Late last spring, as the school year was drawing to a close, I got to thinking about my life’s mission. For the last 16 years it’s been easy to describe, “My life’s mission is to raise three functioning adults to release into society.”
I have the problem of being future oriented, and have a hard time living in the moment. For example, I enjoy the planning and preparations for a vacation far more than I enjoy the vacation itself.
It is this future orientation that initiated the depressive spiral I suffered last fall. Right after Labour Day, kid one being halfway through high school really hit me. I was confronted by the fact that my time with him was drawing to a close, with his brothers soon to follow.
The time is approaching that I will no longer be “Daddy.” They won’t need me in their day to day lives, feeding, clothing, teaching, protecting, and all the other things we do to raise our kids. When they’re gone, that mission is done.
When they’re gone, what is left?
When the boys are gone, that is the moment I truly enter my third, and final, act. When I’m no longer “Daddy,” but just, “Dad,” I will find myself with hours to fill, and no children’s needs to fill them.
I have routines, hobbies, interests. I have a beautiful and loving wife.
But I have a hollowness inside, and if I have nothing to fill it, then the Grey Mist of Depression will fill it for me. This is a problem.
Perhaps this is where my future orientation problem becomes a boon. I know what’s coming, and I know that, absent a mission, something to dedicate myself to every day, the depression will win. I will, as Wifey said, “Devastate four lives.”
I cannot do that.
At that time, back in June, I realized that all my writing, all my videos (even the video on this topic), everything was directed toward my efforts to survive my depression. I have been casting about, looking, seeking, but for what?
A new mission.
A reason to get up, to get me through the day, something to keep the depression at bay.
But what? Therein lies the rub.