But of going through life feeling numb.

Eef Barzelay’s new CD has a song called “I Love the Unknown,” which was also on the Clem Snide CD Your Favorite Music. We are big Eef fans in this house, and I have been listening to his new CD a lot. As I was singing “I Love the Unknown” in the shower one morning, I had to laugh at myself. I am about as far from loving the unknown as any person can be, and even Eef Barzelay can’t trick me into throwing caution to the wind and taking a bus to “the place with the most allure,” wherever that might be. I like my ordered existence, and I like lists and plans, and I happen to think that’s a perfectly acceptable way to live. The unknown is a scary place, full of . . . things that are unknown. Let me get my calendar out and we can schedule some things instead. The past few weeks have been particularly bad specifically because many, many things have been up in the air.

But then, there’s the end of the song, the part that goes like this:

The doctor asked him what he was afraid of,
just what was he running from?
He said, “It’s not a fear of success, nor of closeness,
but of going through life feeling numb.”

Well, that might be a little bit Fight Club, but maybe the man does have a point there. As much as I like my ordered existence, my routine, sometimes I feel as if life is passing me by and I am not paying attention. There is always something to get through, something we must do that we would prefer not to do, and so we count the days away rather than embracing the time that we have.

I learned a lot of things from my dad: how to drive a stick shift, how to change the oil in my car, how to hammer a nail. Those are all useful, but he also taught me about life and about shaking things up. I have talked before about how he would take us out of school to have a day with him at the mall or at the fair or just on his delivery route. I certainly value those days spent with him in his truck more than I would have remembered whatever I missed that day at school. When you have a family, it’s hard to say that you love the unknown, because you are looking out for more than just yourself. But my dad would never have advocated going through life being numb. He loved fiercely, he cared about people, and he wanted more for me than feeling bogged down by the life going on around me, wishing the days away until the next milestone.

When I took my new job, I wasn’t sure that my dad would have approved. He saw how hard my mom worked as a teacher, and he did not want the same for me. But I know he would have approved of some of my reasons, including wanting to be able to spend more time with my friends and family, especially in the summer. This is my first chance to catch a breath in a while, and as the calendar of our summer stretches out in front of us, so many days left to fill, I have to admit that I don’t mind that sort of unknown quite as much. I appreciate this summer more than I did when I was used to having summers off all the time. I am going to do my best to make it count.

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