Over the last month + change, my girlfriend and I began watching through How I Met Your Mother, and for anyone who knows me or who has been around this blog for the past ever, you know that HIMYM is one of my favorite shows. I’ve long held the belief that the writing inspires thought and the way the story unfolds in a semi-realistic way. Of course, television is the least realistic interpretation of life, but still. There are shining moments in the show that have always stuck out to me, Marshall’s father dying in Season Six, the entirety of the Finale, Barney dealing with his first meeting with his father and Robin’s struggles with work versus her day to day life.
I could fangirl over HIMYM for another thirty thousand words, but I wanted to focus on a specific scene that hit home with me in an all new way as I was laying in bed with my girlfriend watching the show, in Season Six, the episode that we discovered that Marshall’s father died I was in shock. The first time through it hit me so hard I had to take a break from watching for a couple days. On a technical level, I loved the writing and I loved the way that they worked it into the show itself, because it felt real. As real as fantasy could be, I suppose. We weren’t told he was sick, we weren’t given any foreshadowing until about halfway through the episode. When it hits it hits hard, and I always focused on that part of the final scene, when Lily gets out of the car and tells him what happened he says:
“I’m not ready for this.”
Every time I’ve watched it I’ve felt the same. I’m not ready for my parents to die. Even if I know when it will come. I have a hard time accepting it, because it’s my parents. I mean it’s my Mom and Dad. Of course, there will be a day and I will deal with those feelings when they find me. Right now, I want to talk about what I saw that was different. How much my life has changed since the last time I watched the full series and how it’s become a bookmark in my life.
In that scene, Lily tells Marshall and he grabs her, hugging her tight as he fights back tears. Then the camera pans out as they just hold each other on the worst day of this character’s life. Which stuck a new chord with me this time.
The last time I watched through How I Met Your Mother I was single, living with my friends and spending all of my time playing Assassin’s Creed, smoking cigarettes and working on Mean Shadows, the first official installment in the universe I’ve created. I worked at a restaurant and was reveling in the massive piles of nothing that I really had to do.
Fast forward to today, and I have a woman in my life I would give everything for, and a circle of friends that three years ago, I had only really begun to know. By now they’ve solidified themselves as permanent facets in my life the likes of which will be difficult, if not impossible to remove. I work two jobs and I’ve written many more pieces, novels and short stories, I’ve rearranged my business and my whole life seems to have shifted, but there has been this underlying feeling the whole time that I have not forgotten.
I feel like I’m not going anywhere.
Not to say that I am actually at a standstill, I work tirelessly, but I’ve been having growing doubts about my place in life. What I should be doing now that I’m nearing 26 and have found myself still working in the restaurant business, hearing echoes of my first trainer back in my first restaurant telling me not to get stuck there. I’ve gone back and forth about the course my life has taken enough, and as I watched Marshall grab Lily in that scene it connected me with something I haven’t realized I’d been feeling.
It was overwhelming, almost.
Last month, I was having a hard time writing. I’d fallen behind schedule and didn’t feel like writing anything ever, putting me further back in my yearly plan than I’d wanted and try as I might, I couldn’t get ahead. I felt this pang of desperation that I didn’t have the energy to get away from. The combined effort of my frantic schedule and the work I couldn’t finish on time drew out depressive tendencies within me. So when I was offered the second job I just began, I took it without a question. I knew deep down that I needed to do something, and I realized what that feeling was when I watched Marshall’s dad die for what is likely the fiftieth time.
It was the realization that I have someone else to protect and care for. My life is no longer about me, it’s no longer just me at home. I’m not the only mouth to feed. I’m not the only soul to care for anymore.
Sometimes that can be hard to handle, as someone who had grown rather accustomed to being alone, having a partner can still be stressful at times, but I never run from that stress. I embrace it. I embrace it because I’ve realized in the time we’ve spent together that whatever I am doing, she wants me to be doing the best for myself. If that’s writing, or gaming, or sleeping, or what have you, she wants the best for me and I’m not used to that. I’ve had my parents who want the best for me, but they were always laid back and really only called me out when I brought my frustrations or disappointments to them. Then they’d say I needed to get my shit together, life isn’t like that when you have a partner. They are always around and they know damn well when you aren’t living the way you need to be.
I found that out in the best way I could have a few weeks ago when I was unloading all of this stress onto her and she laid in bed silent until I finished, and asked me if there was anything else, she asked me if she could help and I told her no. I’ve always been better at managing my suffering alone, but then she did something I didn’t expect.
She put her hand on my back and said:
“As long as you get to keep writing, we will be okay.”
I didn’t say anything then, but that was the moment I knew that I loved her more than anything else, even my writing.
As we watched HIMYM together, I had the unique experience of seeing all of those same scenes from the perspective of a new man.
A man who wasn’t a lone wolf anymore, a man who had a purpose and a method to secure that purpose. A man who finally wasn’t living for himself anymore.
For a long time, I thought that song was by Air Supply, don’t know why, but it’s always stuck in my mind.
Maybe it’s because having someone in your life that tells you they will be happy as long as you continue to pursue your passion is kind of like having a steady supply of air, all the time.
I’m Huey Lewis + that’s The News.
Thank you so much for reading today. I hope you enjoyed it.
If you want to check out more, I’ve got all the recent work from March below! Lifeis+19 is cooking along at an alarming pace, I’m amazed we’re already a week in. It’s felt like no time has passed at all.
(Speaking of time passing, don’t forget to set your clocks forward tomorrow!)
I hope you have something + someone to love. ❤
Salt + Iron Productions
Categories: Umbral Dawning