Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Missing Out

Sometimes, being a parent means missing out on other things in life. For the most part, I handle this pretty well because I know how blessed I am. There are times, though, that I feel like the missing out is a little bigger and it's a little harder to reconcile that I am where I'm supposed to be. Or maybe it's that I miss the excitement of previously being caught up and important to people and now, because of my life choices, I am no longer in that role. Right now, big things are happening to one of my dearest and bestest friends- Jim. Life is truly amazing for him right now. When you were a kid, did you have dreams of what you would be when you grew up? I'm betting most of us are unfulfilled in that department. I wanted to be a horse trainer or a teacher. Neither one happened for me. And I'm ok with that- life has me where I am supposed to be. Jim grew up wanting to be a writer. And he became one. He moved to New York City and got a job at Marvel- you know, the comics people. I believe he started out in a support position at Marvel and then moved up into Marketing. He was attending all the conventions and meeting some famous people. It was a dream. But not complete fulfillment... he wanted to write for Marvel. He was given a chance at a couple of books- wrote a few different things like... well, I don't speak comic so just go to his Wikipedia page and you can read all about his accomplishments. Pretty amazing stuff, right? Here's the part I'm having this huge swirl-storm of emotions about right now... he wrote a graphic novel called Return of the Dapper Men. It's coming out this November. It had an early release at the NYC ComicCon a couple of weekends ago. It's getting amazing write ups in some big media outlets. Google it to learn more (and there just might be a special giveaway coming soon to this blog!!). Here's the thing. I am beyond proud of him. It took some personal struggle to get to where he is. There was a bad relationship, there was a period of time when he wasn't making the best choices because of that relationship, there was some serious angst and some conversations I didn't want to have about those bad choices... because I knew he was more than that, greater than that. Eventually, bad choices and relationship went away. And good things and people started to happen. He is in an amazing relationship now (seriously- his fiance is gorgeous and supports him like nothing I've seen before). And he's about to publish a book of his own creative genious, his own unique story that is being heralded as an instant classic with uniquely spun moral lessons for kids and adults alike. And the forward was written by Tim Gunn- mostly because he believes in the project and also because he's a friend of Jim's. It has been a long road to get to where he is. There have been hurdles and struggles and patience and risks along the way. For some of that foundation, I was by Jim's side. For some of the formative stuff, I was his main cheerleader. I got to be part of the creativity and excitement that is Jim McCann. Then life happened and choices were made and things changed- the way they were supposed to change. I got married, had kids. I love my life but the life I've chosen means that I can't jet off to NYC anytime I want to... like for the recent launch party for Dapper Men. Jim posted pics from the event and to see all these people and to see Jim's beaming grin and to know that there are people in those pictures who have been there at his side as he has gone through this creative process and who have been able to support him and celebrate with him... it kind of breaks my heart. Because I can't be there. I'm in his back pocket and I'm here in any capacity that he calls upon me for but I can't physically be with him every day or even on a regular basis. Maybe that's how it feels when parents send their kids off to college and they are approaching graduation and about to start fully living their own lives without needing you in that same way that they did before. Even though they've been away from home for 4 years and living in a dorm and figuring out time scheduling and relationships and food without you, graduation and real life feel different. Jim's been off at college and now he's about to graduate and has this amazing job and life ahead of him. He won't ever forget me, I know that. He loves me and I love him. Our friendship has a special depth to it that I haven't experienced with anyone else. it doesn't matter how long it has been since we last talked- we can get right back to where we always were within 5 minutes or less. He calls me when he needs to work through anxiety or to share fantastic news. He called me before he proposed and after. The big moments define when we communicate and the little moments quickly fall into place. But as he continues to grow and bloom and become... I feel a little left behind, I guess. Like I'm missing out on the fun and excitement and wow-ness of it all. I've made my choices and am blessed to live a life of normalcy that I've always wanted to live. One of those blessings is to call Jim my friend and to have him bless me with the same title in return. What have you found yourself missing out on because of your choices? Specifically, you've made choices that you wouldn't change for the world because the results are too precious. But from time to time, something from that pre-choice time pops up and reminds you of who you used to be...

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10 comments:

Garret of Jim and Garret said...

Awesome stuff! He's got a Wiki page! Oh and his own webpage as well. http://www.jimmccannonline.com/

Eternal Lizdom said...

I know! He's too cool for me... I just hope he remembers me as one of the little people when he's onstage accepting movie awards for best screenplay...

Shell said...

I love the honesty in this post.

Your friend sounds like he's had some wonderful successes(totally jealous of the Tim Gunn thing).

For me, it was a friend who became a college professor- a dream of mine. But, by that point, I had two kids and she didn't have any- it was just different paths in life.

Or, seeing friends who can go away on fabulous vacations that we can't because of the kids.

Like you, I wouldn't change my life for anything, but still sometimes feel like I'm missing out.

fojoy said...

I think that is so great that he is living his dream! Good for him.
For me, the decision to put off college after high school is something I regret...it just gets harder and harder to go back, and then I never did.

C. Beth said...

I remember learning about the concept of "opportunity cost" in economics. And yes, there's major "opportunity cost" for any direction we choose to go.

I'm not acting right now. I'd love it if I was, but I love what I'm doing now too. I admit I've had the feelings you have--the wishing I could have it all (and knowing I can't.)

shesaid said...

This post strikes such a chord in me right now. I don't know if it is because I am an envious writer, a jet-set wanna be, a fulfilled yet dreaming mom and housewife or because I was laid of last year and have spent the past year dreaming about what my next career reincarnation will be. My current project is to be an advice columnist preferably as the Good Morning America Advice Guru with my husband, but if not in a less visual capacity. Anyway, my point is your post was the right read at the right time, giving me permission to feel a little envious of those whose dreams are being realized in the present while still
reminding me that my dreams can come true. I hope you'll take a look at my website www.shesaidhesaidadvice.blogspot.com and help me on my journey to fulfilling my own dreams and thanks again.

Kate said...

I found your site from Pumpkin Delight. I love it. I’m going to poke around a little bit, but don’t worry I’ll put everything back where I found it!!

kbiermom said...

Can totally relate. And not just from parenthood, but from other stages in life as well. I remember feeling that a huge chunk of me was gone after high school, because music became less a central part of my identity once I hit college. Opportunity costs, just as a PP said. As a mom, that feeling is more intensified, because it seems at times that our every move is driven by others' wants and/or needs.

Now that my oldest is in high school, we've come upon a very cool new phase in life -- he is truly loving an activity, marching band, that both my dh and I can relate to. I don't feel that we are living vicariously through him -- it's better than that. We're watching a new chapter of our family book being written, one that carries an echo of our own histories and identities. It's so satisfying as parents to see that our child is in a good place for building his own self-identity, and all the more fun that it reminds us of when we were his age :)

Oh, and: horse trainer, teacher, parent... I don't see the difference, really :)

Karen Peterson said...

There are definitely things I feel like I've missed out on because of my choices. But I just pick myself up and try to do something awesome that only I can do. It helps.

Mrs4444 said...

"Together they have created a world where J.M. Barrie, Lewis Carrol, and Maurice Sendak meet Jim Henson and Tim Burton." (from Amazon) Wow. That's pretty impressive. (And you know you're cool when you have a spot on Wikipedia!)

I understand your feelings about this--I'm glad Jim understood and loves you anyway; that's a true friend :)