Family Man

Cover of "The Family Man"

Cover of The Family Man

Dear Family Man,

I have had similar moments to the glimpse down the path you didn’t take that could have been. Much the same as you were a successful and talented businessman, happily living a single life; I am a successful and talented career woman, happily living a single life. No children, no husband and no boyfriend to speak of. I am peacefully and contentedly surrounded by friends, loved ones, a gorgeous city, routine workouts, marathon goals, career, career, career, my own business and nameless hobbies. I go where I want to and when I want to. I come home when I want to without any worry about obligation toward another and knowing there is no one outside of myself depending on me for their own survival.

Yet, every now and then I flash back to what could have been. Much the same as you, Nicolas Cage, waking up one day in a new life where you didn’t leave your college girlfriend Tea Leoni for a London trip I think about what my life would be like if I didn’t leave my college boyfriend for California. Clearly, there are no regrets, in fact, I am truly aware of how everything lines up to fulfill the purpose and the direction my life is meant to take. However, I can’t escape thinking every now and again about what could have happened if I’d turned the other way when I reached that fork in the road ten years ago.

I love the plot of this modern-day Frank Capra story because when you wake up to find you are married with two kids living in a suburb of New Jersey you wake up kicking and screaming and desperately working to find your way out of this bubble and back into the life you’ve led for the past 13 years that you have grown so attached to, love dearly and couldn’t imagine to be any other way. The contrast between the two is the sharp, hard-lined, neatly aligned edges of a career life in comparison to the messy, blurred, chaotic life of a Family Man. For all my curiosity about what could have been I am just as aware that I would probably be doing everything I could to claw my way back into the life I lead now.

But, what if?

Day by day as you grew in your new life you learned the lessons that are most valuable and most difficult to understand in the life of a single person. Suddenly money (as good as it is to have) wasn’t everything and you even shocked yourself by realizing there are some things money can’t buy and those things end up being more valuable than anything that can be bought. Yes, you’ve traded in your ferrari for a mini-van that never starts, your big shot President-of-the-Company job for being a salesman at your father-in-law’s tire shop but at the end of this Dickensian adventure which would you actually choose? Which would I choose if given a chance to live, even just for a moment, the road less traveled?

Even as I think about this in my own life I’m aware that it’s not just my life that would have been changed, it’s the lives of all those around me. There would be some people who I hold dear to my life and to my heart now that may not have had a space or a created opportunity to find their way into my life if it was a life of a ten-year marriage, two kids, a dog, family vacations and Saturday mornings with kids jumping on the bed while my husband flipped pancakes downstairs and my only ten minutes of peace in the day were when I was in the shower. At the same time, there may be people who would have come into my life that I’ve missed out on because my life is the life of a ten-year career, Saturday mornings that are solely for sleeping in uninterrupted, no kids, no husband, vacations that consist of several days in a row where I do nothing but lay on the beach, showers that last as long as I’d like and no pancakes.

It’s hard to know right? There really is no good answer to be had but every now and then I have a glimpse and I wonder, if I was back at that same fork in the road would I stay or would I go?

Love Always,
Sunny

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