Why does it seem like those of us with the audacity to seek something else are generally viewed as either naive, selfish, or stupid? I keep coming back to this lately. To the idea that what I want is somehow strange or otherwise irresponsible. As you might know from the “About Me” section, I’m a single dad, and my world revolves around my son. And I love that, and have no regrets about the decisions I made when my marriage to his mother fell apart. As far as having him with me, with all the occasional difficulties it can present, it is infinitely better than not having him with me. But it has given me pause whenever I started to examine my desire, my itch, my want.

I have spent much of my adult life doing and being as I thought I should, not as I wanted, to be. I felt I had to take the safe road, carefully driving in the marked lanes and staying 5 clicks under the speed limit. But I wasn’t always that way…my teens and early twenties were marked by bold moves, explosive bouts of creativity, and believing in the power of my wildest dreams. As cliche as that sounds, why do we lose that? Where is it written that we can’t have that after a “certain age”?

I thought I had to be something I am not for my child. Not that I’ve been living a lie – I truly love many, many aspects of teaching – but any thought that deviated from the standard idea of what I had become was immediately dismissed as reckless. The irony for me now, as I reach my late thirties, is the realization that not living my desire, my itch, is actually the most reckless example I can set for him.

I want my son to know that chasing a dream is never naive. That finding and scratching that itch is never selfish. That believing in something more is not stupid. I am not about to abandon the world and all its trappings to become Buddha on the mountain. I will not place my tiny family of two in any hardship or danger. I will not take from him any part of the world that he knows and loves. But I am going to start living.

I am going to start living the kind of life that I want him to live.

What the devil is the point of surviving, going on living, when it’s a drag? But you see, that’s what people do. – Alan Watts


Bryan Johnston

Former high school English lit & drama teacher. Current writer, stand-up comedian, & improv performer. A big switch? You betcha.

International expat for 12+ years with stops in Beijing, Dubai, Shanghai, & Guangzhou. Dad to a university sophomore, an eleven-month old charmer, & the two best doggos. Lover of funny things & people. Oh, and craft beer.

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