Ok. I’m going to be upfront with you now. This one probably isn’t going to be the usual laugh-riot that you’re used to from me on Mondays; but just hear me out before you go running for Drew’s or Ed’s newest cartoon.
I just got back from my honeymoon at Disney World in Florida, and I had 18 different column ideas about the trip. I was going to rant and rave about how much I hate flying, the long lines we experienced every day at the theme parks, and how bad the humidity was in Orlando in November; but none of it felt quite right.
I try to keep these columns light and (hopefully) somewhat humorous to start your week off with a smile. But more important than trying to be funny, at the end of the day I’m just writing about the nuances of this life that we’re all living.
I couldn’t escape one of those nuances this past week.
Last Tuesday my parents (who live in Virginia) drove to my Wife’s parents (who live in Atlanta) and they all drove to Orlando on Wednesday to spend Thanksgiving Day with my Wife and I on Thursday (got that?).
I know it might sound crazy that we invited our parents down for part of our honeymoon, but there were some external factors at play in this particular situation. (1) We got married in August. If we had gotten married last weekend, I don’t think we would have wanted to see anyone this past week, but three months in, we’re already marriage pros so it wasn’t as big of a deal. (2) Now that we live in Denver, we only get to see our families a few times a year, so we’re going to try to make it work whenever it’s humanly possible.
Besides, it would have felt bizarre to be alone on Thanksgiving Day (it was already strange enough that I was wearing shorts the whole week).
It was that second point that has really hit home for me over the past few days. I love my parents. I miss them dearly but for some reason, I knew I had to leave Virginia when I did last January.
Being around my folks for a quick 24 hours stirred some new thoughts around in my old noggin and (in typical Josh fashion) I had to over analyze them to death. I told my wife on Saturday morning that I feel guilty for how happy I am that we live in Denver because it has come at the price of creating a sizable distance (both literally and figuratively) between some of our most important relationships.
But here’s the catch: despite those close relationships, I know I’d be miserable within a week if we moved back to Virginia tomorrow.
Sure there’d be a happy reunion but then we would all go about our lives and eventually ease back into taking each other for granted (unintentionally of course) because you can’t miss what you already have.
I miss home because I’m not there.
I can’t help but thinking about Michael Jordan in all of this (stay with me!). The media and basketball fans were outraged when completely obliterated everyone he could think of in his Hall of Fame induction speech this past summer. I didn’t blink an eye though because that’s who Jordan was and is and will always be.
We’ve all heard the legendary stories about his hyper-competitiveness during his playing career, why did anyone think he was going to slow down after retirement? We love that he is the greatest ever but we still expect him to be cordial and gracious? That’s an impossible double standard because he had to be that way to be the dominant player he was. He couldn't just leave that mentality on the court, it had to consume him.
Basically, he understood that he had to sacrifice human relationships to be the best. That's why there will never be another one like him
Not that I’m comparing myself to Jordan in any walk of life, but I had to make certain sacrifices to live in a city like this where I could write a column like this for a credible website like this.
I get that concept now.
I knew it was a mistake the minute I did it, but the afternoon we got back home after the honeymoon, I threw Meet Joe Black into the DVD player (because a story about death is always a good idea). That movie is a Top 10 All Time Favorite for me (maybe Top 5… maybe even Top 3) and I thought it might help me find some perspective.
I really wasn’t that sad about saying goodbye to my parents on Friday morning when they left Orlando until we hugged and I said, “It won’t be that long. We’ll see you again in… (gulp)… May?”
That’s when reality hit. Depending on how long we stay in Denver, I may only see my folks once or twice a year for the foreseeable future.
I hadn’t quite thought that one through up until that moment.
It helps that my parents genuinely support how much I love living here (they were only ones from their respective families to leave the area in which they grew up, so they get my gypsy spirit that I obviously got from them), but it doesn’t make it any easier.
That’s why I needed to go to Joe Black. Even though I’ve seen the movie a kazillion times before, the very end of the film stood out this time like never before (and I don’t care if I’m spoiling the ending to anyone who’s never seen the movie. It came out in 1998. You had plenty of time).
Susan is understandably crushed about losing her father, but the life she has been looking for – and here’s my point: more importantly, it was the life her father wanted for her regardless of him being around or not – comes walking over the bridge in the form of the man she met at the coffee shop at the beginning of the movie.
That’s where my Wife and I are now. We have no clue what we’re doing out here most of the time, but we are creating a life together in a town that feels like home with a network of love and support from friends and family that are always there for us even if they aren’t always here.
Susan: What do we do now?
Man from the Coffee Shop: It’ll come to us.
Works for me.
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