouldn't expect me to stay home every night (or, me, her), I should understand that I shouldn't even bother considering going out for beers or poker this week.
That's easy to say, of course, but harder to employ. As a husband, I suppose I often take my perfect little life for granted. It's hard for any husband to explain that the desire to do husband-fun stuff doesn't translate to wanting to avoid home. That is, I would like to go have beers tonight, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to be at home.
In truth, parenthood has contributed a lot to this issue. Back in the pre-L'il Otis days, Mrs. Otis was a welcome, if not preferred, member of the Otis bar and party circuit. Now, if one of us wants to go out, it usually requires one of us stay home. I'll be the first to admit, I get a majority of the fun around here.
Fortunately, the Mrs. and I are learning to discuss these things in a rational manner. Where, in the past, we had concerts, parties, and work in common, now we have a kid, a home, and a business in common. We're seeking out new things that we enjoy. For instance, we've started up an occasional SCRABBLE match that mixes up my need for competition with her inhuman grasp of the English language. Note: while I took the last two games, I'm still smarting from her hitting "azure" on a triple-word score and double letter score on the "z."
It's all just a new chaper of growing up, I guess. I'm trying to think back to my parents when they were my age. I'm trying to remember how they had fun. I remember my dad played on a softball team and we went to a lot of games as a family. I remember my parents and their friends had a goodly amount of get-togethers. There were also a lot of camping trips.
Looking back at this post, I realize I've just subjected everyone to a brain dump as opposed to a nice story or anecdote. Not sure how that happened. Not sure I should even hit publish. But, I will. Because, as I've said for the past five years on this thing, all I'm doing here is publishing my diary for the world. This is not my money blog. This is is just...well, what it is.
Oh, and what it is today is also a shameless photo album of the two little love-bombs in the house.