THERE’S a moment on a compilation of clips from TV series ‘Friday Night Lights’ that’s really resonating with me. A football player who became paraplegic in an accident says ‘I’m just trying to figure out my life” and Coach Taylor responds “you’re dealing with it. You’re being a man about it” as Adele croons about her ‘Hometown’.
It’s encouragement to me because I’m trying to figure out what life looks like for a single guy with SSA in his mid-twenties. And I feel that ‘I’m dealing with it. I’m being a man about it.’
Recently I purchased a house. I’d decided I was tired of living in other peoples’ spare rooms and shifting repeatedly. (Six different bedrooms in the last three years.) And purchasing a home seemed like a good way to force myself to stay, somewhere – anywhere – for a moderate length of time.
In the first few weeks it’s been good. I’ve really enjoyed working on my garden and buying canvas reprints of my own photographs for the wall. But, it’s been hard to do some of this by myself. It’s ‘my’ dream and ‘my’ plans not ‘ours’. There’s no special woman who comes home to spend the night with me. I’ve felt some pangs of loneliness in this. Surprisingly stronger than I thought I would. Sure, I can ask friends and family to come shopping with me or help me choose plants, but at the end of the day; it’s mine. Alone. There’s something that feels wrong about that.
But I’ve accepted it and I’m dealing with it and being a man about it. I’m not sitting around and moping or being a victim. I’m moving on.
Coach Taylor says something else in that clip compilation that stirs something in me. He says “every man at some point in his life is going to lose a battle. He is going to fight and he is going to lose.” I feel like I lost a battle somewhere. It wasn’t necessarily one that I fought very strongly or was often in the forefront of my mind, but I wanted a ‘normal’ middle-class life with a wife and kids. And although that could still happen, it won’t in the way I wanted it to.
That was a battle I fought and lost. It’s not going to happen in the next few years at least. It’s a sin stained world and things are broken. It’s good to war against that and I think it’s good to mourn when that fight is lost.
A couple of years ago as I first pondered becoming a teacher I had the inkling, almost a dream, of how my life would turn out. I would live in a certain town and work at a certain school and in a few weeks this will become a reality. (Well, I already work at the school, but I’m swapping campuses come November 25.) It kind of scares me that the life I at one stage thought would bring me the most happiness is now the life I will be living. Because it, of itself, is not going to make me happy. I need something deeper. And I’m dealing with it. I’m being a man about it.
(If you want to watch the Friday Night Lights compilation I refer to it’s called Friday Night Lights Emmy Awards Trailer.)