Control or Chaos ...



The house has been my pedagogue of late. Lessons have been taught and learned. Chaos is no longer the enemy. Workers and village people are regarded more kindly. I have been touched with a more benevolent air. With a project like this, in a place like this, one could choose to become an obnoxious braggart and social bore but would risk repercussions down the road. In the village, it is far more advisable to be soft-spoken and elusive, yet welcoming and unaffected. We are gracious to our neighbors, treat our workers well and make sure observations of flaws are directed to the contractor, for him to deal with directly.

My wife and I put forth a united front, and in public, I always yield to her. It is best to speak with one voice. In private we discuss things in greater depth and often change our minds on things as the project unfolds and we see how things are working out. What she says in public reflects our joint view, though my contribution is not always clear or on display. My ability to envision interior designs, materials and colors are no match for the wife’s. I bring other talents to the table.

With so many aspects of the house being fleshed out simultaneously there is a very real sense of chaos these days. One wonders how it will ever be brought together into a unified whole. I am confident, however, that through the chaos, we will together, be able to find solutions and compromises that will result in a home that is a true pleasure to live in. This is all so new to me and removed from what life was like for me as a single man.

It is helpful to remember that when my adventures began I was not yet twenty-one and there were no cellphones or internet. In the years before marriage, my life was lived in pursuit of total freedom, control and what I call life experiences. I didn’t want to read about things. I wanted to live them.

On many an occasion I recanted a story to my older brother and received his inevitable rejoinder, “Oh, so-and-so wrote a book about that. You really ought to read it.” To which, the gist of my retort was, that I had already lived it, and experienced it myself, and had little interest in reading someone else’s account. I suppose I could be a bit more charitable in my replies but, brothers will be brothers, and I have little tolerance for normal social niceties, at times. I prefer probing questions and thoughtful discussion of a complicated topic. Fortunately for most, I don’t pontificate all that often.

My wife is very adept at explaining me to others, who find my gauche silence in social settings and lack of social graces on occasions, daunting. She explains that I’m just not good with groups but you can ask me anything and I will attempt an answer. The main caveat being that if you don’t really want to know, then don’t ask, for the answer could be rather longwinded. I love it that my wife knows me so well and seems to love me anyway.

Life has been altered measurably by marriage. It should be evident by now that “marriage” for us is not what most people think of when they hear the word. That is potentially another blog entry, however. Life experiences are still on the menu but are now shared, not solitary. Control is no longer the keyword. Life nowadays is more about the artful management of chaos.

When you are a solitary individual you can control virtually everything. The more people in your life the more chaotic it gets. I am clearly happier and more content these days but feel I have lost the edge I once had. I don’t feel that I have the same mastery of my life. Then again I have learned to surrender, some of myself, to the capable care of my loving wife.

Having been so self-reliant for so long it was no easy task for me to relinquish total control. I am taken aback by the eagerness of some people to surrender control in their lives to various individuals, organizations and beliefs. People online readily advertise their inability to solve problems by asking for help when a few minutes of thought or a, quick google, would make the answer clear and reinforce a sense of self-reliance.

Asking for help is something I have always been averse to. For me it would imply a weakness and vulnerability that I would not feel comfortable showing. That was then and this is now. Where once there was little room for error, I am now part of a team and somebody special always has my back. A nice feeling to be sure, but it leads one to become a bit careless and lazy I think.

It suits both my Machiavellian and private nature to have a wife who’s social manor is highly refined, yet completely natural and applicable to most social settings. Previously it worked to my benefit to allow people to see in me in whatever guise they desired. I did not feel compelled to correct their misconceptions as long as they worked in my favor. Today I find there is more freedom of action, expression and thought, with my lovely wife there to make excuses for me.

I am sometimes asked if I miss my old life or have any regrets about where I am now or where I might be heading. I’m definitely not thrilled with the physical limitations brought on by age. I am happy with who and where I am, though. Past experiences are only of interest as molders of my present day self. There is no sense of nostalgia or regret. It is more of an introspection and evaluation of key events and stages in life. I endeavor to enjoy the journey and live in the moment being thankful for all that I have...