Friday, October 19, 2012

A Long Haul...The Marathon

--by Mike Adams

I have not posted here in a long time now. If anyone wondered where I went or noticed the silence, I can assure you that I haven't lost interest, nor did I want to stop blogging. I love writing and being part of the GBE2 community. I've missed reading and commenting on posts. I've missed the incredible conversations we've had and the sense of community. But my absence has been and will continue to be necessary. Life has become difficult and I've been exerting the sum of my energy and concentration to take care of the most important things in my life: Tara, Rowan, Devin, and Mikalh.

A little background, several years ago, Tara began experiencing unexplained pain and when it didn't subside, she began seeking medical help. Over the course of time, the pain got worse and since then, she has been surviving chronic migraine headaches and almost constant bodily pain.

This past year, our medical bills have ascended a steep incline due to co-pays having doubled, prescription costs having doubled, a significant increase in the number of doctor visits, and an increase in the quantity of prescription drugs. Our monthly medical expenses hover around $1000. Let me be clear, we can't afford that. I don't bring home enough money to cover our medical, our mortgage, our food, our utilities  and our gas. My parents have generously been helping me to pay bills each month, but they can't do so for ever, and more importantly, being forty one years old, I have a personal need to take care of myself and my family without being constantly bailed out by my parents.

My ego has taken a beating, and my self esteem seems to have been trampled. I simply don't know know how to proceed, what to change, or where to start. I have avoided sitting in paralyzed fear, but my actions have produced little in terms of tangible results. I started a small business, MLAdams, which provides affordable computer maintenance services to small businesses and sole proprietors. I've began studying for additional computer certifications and I've studied both marketing and search engine optimization till late in the evening almost every night. I've pushed myself beyond what I had thought possible and I continue to push each day.

This sort of behavior is unusual for me. I tend to enjoy my time off and the way I enjoy it usually doesn't include much exertion, but because I love my family more than anything, I get up each day and I work hard. This beautiful family simply will not fail if I can prevent it.

The problem is that I feel I'm in an impossible position. My family needs me. They need me to be present, to be loving, to be tolerant and supportive. They need me to be available and to be compassionate. Simultaneously, they need me to earn enough money to cover our expenses. They need me to ensure that my wife's health is taken care of, to ensure that our mortgage, utility bills and food expenses are covered. They need more from me than I feel I have available. They need a me who is a workaholic breadwinner and another me, who is inspired, available and loving.

But as they said in the Highlander, there can be only one. So here I am, exhausted, sad, lonely, and afraid. I don't feel I have more to give, and because more is needed, I often feel like a failure. I am overwhelmed with what there is to accomplish, and I'm forgetful of important tasks that needs my attention. I trudge through life focusing on what is in front me, forgetting the things that lie on the periphery, and I am missing things that are sometimes really important. I'm tired, angry and frustrated. I'm difficult to get along with and my wife needs me to be happy. She needs me to get help with my emotional state and my attitude. I agree, I believe that I need those things, but I don't know how I'll afford it or when I'll seek it. My teeth need dental attention, and my back is tied up in knots. Both are the result of a bicycle injury from twenty years ago. I live with a constant headache and I'm physically, emotionally and spiritually exhausted.

But none of that compares to the pain that my wife has to endure, so I try my best to ignore whats going wrong with me, because I have to keep going. My family needs me to keep going.

So tonight, I decided to take a break from my professional life and share with you what is going on, so that I don't feel that I'm doing it alone, so that maybe, I can capture some perspective and bring that with me as I continue to trudge this portion of life's path. I know "this too shall pass" and I know if I, and my family can come through this difficult time, we'll be alright...probably even great. So that is my goal.

To me, this is like that part of the marathon, where the runner just wants to give up, where they can't imagine running even one more mile. Some quit, but others just keep going and before they know it, they're crossing the finish line.
Exhausted Runner

That is where I am right now, where my family is, and from what I can tell, where our nation is too. We're all at mile eighteen and there are eight more long miles to run. Our legs are weak and burning, our sides are cramped, we're gasping for breath and we can barely take even one more step. We keep eyeing the curb or the shade of a tree and thinking how easy it would be to collapse there and rest. Forget the race, we'll just walk home later, alone. To keep running is too painful. We need to remember, this is not the time to stop. We're not at the finish line yet, and we didn't set out to run part of a marathon. This is simply not the time for us to quit. Rather it is time to dig deep and find resources we never knew we had. It is time to remember why we entered this race in the first place. It is time to push ourselves through to the finish line. Even if we're the last runners on the course and no one is waiting at the finish, none of that matters, because even if the finish line is deserted and all cleaned up, our prize WILL be there. That is the perspective I'm going to take.

So along those lines, I'll say, Tara, I love you with my whole heart and my whole being. I know we can and will be happy if we can get through this tough time. I know I am tired and irritable and intimidating. I am trying to figure out how to address those things and I will find a way to succeed, I promise.

To Rowan and Devin and Mikalh, I'm so sorry for the lack of patience I've had with you and I'm apologizing now for the inescapable times I'll have a complete lack of patience with you in the near future. This is not the person I want to be and I am trying to become better. Please remember that I love you completely...I love you more than you can imagine.

Everyone, please forgive me for my arrogance, my short temper and my sometimes dismissive attitude. I never meant to hurt you and I'm working to do better. Please know also, that I do and will forgive you for what ever there is that I should. Not because I'm some great person. I assure you I am not, but simply because we are family and that is what family does, when they love each other, they forgive!

I love you all!