I found an old note in my phone - in the notepad app where I have hundreds of notes which is how I remember anything.
“Life Repair” was the title of it, but almost everything on the list had to do with moving. Haha.
As I was practicing guitar last night I was doing some thinking - I do a lot of free thinking while I am playing that is unrelated to the playing. It’s like doing deep thinking while you’re driving or something, it’s an activity you can do without thinking about it and it has a mindfulness aspect to it.
Anyway, for some reason the thought that came into my mind was, what are the biggest mistakes I have ever made? If I made a list of the top 5, what would they be and why did I make them?
I’ll spare you the details, but it was actually hard for me to come up with 5 huge mistakes.
The first one on my mind of course is moving into the city and moving downtown, and I knew that was a mistake at the time. At the time I thought I was doing this for H and giving her what she wanted. I was sacrificing for her, which to me is a loving act. But really, it was shortsighted. It was a rookie marriage mistake. I didn’t recognize that giving her what she wanted was not the right thing for us because if I am unhappy then the marriage will suffer, because the marriage is a one made of two. It will affect her, it’s not that I can just deal with it while she likes living in the trendy neighborhood close to her work and she’s 100% happy and I’m 50% happy. What ended up happening is that she’s 50% happy and I’m 0% happy. Like I said, a rookie mistake I won’t make again.
I also feel like I abdicated some of my responsibility to ensure we are safe, generally. Really, Minneapolis has been going downhill for some time, especially the downtown area. It’s very different from when I first landed here in 2009. I knew this, I saw the trend, I did this against my better judgement. I avoided conflict - short term pain - and ended up with long term pain. This is a lesson I won’t need to repeat.
Of course, sacrificing for others is core to what we should be like, especially us as Christians, but not every sacrifice is actually helpful and sometimes the most living thing you can do is oppose someone and not give them what they want. I see that now.
It was also a season of our marriage where there was a ton of conflict and where things were still being established. To be honest, the first year was not good. I don’t have generally positive memories of the first year. Of course there were many good times, but there were times that I felt as though I wasn’t cut out for marriage and that we barely knew each other and that I’d made a mistake. But I was wrong about that, and the higher commitment that marriage is for a lifetime and there is no plan B is what kept us together, and it worked. I think 80 or 90% of men who were where I was would have ended it at some point, but the commitment held fast. There is so much wisdom in that.