I poured myself a morning cup of coffee and waited for my husband to come downstairs and join me. Mornings are our time to connect, recap and plan. We mostly spend this time recapping, because we live the majority of our lives apart. My husband works extremely long hours in his family business and I enjoy volunteering and adventure (whether it be travelling to India or taking long walks on the beach daily). These two worlds rarely intersect, but we love each other and respect each other’s schedules, interests and responsibilities.
We respect them, which does not mean we understand them. And at times this disparity creates some marital friction.
I am not saying that I am right…and he is wrong, or vice versa. Rather, there are times we need to come together and find compromise. And compromise means listen to what I have to say, and agree with me. (Not really, but yes really). Especially when it comes to adventure and taking time off. School vacation week is right around the corner and I suggest a road trip of sorts. I market the idea to him as a ‘road trip’ because it sounds entertaining and cheap. Knowing my husband the way I do, and taking into consideration that we have two daughters in college right now, I figured I needed to find a way to entice him to entertain the idea.
He looks at me perplexed, takes a big sip of coffee, swishes it around in his mouth for a minute (or twelve) and responds, “we can’t afford to do that right now”.
“Wait, did you just say that?”
“Define afford, does that suggest time or money? Or both?”
“Is this about president’s weekend and being in the car business?
We haven’t been on a vacation, or spent more than 1 day together, in the past five years. So I would like to approach the bench (or couch in this instance) and argue that afford couldn’t possibly mean time! Therefore, he must be implying that we can’t afford the cost. A few tanks of gas, some dunkin donuts coffees, several Panera salads, and four nights in a mediocre hotel. I began doing a quick mental cost-benefit analysis and blurted out, “Life is short, shithead!”
Yup, I solved the equation with short math. (I felt so smug and proud) how could he argue that point? I must admit, I did feel a bit badly about snapping at him, however, there are times when we need to help bring others into reality, helping them see the light! There are many famous quotes that imply my outburst wisdom….they just said it more profoundly.
“In the end, it’s not the years in your life that count, it’s the life in your years” Abraham Lincoln
“We do not remember days, we remember moments” Cesare Pavese
“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.”Henry David Thoreau
At the time, I didn’t think my outburst through…had I quoted Abraham Lincoln, I think he would have been impressed and felt a positive connection with my message. However, we were on a time limit, soon he would be running out the door, late for work and I would be barked at incessantly by my dogs to take them for a walk. Therefore, my comment seemed abrupt and spot on.
Something amazing happened…even though my delivery was less than inspiring, he simply stopped, let out a big sigh and agreed with me.
And then, just like that, he was off to work.
I hoped that I would feel triumphant, like I had won something. However realizing how poignant my words were stopped me in my tracks. Did I always take my own advice? Was I making my life decisions based on opportunity or letting fear and excuses get in my way?
As I walked my dogs around the block I thought about all of the things that I wanted to do but chose being a “shithead” over being adventurous. At that moment, I decided to avoid being a shithead, at all costs, in every moment, from this day forward, for better or for worse….
I look forward to tomorrow mornings “coffee” talk…I wonder what mysteries of life we will uncover…together, this time I will refrain from name calling!