Monday, June 13, 2011


Everything changed when I got married and started to look after a wife and son. My money, my time, my freedom, my dreams, nothing was the same. But it wasn't just the pieces of my life that changed. My very outlook on the days I live, and even my ability to sense what was going on in the world, changed radically. I hardly notice what's going on around me nowadays:

- I don't see it unless it might kill me.
- I don't hear it unless it's coming towards me.
- I don't feel it unless it's too hot or sharp to handle.
- I don't even taste or smell the differences in my food in the way that I used to.

In addition, my overall feelings towards the day I'm living are not the same:

In the very early morning, with just a little light out, I wonder how long it will be until work starts. I do a mental check to see if I took care of all the chores in the house. I play a video game as I wait for my bedroom door to open, and my family to come out, so I have to turn it off.

In the morning, I feel nostalgic for my old life, and just plain bored. I wake myself up from my stupor to chat with my wife or play with my son and enjoy my time with them, but my mind ever tugs me back to the days that I used to live as an unmarried man.

In the afternoon, I'm counting the minutes until work starts. When I still taught children, this was the worst part of my day: constantly checking the clock until I had to go teach classes with random amounts of brats in each one, and all knowing that I wasn't going to keep more than $2 to $5 of the day's wages for myself.

In the late afternoon, I'm working.

At night, I don't have much to think. Usually it's just a "So that was ____day, huh?" and that's it. Now, this is the worst time of my life: coming home after hours and hours of work, making only a few dollars for myself and knowing the rest is going to be taken by my family, and knowing that 99% of the time, the house will be a disaster zone of dirty dishes and laundry and crap all over the place that I have to clean up.

Later, I'm usually watching my son, or playing a video game and distracted from the routine day I just lived. But when my eyes start to feel heavy, I know it's time to go to sleep so I can do it all again the next day.

So what does marriage feel like? It's like scuba diving at the bottom of the ocean while wearing a suit of armor, slowly trudging back to shore one step at a time. And this weight is a very literal one: in the last four years, my shoulders, back and chest have been tense and strained, like they're working against an invisible weight. I've never once had this feeling let up or leave me, but when an entire day's worth of work, a fight with my wife or something similar comes about, this weight becomes heavy to the point of physical pain.

Before I got married, though, life was an explosive, adventurous, surprising series of experiences, fun times, and limitless potential. Between the lost two weeks at my bud's aunt's place, and the day that I got the news my wife was pregnant, my senses ever worked on overdrive.

When I sat down on a bus seat, I could feel the comfort of the leather on my body. When I was on the subway, I felt the steady grip of the handle in my hand. When I held hands with my wife when she was still my girlfriend, it felt electric and exciting, and I could feel the blood rush to my face.

I could taste the subtle differences in the drinks and food I ate. This store's drinks were sweeter, but that one's had more tart to them. I loved the oversaltiness of this shop's hamburgers, but the cheese at that place was absolutely exquisite.

When a smell came to me from nowhere, my mind was overcome with the thoughts and memories of my entire life. Sandalwood... like my neighbor's house from back home. Asphalt... the time my friends and I went to that race track back in high school. Detergent... just like the smell of my bud's aunt's place, in that mosquito infested clothes washing area. Good times.

I had hearing that stretched out for miles. At any given moment, I was assailed with the sounds of construction crews, locals chatting, food being cooked, cars speeding by, the rushing of the wind, waving grass, everything at once. I could hear life pulsing around me in every direction.

My sight was constantly open in a wide arc in front of me, all the way to my peripherals. I took in the sight of tall apartment buildings sitting at the foot of beautiful, green mountains. I noticed the subtle ways that the people I talked to kept their hair or clothes, and what kind of impression they wanted to evoke. I saw the careful craftsmanship that went into the cars, store products and buildings around me. I noticed little things in people's body language when we talked, and was able to steer our conversations on the fly to make them as happy and entertained as I could.

The different parts of a day conjured up unique feelings for me, as well:

The early morning was one of my favorite times as an unmarried man. The sun's rays peeked over the horizon, and signalled the coming of a new day. At those times, I felt content and satisfied at the experiences I had had the day before, and knew that when the sun finally did rise, life would soon begin to swell all around me once more. Another day was dawning, and I was going to be there to experience it.

In the morning, I felt energized and ready to take on the town. My mind was a flurry of reviewing my previous day, planning my current one, and just all-around excitement for what was to come. Even on days I had to work, I was ready for it to be done as soon as possible so I could make my evening count even better than the one before.

In the afternoon, I was either working with an eye on the night, or currently in the middle of my adventures throughout town with good company, and millions of things to see and enjoy. Life was moving all about me, and I was along for the ride.

In the evening, when the sun was going to set, I felt sweaty, dirty, hot, tired... and absolutely satisfied. Hours had gone by where I had talked with friends, saw amazing sights, and led the best life I could have that day (or where I had made some nice money). Life was beginning to settle down around me, signifying the end of another fulfilling day.

At night, I felt beat and was relaxing at home to review the day I had just had and was planning my next day, which was only hours away. Or, if I still had the energy, I was out somewhere where people were still enjoying the fruits of the day by shopping, jogging, watching the city lights, or wherever else I could find other people to be around. Then, when I could hardly stand on my own two feet anymore, I was on my way home to a hot shower and comfortable bed, where another day would soon dawn, and life was waiting to be lived once more.

Overall, if you want to know what it felt like to be an unmarried man, I would advise you to do this:

Go somewhere really high, to the ocean, or somewhere else that you can see for miles. Stare out at the buildings, trees, water, boats, sky, cars, people or anything else you can see. When you feel your awareness open up, then feel a sense of both personal smallness and wonder at the many lives you are now looking upon, and finally have a sense of "there's so much to see; everything is all right," you'll know how it felt for me.

Even simpler, if you've ever had a rush of euphoria for no discernable reason, just a sudden feeling of peace that came out of the blue and vanished seconds later, then imagine feeling that every day. This feeling came to me at least once a day, every day. It wasn't a constant thing, just something that would shiver down my spine every couple of hours while I was out and enjoying my life.

That was the life of an unmarried man: launching sorties into a wild and adventurous world from a place of ultimate relaxation and healing, surrounded by friends, fun and freedom.

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