Graduations and the beach and A Loner’s Manifesto

Yes, yes, lots has been going on and I’ve struggled to compute it all. Thus my lack of posts. Through this busy-ness I’ve been examining a lot of my motives, a lot of my faults and a lot of my life. As always, it always comes back to Kyan. 

First off, Ky graduated from pre-school, as seen here:

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And yet again I’m left amazed at the way cliches about parenthood hold up. My lawd, they do grow up fast! Kindergarten this fall?! Really? Yes, it’s apparently true. 

And everyday he amazes me. 

He tells me he wants to be a trashmaker, you know taking trash and making into something. A creator. He stops our game of frisbee to pick up trash at the park. He tells me we have to go to church this Sunday. He insists we pray, in our heads, before every meal, because, you know, G*d is a personal thing. He gets gifts and immediately thinks of others and how he can give them something in return. 

It’s like this song I’ve been listening to, where the author wonders if he was ever like his son, as good-hearted as his son, as clever and smart and brilliant as his son. Not the other way around.

Kyan is the most caring, compassionate, hilarious, creative, environmentally friendly, God-loving, five-year-old I’ve ever met. Of course, I’m biased. Sue me. But where does he get this stuff from? It’s certainly not from me. No offense to his mom, but I doubt it’s from her, too. 

I’m also reminded of a scene from “Mad Men,” where the main character, Don Draper, is being hounded by his wife to punish their young son, who keeps getting into mischief. The wife, Betty, wants Don to spank the child to teach him a lesson. Afterall, Don “wouldn’t be half the man he is today if his father hadn’t hit him.” Later in the episode Don reveals to Betty that his own father beat the hell out of him and it did nothing but make him fantasize about the day he could murder him. Oh, and Don was half as good as his own son is. 

That’s how I feel. That already I’ll never have half the heart my son has. That how could I ever be disappointed in him when he fills me with such inspiration.

What is it about kids that seems so progressive? What mystery it is that they seem to take the best parts of ourselves, expand upon them and leave the worst parts behind. 

A week after Ky’s graduation, we went to the beach with my family and swam and played in the sand and went putt-putt golfing (Ky was sort of like Happy Gilmore, treating the game as if it were hockey, but still managing somehow to be a success) and ate and napped and laughed and looked for crabs and seashells and dolphins. It was one of the few vacations I’ve had where I didn’t return needing another vacation just to recover from the one I just took. 

And yet it all went by in a blur.

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It was also one of the few times I’ve been able to be around family and friends and partners for an extended amount of time without feeling overwhelmed by the stimulation. I’m one of those odd types, the ones who prefer time alone to most company, who are deemed eccentric  or weird or stuck up or sad or socially awkward. Maybe, just maybe, we prefer to dine alone, to watch movies alone, to read, to jog, to bike, to live life, largely, alone. 

I’ve been finding myself more and more drawn into this way of life and more and more having to explain why I’m like this. I’ve started reading “Party of One, The Loner’s Manifesto,” and so far there are many sentences I could quote here at length. 

Let’s let these suffice:

“Alone, we are alive. 

Alone does not necessarily mean in solitude: we are not just the lone figure on the far shore. This is a populous world, and we are most often alone in a crowd. It is a state less of body than mind. The word alone should not, for us, ring cold and hollow, but hot. Pulsing with potentiality. Alone as in distinct. Alone as in, Alone in a field. As in, Stand alone. As in, like it or not, Leave me alone. This word wants rescuing, this word wants pride. This word wants to be washed and shined.

… We are part of the human race. We need our space. Get used to it.”

And through it all, I’m left  looking at my life, as in shambles as it may be, as broken and as unperfect as it may be. I’m left looking at these pieces and trying to piece them together for him. So he has some solid foundation to stand on. 

And yet. And yet, because of him, I’m inspired to learn more about myself so that he may learn more about himself. For, as Socrates said, the unexamined life is not worth living.

I’ve been looking over my life, my recent life, lately. There’s nothing I wouldn’t change, despite how others may see me from the outside.

Because of him, I’m once again inspired to conquer that beast that lurks within. I’m inspired to conquer the one thing in this world that seems impossible to conquer: myself.

I’m once again reminded of my own dad and his own flaws and how those rough spots only furthered my love and admiration of him.

This is me. This is me in all my truth. This is me, with my head in the clouds, dreaming, creating, hoping — alone or not, but content either way. Like it or not, take it or leave it, this is me.

I hope he always sees me at my best. But if not, I hope he always sees my heart and how it beats for him. I hope he sees these attempts and when his own children are born, he can see mine and how I struggled for him and how I loved him so.

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One response to “Graduations and the beach and A Loner’s Manifesto

  1. This was a beautiful insight into your heart Justin. Thanks for sharing it.

    I knew you when you were much like you see Kyan as, maybe a little bit older, but not that much.

    I think you just have to dig a bit deeper just to see that you are still much like him, deep down, in many ways.

    I believe as young adults, sometimes it is just typical to want to keep all that hidden, for some strange reason. Been there myself.

    When we get to a certain point in our life, we seem to have no problem allowing it to resurface once again.

    Maybe that happens when we finally get to the point where we can see that our children are truly a part of us forever, and it doesn’t really matter if someone wants to see deep down inside of us anymore, just because.

    They will always be deep down in our hearts, for good. And that in part, is what makes us shine as parents after all. And again when we shine, our children become a reflection of us, and when that happens, we shine all the more.

    A new take on the circle of life maybe.

    You are quite blessed Justin.

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