Today marks the end of a significant story arc in my life. On August 29th, I flew back up to our old home in Kentucky to bring dad home to Florida (he was there all summer), and we have finally made it back. But it wasn’t without complications. In fact, such complications are why we arrived a week later instead of a day later. If I have learned anything from this experience, it is that you should never set your expectations higher than realistically feasible; otherwise you will set yourself up for failure and disappointment. I will elaborate on how this relates to my experience.
My dad has a lot of good qualities; for example, he’s extremely experienced with the cold constructs of the world (and thus has a lot of real-world experience), and he is actually very family-oriented, even though he often appears to be otherwise (something I learned through this experience also). However, these good qualities also lead to his not-so-good qualities. For example, he is very overconfident in that he believes he can do everything himself. This partly comes from the fact that he did not have a dad growing up, so he actually did accomplish a lot on his own, which is why I understand his mindset. But nobody is perfect, and I acknowledge that. It just backfires sometimes. Dad built a trailer from scratch which, while noble and financially viable, could in no way sustain 2,000+ pounds of things. This was in addition to a 20-year old van that could not pull such a machine. We experienced a number of mechanical complications which led to two things: money and delays. In the beginning we realized we couldn’t pack the rest of our belongings, so we consolidated and took what was necessary. But dad wanted everything, and so in the end we dropped a large quantity of items at grandpa’s house (which by the way was our haven while I was in Kentucky). Oh yeah, I also turned 17 on Tuesday through all of this. It was memorable; that’s for sure!
The final stretch of the experience involved the purchasing of a $5,000 conversion van and the renting of a $400 trailer. We got up very early on the 3rd to move everything from our first trailer to the new one (this was after a tire almost fell off), and the drive down to Florida (my second ride down) was eventful indeed. Oh, I forgot to mention that we also had to account for our 13-year-old dog, who actually didn’t have too many problems in the new van (the old one was very uncomfortable and small for him). The night was hectic and Jacksonville was chaotic (although it was pretty)! I think my favorite part of the trip was driving through Atlanta, because it was beautiful and I liked it (I am a city guy, after all). But I had to think to myself: What would change? When we got to Florida and the family was reunited, what would truly be different? How would we progress and move towards the future? Well, because of the fact that dad was generally on edge and/or erratic throughout the experience of actually getting out of Kentucky, I decided to hold off on any type of meaningful conversation until the drive down.
It would be hypocritical of me not to practice what I preach. So, I addressed many of the issues that I addressed in my Civil War blog. Needless to say, I think we both felt better in the end because we came to a few resolutions, which I will briefly narrate. First, I agreed to be more open about my inner life to him as long as he could agree to empathize more. Although I do not look for a pity party, I do value a person who can simply understand my problems, rather than someone constantly telling me what I did wrong that led to those problems. Sometimes, I just want someone to listen too. Second, I addressed my role as the family wild card. I told him not to talk about his problems with me (I told mom the same), and not to involve me directly when it comes to a problem between him and mom. I stressed the fact that I just want to have normal conversations, not those involving domestic problems. Third, I told him why I don’t showcase my personality around him (or the rest of my family), as it relates to the problems addressed in Civil War. By the time we got to Florida and reunited, the four of us agreed to make some changes, and I was content with that. As someone who has had little social interaction since my graduation, the least that I could benefit from was enhancement in our family’s interactions with each other.
The idea that a situation seems to be hopeless only exists because you choose to look at it that way. Ever since I’ve been in Florida, I’ve been on the road to being a more optimistic person. That’s not to say I won’t have problems (as I certainly have had my fair share, as everyone has), but I look at them as though they are problems to be solved. While my family has made it very hard to do this, I think that we may be on the road to better. Of course, we’re known to be very indecisive people, as is evident by the number of times the plan for Florida has changed. I’m looking upward, however, because there isn’t much else to look for at the moment. Do I miss my old life? I do not. In fact, it was poison to my soul, despite the fact that there were good parts of it. But I suppose that everyone needs to hold onto some piece of their past so that they can trace how they’ve progressed as people, and that is what I am doing now. There’s a lot for me to talk about, but I’ll save that for a later day. Although contextually inaccurate, I would relate this most recent experience to that of a damsel in distress, as the four of us would not be reunited had I not gone up to Kentucky to make it happen. For what it’s worth, not all of our domestic problems are fixed; I mean we’ve only been back together for a day, so it’s understandable why we are optimistic right now. But, we’ve all been through our own share of anguish on an individual basis; so if anything, we are changed because of our own experiences in melancholy since we have each lived through failure to know what works and what doesn’t. And that, I think, is the most effective way to (as they say) learn from your mistakes.
I love you, but your attitude is like that of a shrew. Your options? Take a pill or be my kill. Might I suggest that you wear a vest. Perish in class or be banished to the land of bluegrass, where dreams don't exist as you'll be eternally pissed.