The Most Important Person in my World: A Moment with Bill Reflection
An Old Man Reflects
I’m in the twilight period of my life. If averages have any validity I have about ten more years of life ahead of me. Oh sure, I may not be average. I just might beat the odds and live another thirty years, but I’m not betting the grocery money on it. I’m a realist by nature so there is no denying the simple fact that most of my life has already been lived.
It’s been interesting to say the least. There have been enough potholes to cripple the biggest of vehicles, and I have hit most of them. Some I hit by accident. Some I chose. The good news is that I survived and I’m still standing strong.
One thing the potholes of life give us is a perspective. Unless we are brain dead, we learn from our poor navigational skills. I’m a big believer in pain as the master educator, and every time I hit one of those potholes I hurt and I learn from it.
And the greatest lesson I have learned is the subject of this reflective piece.
Who is the most important person in my world?
No, It’s Not Her
If you know anything about me then you know how much I love my wife, Bev. She is an angel sent to me by special delivery, and not a day goes by that I don’t thank the gods for her delivery.
But she’s not the most important person in my world.
I am the proud father of my son Tyler. He is thirty years old now, and I love him as much today as the day he was born.
But he’s not the most important person in my world.
I am surrounded by friends and family and they are so very important to me. They provide me with love, support and strength, and I can’t imagine life without them.
But they are not the most important people in my world.
So Who Is?
At the risk of sounding egotistical, the most important person in my world is me.
It took me fifty-eight years to figure that one out, but it changed my life when I finally grasped it.
How can that be, you ask?
In a nutshell, self-love is the key to loving others. Until I learned to take care of myself….to love myself…I was incapable of fully loving those around me.
Thus, I needed to learn to take care of Number One.
It begins in childhood.
I was a good kid. I did what my parents told me to do. I acted as they expected me to act. I designed my life so that I was the perfect son, a son who reflected all of their dreams and desires.
The most influential book I have read
And It Continued
I was a such a good friend. I made other people happy. I met their needs. I ignored my needs, sacrificed like a good little soldier of life, and met theirs instead.
I was such a good father. A single parent for fifteen years, I made sure my son was never lacking. I protected him, loved him, and nurtured him, oftentimes at the expense of my own needs.
I was a good husband, when sober. I was a great employee and employer, always watching out for fellow employees and fellow workers, always striving to please them and cater to their wishes. What do you need? What can I do for you? Let me do that for you. I’ll be glad to take care of that for you. Naw, I always have time for you. Sure, I’m a little busy, but who needs sleep, anyway? Who needs quiet time? It’s highly overrated, right? Who needs time to self-reflect and practice self-growth? There are people who depend on me and I’ve got to be there for them.
Man alive it was exhausting.
And it almost killed me.
Eight years ago I was in a hospital, completely dried up, empty, with nothing left to give anyone, including myself.
And then the clouds parted and the sunshine of truth warmed my soul.
I needed to take care of myself.
I needed to find time for me.
I mattered every bit as much as those around me.
I needed to give myself permission to take care of Bill.
How about it? Do you love yourself?
And so the Recovery Began
The road of recovery is a long one for sure. We do not change a lifetime of harmful habits in one day. Deciding to change is the first step, but actually changing can be a bitch. You know I speak the truth. I can see you nodding your heads.
I slipped and fell quite often. I found comfort in my default setting of helper and enabler. That’s where I was at home, my safe little cocoon where I could deflect thoughts of myself and embrace thoughts of others.
But day by day change did happen. I wanted it badly enough that I was willing to leave that cocoon and venture forth into a new world of self-growth. I gave myself permission to nurture Bill first and others second.
Eight years later, the patient is doing quite well, thank you very much.
I gotta tell ya, it blew me away to discover that I could do both, take care of myself and help others. In fact, the healthier I became, the more I was able to give to others. Go figure that one out! There was more of me to give by taking more of me for myself, like the multiplication of fish and bread in the Bible.
Today I stand before you the picture of emotional health and because of that, I can be the friend to you I always wanted to be.
Tomorrow Will Be a Day of More Growth
Ten years remaining? Twenty? Thirty? I say bring them on, because every day that I have left will be a day filled with love…for you…and for me. I’m going to wring every ounce of passion out of my time remaining. I’m going to howl at the moon and bask in the sun. I’m going to see all the colors of the rainbow in my lifetime and I’m going to radiate those colors so you can share in them. I’m going to kick ass and take names, hit the highway of life in fifth gear, tires screaming and gears a’jammin’, the wind blowing in my hair.
And as I cruise down that highway, I’m going to scream to the gods I LOVE YOU AND I LOVE ME, and DAMN THIS THING CALLED LIFE IS GOOD!
Hop on board if you want the ride of your life.
2015 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)