Growing up sometimes happens fast. When I met the beautiful Hannah I quickly knew I wanted to start a life together with her…so we did and in less than 8 months from the first time we talked we were married. Since we were not fresh out of college and I was edging closer to 40 than 30, we decided to try to have a baby only 9 ish months after that. Then while home on leave from work with said baby we ended up looking at houses to buy. So in a matter of less than two and half years I have gone from being single and alone to being a married father and homeowner.
As for the housing decisions…
We had discussed it and liked the idea of renting for a while still because of the costs of upkeep. But we were in a massive place that required renters for us to be able to ever eat out, do fun things that cost money or travel the state and region like we were apt to do. So when the first one that was perfect and just a block from where we were fell through we kept looking. We broadened our search and lessened some of our initial desires and actually had an accepted offer on a home. But that was before the inspection that concluded it was money pit, so we walked away and narrowed our search criteria to just what was perfect. The beautiful Hannah also spent a couple nights in the ER during that time of walking away from the less than perfect house. So when the drama and paperwork on the less than perfect (but great backyarded) house was finished we listed what was needed in a house and waited…for a week… for it to show. And now we are homeowners.
But the real issue with these recent life changes of fatherhood and home owning I have had to give up some desires in my head. I have had to become an adult that doesn’t keep a nice debt cushion but attempts to live debt free (besides the mortgage now). I have a couple someones to protect and look after and who are affected when I just want to travel on MasterCard’s dime and pay it off as I am able. And I no longer want to sleep on the floor of Singaporean bus stations or on the 8th bunk in the small room of a mildly shadey but very economical hostel.
But I still want to travel and learn. To visit friends in far away places and experience what I used to and what they still do. I want to visit new places and meet the beautiful Hannah’s friends in their faraway places. The desire to explore, learn and continue to grow is there and stronger than ever. And yet, as I walk to Target on my lunch break to buy some headphones because I droped my old ones in the not yet used but still gross toilet at work, I wonder if it is possible.
I wonder if I have become the adult I didn’t want to become when I visited Portland as a dirty hippie 15 years ago. The wonder grows stronger when I see a red headed traveler with bad “completely natural” dreads and cut up camo pants and a jean jacket vest. I am distracted from my book about how to make my baby sleep through the night and watch this kid for a few stops on the bus home to my just purchased house. I wonder if he is real or a ghost. To say I see myself in him is an understatement because besides that one large patch on his jacket, I was dressed exactly like him in July 1999.
I watch as people avoid him, make no eye contact and judge him in this town where judgment isn’t allowed. I see in his eyes some kind of pain or loss. I watch him mouth the words of some song on his overly large headphones that is what he needs in that moment. I see him get off the bus when it gets crowded and hear him say under his breath “I’ll just walk”. I notice that his shoes have more miles than my bike this year probably and he is looking at his bus ticket to see how long he can use it and where else to go. And even before the bus leaves he has sat down at a public picnic table to watch the world go by.
After getting a glimpse of the old me, I realize I like being an adult. I wonder if that kid as well will take a job as an accountant, that lets him live in a foreign but adventurous place. If he will wake up daily for a boring desk job that requires a shower and haircut and insulated lunch sack but pays mid five figures. If he will keep dreaming and giving to passions that won’t die. If he will go through periods of trying to figure out life that ends with him buying a house for his wife and three month old son to nest and build memories in.
I wonder if that random dude will let that new less adventurous life become his normal. Because it seems like I have grown up enough to allow it to become mine….as long I get to travel back to Asia and a national park with my little family next year!