There’s has been some chatter lately about my state of mind. Let me be clear right off the bat, my state of mind is the best it’s ever been. There is no way a person can look at my life and not come away astounded that it is as good as it is. Make no mistake about that.
Let’s look at the facts:
When I was younger, I had a severe drinking problem. I have not had a drink of alcohol of any kind for the past 35 years this October.
When I was younger, I couldn’t hold on to a job. For more than three decades now, I have been gainfully employed in the same career. The last job being good but the next job always being better. For the past 12 years, I have worked for the same agency and for the same man in a related field. It is by far the best job I’ve ever had. In fact, it is a job many people would love to have. You can’t have it. It’s mine. I hope to keep it until I retire.
When I was younger, I couldn’t handle money. Today I have no debt other than house and car.
When I was younger, I was evicted from an apartment for failure to pay rent. Today I’ve been a proud homeowner for the past 25 years. I have never made a late payment that I can remember. I have lived in my present home since 1998.
When I was younger, women baffled me. I had no idea what made them tick. Today they still baffle me. Just ask my wife, Eileen. We will celebrate 25 years of continuous marriage this August.
When I was younger, children confused and confounded me. I would look at my older brother interact with his kids and was amazed at how well he took to being a father. Today I have two grown sons, one is 20, Sean; and the other is Brennan, 25. They are right now going to summer school in Tokyo, Japan. Sean is then heading to Santa Cruz to finish his undergraduate work in psychology while Brennan is poised to graduate from California Lutheran University in December with a degree in journalism. I don’t know how well I took to being a dad, but I can tell you my idea of happiness is lounging around listening to my kids breath.
When I was younger, I was alone a lot; isolating from the outside world. Today I have more friends than I am probably worthy. I thank my lucky stars for their friendship. When I was newly sober, my dad, God rest his soul, gave me a brand new Toyota Corolla. It was great but it was better when I gave my dear friend, Will, a ride in it. He said: “It’s better when you can share it.” He was so right. Friends make life work.
When I was younger, I did not believe in God. In fact, I was angry at those that did. I thought they were mediocre people sleeping through mundane lives composed of one tedious task after another. Today, every night before I get into bed, I get on my knees and thank God for this glorious live he has seen fit to allow me to live. And when times get tough, and they do from time to time, I remember what a mentor of mine would say to me: “Relax, Steve: You’re not God. You don’t know what tomorrow will bring.” So true.
As I said, my state of mind is the best it’s ever been. And I think you know why. I can’t begin to tell how grateful I am for all the blessings I have. And one of the blessings is my past. I am grateful for my past. I will not shut the door on it.
And finally, I want to thank you all who read this column from time to time. Supporters and critics alike, thank you. Talk soon.