Yay finally, I have time to blog and for my general readers, that is great news… for my period-readers, not so much. My cute lil’reader Alyson asked me why I hadn’t blogged in a while and it was just a matter of finding that inspiration kick. Today after an exhausting day from work, on the drive home, a bit of inspiration for a post did arrive and a reflection of why sometimes when dreams become reality, it never is as simple as it seems. Now, being a “grown-up” (and I quote that, lol) I already know that everything comes with a twist and that even the simplest of things become complex. Now I’m just being paradoxical instead of jumping into the main topic.
About half a year ago, I was transferred to another sub-department. Our “main” department is divided into 3 sub-departments, each with its own miniature management team. This department is known for being the one involved with the “hardest” work (how ever that is even defined) and that upon joining I knew I was going to be in for a good ride. I expected to take up a mediocre role, where I wouldn’t be doing anything extremely importantly and literally being the grunt that gets everything thrown at them, but with little actual responsibility.
I always used to tell myself to look forward to when I could be the guy who “gets to go to all the meetings” because in my mind, that’s where all the ‘important’ stuff happens. Previous to my department change, we had very infrequent meetings and in all honesty, nothing important were ever decided in those meetings. They were informative (if that) and because most decisions were made at the higher echelons, nothing we did/said really meant much in the bigger picture. Finally in this past 6 months, I’ve been to more meetings than for the years I’ve been working at this organization. So initially, I thought to myself, “Oh wow, this is a dream come true, I finally get to go to all these meetings!!” I figured because I was the “junior” of out the group of attendees, that I wouldn’t even be the one making the decisions. I’d sit there, smile and pretend to be part of the group. When you walk out the meeting room and everyone around you looks up, it gives that sense of pride to be “with the suits” with your head held high.
After a month or two, they began the see my performance and trust my work. To a degree, one could say they even relied on it. Within the past month, I have been heavily involved in an assortment of projects. Being one of the 4 project managers in this department and working within an organization of over 5,000 people, we’re definitely against the numbers. In the previous sub-department I worked for, most of the decisions often only impacted a selection of individuals. In my current sub-department, the decisions we make affect THE entire organization, including external stakeholders (and damn let me tell you, there are LOT of them). I suddenly realized the pressure in making decisions because the impact was at such a large scale. Before, if I screwed up, I may be the joke of the department for a couple of weeks and maybe make a few people disgruntled, but now, I am easily the target of the entire organization and stakeholders. Suddenly a screw-up is irreversible and likely something that could be devastating to one’s reputation.
That “dream” I always envisioned, being the person sitting at the big round table to call the shots suddenly made me a bit hot under the collar. They have passed down a lot of responsibility to me in the past few months, the better the performance they see, the more they lead me to take the bull by the horns. I do not regret performing well, after all who does not want to be a shining example at work and have a brighter career path? I enjoy AND fear the responsibility as it puts a lot of weight on your back. While the dream has come true, there’s a lot I didn’t bargain for, such as the pressure, obligation and responsibility that comes with ‘being the decision maker’. I told my friend this and he smiled, telling me this is always like that, “Beautiful woman you look for in your life, you find her and she’s gorgeous but dumb as a mule.” 😆 Now, I have to be careful about every word or idea I propose at these meetings, because they do make a difference and that a mistake may be costly for our entire organization. Committing millions of dollars to the “wrong product” is as devastating to our coffers as it would be to my reputation. Though in our organization luckily poor decisions (unless they’re out-rightly retarded or illegal) has never gotten anyone fired, but it’s definitely not a burden you want to carry.
So now on a daily basis, I sit at the big round table, drinking our coffees, keying on our laptop while people talk and occasionally staring up at the PowerPoint that the presenter is talking about, but now being at that table means committing yourself to a degree of responsibility which you must burden. I used to see the executives coming out, looking more disturbed than happy… I envied them, because they drove the direction of departments and organization. Now, I get to be the one that (even to a lesser degree), drive the direction of departments, but now I understand the look on my face when we leave. People are often poker-faced for a reason. Meetings often mean more work, more problems and more money (not in our pockets). I leave having to do and delegate more work, than going there to resolve things. I used to think the meetings were where everyone happily sits down and talks about the “successes” rather than failures and remedial steps.
It always is nice to think about success without the sandwich effect. It’d be nice to be “the people who make the decisions” IF those decisions didn’t have consequences. It would be great if I could walk into the meeting room, make all sorts of suggestions, paid big bucks but not be accountable for the decision made. However, that is not reality and nor should I expect it to have been. With every “dream” that comes true, something has to give…. and there’s always a twist!
For most, responsibilities pile on as you grow up, some earlier than others. While I consider myself unlucky, I also consider myself lucky when “compared to others.” My dad passed away when I was 22, leaving me with much pressure to “grow up quickly.” I consider myself lucky because I had a wonderful and unparalleled father for a whole 22 years of my life and because many others in this world, lose their parent, parents much earlier – some will have never experienced their parents love other than birth. Suffice to say, it is always nice to simply be grateful for what you have. Moving forward, I’ve had to take on the responsibility of taking care of my mother, something that any PROPER and FILIAL son should do… or I should say, something that any child should do.
Over the 4 years without the protection of my father, I’ve had to take on much of the responsibilities around the house – and by that, not necessary domestic chores as those are still handled by my mom who I wholeheartedly appreciate, but that of all the other “problems” when they arise – whether it is getting finances in order or making such the next meal hits the table. The stress sometimes is overbearing but at the same time, I have to stay strong. I am definitely not alone, in this vast world, I am like many… I do not claim myself to be a martyr or some kind of superhero that is above others. However, today I had a revelation about growing up and simply accepting responsibilities because you have to.
This all came to me as I was out shoveling the snow. Yes, weird place to be “inspired” eh? Today has been an interesting day, with me driving half-way to work before realizing that work was closed today. Good thing I didn’t go all the way there before finding out. If I had known, I could’ve just rolled back in my bed and snoozed again. It was pretty treacherous in the morning waking up to piles of snow. We had been told to expect 5-10cm, but it was definitely more than that. As I shoveled my way out to work, it was not unusual since I’ve been doing this all winter. I usually do it myself because I’m the one going to work, not my mom, so I don’t expect her to help. When my dad was around, shoveling was always considered the “men” duty and also the “fatherly” duty… so before I got up, my dad would usually have the driveway cleaned and I’d just hope in my car and drive to work. Yes, now I look back, I was spoiled, so now I have to hold up this responsibility now. Surely, I cannot expect my mom to do something like this! Furthermore, it wasn’t until recently she got her pills to control a thyroid problem which elevated her heart rate, so the last thing I need is for her to go out and shovel snow for me – that’s not right. All this revelation and stuff happened because the feeling of being out there was ominous and depressing. I was out there and as bunched up as I was, the sleet was slamming against my face, winds blown against me, fighting the cold and the snow blowing in my eye.. having to stop every time the wind blew hard trying to hold my balance – it was a very gray mood. I thought to myself why people cherish life so much when this is what you endure.. and I mean there’s bigger problems in life than snow, LOL!
When I came back home, I just lazied around the house for the afternoon until I decided to look out again. Holy, the snow had not stopped and the driveway was once again high. I got my snow-clothing on and out came the shovel from the garage. This time, it was HORRID compared to the morning shovel. As I pushed from HALF of my driveway width to the other, the snow was already tight enough where I could push no more. The snow was wet and heavily packed in and was not the nice fluffy stuff that’s easy to move around. I decided to bring out my (very shitty) snow-blower, which had failed the last 3 times I’ve tried to use it. In this entire winter, it has only worked once. I will endeavour to buy one for the next winter, however, this thing is a piece of shit. I’ve already been angry with it the previous times, but with how bad the snow has been, it only compounded the situation. As I tried to start it for the 5th time, I had enough of it. I took my shovel and slammed against it. I hissed under my breath that if it still didn’t start up, it was forfeiting its life. Pulled on the engine rope, sputtered and no-go. That was enough of that, I drew my axe out from my garage and beat the shit out of it. My mom was yelling at me since she hates it when I get furious. I admit, I can have a temper sometimes, especially when things fail me. I do not tolerate failure of things like this and it pisses me off, especially when I need it most. If it is not willing to cooperate, why should I keep it around? I now have a partially destroyed snow-blower. If I was any less rational, I would’ve loaded both my guns and shot the shit out of it. Things in my house do not defy me unless they want to be blown to bits. Luckily, I was still in the right mind to know that shooting a gas-filled snow-blower is not very smart.
I continued to plow the driveway and while doing so, that’s when it dawned to me the thing about growing up, taking up responsibilities and also accepting the fact, these will likely be on-going responsibilities, sometimes with increasing complexity. As I was pushing the snow around, I thought to myself, this is going to be pretty much how the rest of my life will play-out. Whether I am plowing it for my own or not, my responsibilities extend beyond my “own” life. I thought about how in the future, it will likely be me getting up at dawn, plowing the driveway and making sure the kids and bebe will be able to get to work and school on time. I realized that I may need to be the one to drive them around, whether to school or to work on bad days – while still having to get myself to work. I realize that I may need to have breakfast ready when they wake up and pack their lunches… things I don’t have to do now and simply never bothered crossing my mind about having to just be grown up and letting responsibilities evolve from easy to hard. I have to return home, get dinner prepared, kiss the kids and bebe as they walk through the door, smile – even if my day has been shit. It’s just about being responsible to carry your own burdens and not pass them to your family. At night when bebe and I lie next to each other, I have to make her feel like she’s in the spotlight, even if I want to be the center-of-attention. I have to listen to her talk while I’m dead-tired. Nevertheless, she’s my baby, I chose to marry her and have wonderful kids together – these are my responsibilities and choices. Where once shoveling the driveway was to ensure I could get out to work, it will mean so much more when I have to do it for our kids and do it for bebe.
There are many obligations we have in life, whether we are prepared for them or not – life does not care. Life does not care whether you WANT to deal with them, they throw it at you anyways and EXPECT you to. I asked myself, am I ready to take on these responsibilities? Am I ready to be a good boyfriend, a good husband, a good father? The only thing I’m sure of right now is I’m ready to be a good son – or so I try. These responsibilities are something we choose to sacrifice ourselves for – I realize that once you have “others” involved… your life is not simple anymore.. you are not thinking for 1, you are thinking for 2 or perhaps many. Such is growing up and that is perhaps why some people choose to stay single or not have children. You’ll notice that many couples who do not have children are often much younger for their age – because they simply do not carry the same stress and burdens. They need not consider saving money for future-planning and they don’t have to worry about leaving money behind. They can earn a dollar and spend a dollar. They don’t need to stick to a schedule that revolves around someone else. However, as much as all those things sound alluring, I would have to say I still love the family life. As much as it will suck that I have to get up before bebe and the kids to and prepare everything, be the one to fall asleep last after having tucked them away, I’m willing to do so. Knowing that I have a world full of responsibilities waiting for me as bebe and I get serious and bring new life into this world, I stand steadfast and anxious.
These responsibilities are often sacrifices on our behalf. Responsibilities come with rewards and also comes with much juggling. What is the most important to tackle at X time or is Y-item more important? Everything bears on your shoulders and perhaps I’m thinking VERY old fashion, where the guy is the “man of the household” (I can hear the feminists knocking my door now), bebe and the kids rely on me to stay strong and to protect them. The protection may be physical, emotional, psychological or just a sense of security, but I cannot be the weak link… I’m not being strong just for me, when I may feel like breaking down to cry, but I have to be there for them. Just a few nights ago when bebe was yelling at me, she told me she couldn’t feel that happiness when she gives/sacrifices for me. It was like being stabbed in the heart and the knife being slowly pulled out. How would you feel if someone you loved and cared for told you something like that? I was stricken… I felt like as if my whole life had just washed away. Although now things have calmed down and perhaps those words were simply said in-the-moment, the pain still needs to be diluted. Honestly, I wish I could delete those words from my head, as easy as I could delete it from my phone, but alas… such is not the case. Even now when I reread what she wrote me, I get shivers down my spine.
In a way, I’m kind of looking forward to having more responsibilities and as tough as it may be, it’s a good indication of happiness. Sometimes there’s no way you can put into words how to pay someone back for how they have helped. You cannot put a price-tag on everything in life and although waking up at 6AM to make breakfast for bebe may not be the most thrilling prospect of my life, if even she gave me that smile and kiss before she goes past the doors in the morning, all of a sudden, that alarm going off at 6AM may not suck so much. It took me a lot of time, considering whether I wanted to buy bebe’s Valentine’s Present, because it is the most I have ever spent on a girl before. The present was very much from deep down.. that is.. deep down from my heart and from my pockets, LOL. I’m not going to kid you, that set my credit card quite a bit and that’s why I want her to wear it often. I hope she brought it out with her this time and wore it… and that I can see that beautiful necklace on her when I see her on Sunday. So many small things in life mean so much… more than what people could ever place a “value” on it.