Kim’s note: Six months ago Brian wrote his first blog post, an account of his experience coming to terms with our decision to pursue my dreams. The post, titled Coming To Terms With Life Change, was one of the most popular ever published on this blog.
It’s been six months since that last post and Brian is back with an update on how things have changed for him since the last time he checked in.
P.S., I don’t ask him to write sappy things, I swear!
A Husband’s Point of View: Chasing My Wife’s Dream
It’s been a while since I wrote about my perspective, and figured I would provide a six-month update. As y’all probably know, we have sold our house – one of the biggest hurdles that we had to clear – and are now living in an apartment that Kim and I have un-affectionately dubbed ‘The Hotel’.
Selling our house was a lot easier and a lot harder than I thought it would be. Easier because the house sold in one day for full asking price (Seriously – one day? For full asking price? In the middle of a bad recession?). Harder because, due to the short timeline under which we sold, closed, and moved (only 42 days!), we had to go through an emotional detaching process we thought we had 6-8 months to go through.
The first couple of weeks after we agreed to the sale were difficult. Question after question was discussed: Did we give away too much? (We sold our house furnished). Should we have asked for more money? Why are we doing this? These and hundreds of other questions ran through my mind. I kept going back and forth: I would think we were making the right decision and that I was moving on to the next step. Then 15 minutes later, I would be re-living the negotiations and thinking that we shouldn’t have given them this, or we should have asked for that. After a week or so, I started to feel crazy.
Then, one night, I was going through my clothes and making three piles: one stack of clothes to wear at my cousin’s wedding, one to pack and move to the new place, and the third to donate. I was sorting through clothes that I hadn’t worn in years when something suddenly shifted. I was no longer looking at the shirt I wore when the Bengals played their first playoff game in 20 years . Now, it was just a shirt that was going to be donated to goodwill.
I walked out of our bedroom and told Kim that right then and there something was changing. I began looking at all of our belongings not as things that define who we are, but as obstacles to our goals. I loved our kitchen table (it’s the piece of furniture that I miss the most), but at the end of the day, it’s just a table. My thoughts changed from: How am I going to keep or replace this table? to Do we need a table?
So, for me, the moment a paradigm shift occurred was when I was doing the most mundane of tasks – folding laundry.
I mention all this to bring up a bigger point. I don’t look at the world the same way now. I have never been a materialistic person, but now I look at things, whatever they may be, and see the obstacles they can put in our way. For me, the fewer possessions I have, the more free I feel. Instead of surrounding myself with stuff, I am trying to surround myself with experiences. Experiences are much easier to take with you wherever you go – all you need is someone to talk to.
Now, this sounds all nice and grandiose and a good way to live life. But the truth is that I am still struggling with it all. I was happy as hell to give away my lawn mower, but I miss looking out our back door at our dogs sleeping in the sun. I love our new neighborhood with all the bars and restaurants around, but I miss our 5-year old neighbor showing me bugs he just found.
So where does all this leave me?
I am much less conflicted now than I was 6 months ago. I no longer feel like this is Kim’s dream and I am going along for the ride. I feel like this is now our dream and we are working together to accomplish it. These days, I don’t doubt whether or not we should do this. The question is why wouldn’t we do this?
I am super-excited about our plans and the years beyond our plans. We are exploring ways to make money while traveling and the possibility of living abroad at some time (suggestions are welcome).
I still can’t say that I have a dream of my own that I want to pursue, but I feel like I am putting myself in a better position to recognize it when it comes around. For now, I am happy to build and prepare for this dream. It takes a lot of hard work to make a dream come into reality. No one person can do it by themselves – they need the help, love, and support from friends and family.
I am doing my best to help the woman I love flourish and become the person she wants to be. And in the process, I discovered an added bonus: the more Kim has flourished, and the more excited she gets, the more beautiful she becomes in my eyes. I’ve also realized that her excitement is contagious and it makes me more excited for everything to come. And I can’t help but love her even more for that.