Life is too damn short


May 30, 2010 :: 4:18 PM

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boat rigging :: grand cayman :: november 14, 2008

We went up to the Nubble Lighthouse and then to The Goldenrod this morning.

How can something simultaneously break your heart into a zillion pieces and at the same time give you so much hope? That’s what the Short Sands Beach region of York, Maine does to me. I think I’ve said it before—it was my father’s favorite place on the earth. We used to stay at the Sands Hotel (as it used to be known) for one week every summer and every morning, without fail, he’d wake me up doing this version of reveille that sounded like it was being performed by a rooster. We’d hike up to the lighthouse, watch the sun rise, and then we’d head to The Goldenrod for breakfast. Until I went to college, it was our yearly ritual.

I suppose it goes without saying that that’s the only place in the world where I truly feel as if my father is right beside me. I feel his presence in other places, in other ways, but it’s that area between Sohier Park and The Goldenrod where I feel him the strongest. I really needed to be with him today. Thankfully, J understood it and we hopped in the car, no questions asked.

I’ve had a rough couple of weeks… J left for Ohio two weeks ago to spend time with his mom before she passed away. He got almost an entire week with her before the cancer finally claimed a long overdue victory. I joined him last Sunday, for what would become one of the longest weeks of my life. I had limited access to the outside world - no cell service and definitely no internet access (thank you, AT&T). I suppose I could have used my sister-in-law’s laptop, but I didn’t want to do personal stuff on her computer. No email (business or personal), and definitely no Twitter or Facebook. I didn’t want to run the risk of forgetting to log out. My iPhone is probably less secure, but at least this way, I know she can’t log into one of my accounts accidentally.

I don’t “do” family. I don’t know how. My own family had disappointed me so many times that I just shut them all out. Except my father, and when he died, well… It was weird to be around all these people and not know a single one of them except on the most basic level. I worry a lot about the concept of “love”:  Is it possible to love people I don’t even know, and to be honest, don’t really have any need or desire to know? (That sound? Every single in-law’s jaw dropping, I’m sure.) I’m too damn independent for my own good. I know this. I’ve surrounded myself with the people I want to call my family. I don’t need, or want, a “family” that’s forced on me just because I married one of them.

That said, I DID enjoy their company. I DID enjoy letting them into my world, albeit on MY terms. I’d apologize for shutting them out, but I’m not going to. It’s who I am and I don’t plan on tearing down my walls any time soon.  As I’ve said before, I refuse to apologize for anything I’ve done in the name of protecting myself. They don’t know, and can’t possibly truly understand, the events that caused me to build those walls as big as they are.

At any rate, I spent a good chunk of today’s trip wondering if the people who lived in those oceanfront houses knew how lucky they are. How much I’ve coveted them - the older ones, not the new McMansions which lack all the charm. I saw the house my father always wanted to buy. The house I want to buy. I know it’s been in the family (or was) for several generations and that the guy my dad talked to had no plans of ever selling it. I know I’ll never be able to afford it. Not unless I change a lot of things about the way I live and spend money…

I think the same thing - do they know how lucky they are to live there - when we go to our land. We recently discovered that we’ve had trespassers on the property, and that got me fired up to build sooner rather than later, but instead of tightening up the budget, reevaluating our investments, putting more towards the debt snowball, etc., I just let it fall by the wayside.

Not anymore. I’m building that damn house. I will be ready to break ground in five years. FIVE. Do you hear me universe? Stay out of my way. I’m on a mission… by then I’ll be 40. I don’t know what my expiration date is. No one does. But you can bet your ass I don’t want to wait any longer than necessary to get that house built. Life is just too damn short. My mother died at 46, my father at 55, J’s mother at 59.  Those numbers are hitting a little too close to home as I’m in my mid-30s. My mid-30s… it seems so odd to write that, but that’s where I am. That’s eleven years until I’m as old as my mother was when she died. If I’m due to kick the bucket that early, I want some time in my lake house. The one I should have inherited from my father had he lived another couple of years.

I’m done thinking “do they know…” and I’m ready to start thinking “I’m so lucky…”

It’s probably a good thing I’m such an Excel Ninja…