There's a lot you can do besides those two things, work and raise a family, but they're a big part of a person's identity, which able-bodied, neurotypical people, don't seem to understand. There's being a friend, community member, volunteer, even just surviving, you are giving those around you experience and awareness that they would not have otherwise.
Just try to leave things one step better than they were the way you found them. You can never really know how far the effort will run. Like planting a tree for shade in which you'll never sit.
Great advice, right? But I'm still struggling to answer, "What are you looking forward to these days?" with anything more than "karate."
My ex and her new spouse had the baby for which she had been letting me plan while she made her exit strategy. It's even more brutal to let go of the baby we were so close to having, than it was to let go of her. I don't put my heart lightly into things, as can be seen with my commitment to karate.
At the dojo I've had to stop working with the children because my heart breaks into a thousand shards of sorrow when I see a wash of eager little faces, and none of them are mine. I am so proud of those kids, and worked enthusiastically with them when I was expecting my own. But I can't hold back the tears anymore when they come in, and the last thing I want to do is being my feelings into the dojo. That's where I go to get away from such pains and pressures, in the same way that a church pew takes away the pressure, like someone else is holding the reins for a little while. So until I'm stronger, I'm finding other ways to be useful there.
Medical school didn't work out. Marriage didn't work out. Children didn't work out. I don't feel hopeless, like the last two things could never happen. Rather, I feel like it shouldn't be this hard to achieve such basic elements of human life. It took seven years of fighting the laws for the right to marry her, and I, not believing in divorce, was ready to commit. I was ready to give up every possible comfort to raise a child instead, to give it everything it needed. But it was not to be.
I help so many people, hundreds or more, and I accomplish more than I can get down on paper. So why can I not be satisfied with that? In Japanese there's a word, "Bosatsu." Bosatsu is one who gives up heaven to help others get there. Why isn't that enough for me? With as powerful and effective as I am, why can I not commit to such a life of valor and kindness? It seems like that's my strength, and that I would be happy to have identified my strength so I can maximize the good that I will do with it.
I've decided to pursue a Master's degree in Social Work. After that I may pursue a Medical Social Worker's license, which puts me in the medical field, albeit not where in the field I had planned to go. I hope with all my heart that through my martial arts training and my graduate studies I will be able to let go of desires for myself, and learn to be contented with what I can offer to other people. We'll see.
All I know right now is that karate is holding me together, and if I lost that I would be in a very bad way. Thank goodness it's not going anywhere. It's a part of who I am and that's not going to change now.
This is a pretty emotional post but who's to say that inner battles are not just as real as the ones we practice to fight in the dojo? Balance... Balance.
It's time to find a new dream. Maybe digging down into something new will kick up enough dirt to bury the dead and deferred dreams. Face forward. All that healthy stuff. My marriage died, not I.