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A Few Things I've Learned After 14 Years of Marriage

August 12, 2014 will mark mine and Dalynn's 14th wedding anniversary.  We are both quickly approaching the point where we've been married for longer than we were ever single.  Pretty crazy, all told. We got married at the tender ages of 22 and 23.  Neither of us had any idea what life had in store for us.

In our marriage, we have flown to the highest heights and we have seen the bottom of the world, the pits of despair.  From amazing family trips where we made extraordinary memories, to dealing with our oldest son falling prey to cancer... and surviving.  And many, many things in between.  In that time we have been at each other's throats, but much more often we have acted as a support for one another, bearing each other's burdens, giving solace when necessary and a swift kick in the ass when it wasn't.

I have to say, she is my best friend, the person I want to talk to every day.  I value her opinion and perspective above all others, so much so that I've given her the rip cord to my life's parachute.  She has pulled it on several occasions.

There are a few things I've learned in that time.  Take them as you will and consider them for your own life.  What works for us may not necessarily work for you, but I'd like to think there is some store of wisdom here after 14 years.

  1. No matter how angry you are, always consider how you can best serve the other person.  Marriage is about serving.  If you bring a selfish bent to the table, it's not going to last.  Often, taking this stance diffuses your own anger and helps you see what your spouse truly needs.
  2. When faced with supporting the world or your spouse, support your spouse.  The only time this doesn't hold true is when your spouse is engaging in self-destructive or damaging behavior.  Guys, if it comes to your mom or your wife, your wife, every damn time.
  3. Put your money where your mouth is.  Everything in one pot, everyone shares it.  Nothing can divide a house faster than "It's your turn to pay the rent."
  4. Live your life as one entity when it comes to the important things.  If your spouse sees something as sacred, you should, too.  This is not to say you can't have differing opinions on topics, or that you have to live life glued to each others hips, but it does mean that you may need to hold two opposing things sacred at one time.  This is not easy.
  5. Don't be your spouse's conscience.  You were not designed to tell them every time they are wrong, nor are you capable of judging their righteousness in all facets of life.  You are there as an advisor, a trusted confidant.  Put bluntly:  Don't nag and let your spouse make mistakes.
  6. When one of you cries, you both do.  If that's ever not true, it's time to examine your heart.
  7. A good and well placed boundary is worth a thousand comforting whispers.
  8. Give 100% without requiring or asking your spouse to do so.  The only way this thing works is if you focus on your side of the equation.  Marriage is not about two people meeting half-way.  It's about two people going all the way.  Caveat:  this does not hold true if one side is engaging in abusive behavior.

These past 14 years have seen the absolute best in my life, and the absolute worst.  I would not take a single day back.  I feel blessed to have the wife that I do and to have the marriage that we have.  My life would be a mere shadow of what it is now without her.

But it has not always been easy and every day involves some sacrifice.

The Go List

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I like to go, and I like to take my family with me.  Nothing can be more fun than taking the entire family out for a memory making day.  

This past weekend, we went to First Landing park, walked the trails, then hit the beach at the narrows.  One of the best parts about the trip this weekend?  Besides all of the fun, giggles, squeals and joy, was the base price:  $5 for parking.

But, as it turns out, finding relatively inexpensive ways to make memories with the family can be difficult.  For me, taking the time to think, on the spot, about what to do without going back to the old standbys, can be tough.

This weekend, though, I came up with a great idea: The Go List.  Each day, I'm going to endeavor to write down one inexpensive family trip that I can take, one place we can all go, for less than $20.  The idea is that, when it comes time to take the family somewhere fun, I can just scan the list I've already come up with and pick one of the pre-thought-out ideas.

Here's a picture I took this weekend.  Hopefully there will be many more to come!

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Wearables: What the Future Holds

Allow me to dream.  About the future, about our never-ending quest, as a human species, for health, and where we stand in that quest.

You step out in the morning for your daily run.  Perhaps it's spring in the Southeast, the mornings are cool, the pollen is thick in the air.  A bay is miles off, but its influence on your weather is unmistakable: temperate winters with evenly hot summers.

As always happens, your central unit is cataloging your every move.  Your shoes provide data, your light pants provide data, your shirt provides data, your watch provides data.  As you begin your 6 mile trek, your central unit processes not only your movement in terms of kinetics, but also in terms of absolute position upon the earth.  Your every stride is cataloged in terms of energy spent.

Your new eye contacts display the distance run, the time it's taken, your average pace.  You notice that you're a few seconds off your best, so you start pushing it.  Pretty quickly, your drenched in sweat, but your personal HUD tells you that you're on pace for a new personal record.  It's going to be a great day.

You dial up that latest music you've been listening to, or perhaps your favorite podcast (though, really, none of the kids now-a-days call them podcasts.  What an anachronistic term!).  All of this with a few quick flicks of your eyes in concert with your teeth and jaws.

And quickly, over the next hour, you bang out a personal best.  It feels good to be greeted to the sights and sounds of victory as you end your run.  It's pretty amazing to reflect on where technology has come from.

You leave your run and head in for breakfast.  As you eat, the implants in your teeth catalog your caloric intake, updating your daily nutritional log.  You check it quickly to see how you're doing at maintaining your weight, and you see you're doing well.  So long as you keep up the daily activity, you should be fine.

Once again, as you move through the house getting ready for work, the various sensors take stock of your movement, and what it means in terms of your daily health.  Even the small things are cataloged, not a movement is wasted.  You know, within 10 kilocalories, how much energy you've expended.

After you eat, the nano-network you have floating in your bloodstream goes to work checking that things are working well.  While each individual nanocite is pretty dumb, as a network, they can measure an almost perfect picture of your blood health.  They can catalog your insulin levels, your blood sugar levels, the number of lipids in your blood stream, so many things.

A few weeks ago, you were warned about a possible cold you had contracted.  Your doctor's office, the same place that all of your data is daily uploaded to on a regular basis, contacted you with a prescription for heading it off at the pass.  Luckily, you didn't have to suffer through it.

Of course, nano-networks need updating as new bugs are found and old bugs are retired, so you have to visit your doc every quarter or so for a new rendition.  Luckily, the rendition is taken via pill format, so not too bad.  They've been getting pretty good in the past few years, but there is still a long way to go.

As you head off to work, you reflect on what you know about yourself from technology at the age of 90.  Your able to monitor and assess your daily health with the input of the vast array of sensors that now adorn your body.  Your every caloric intake and energy expenditure is kept in balance.  You have an early warning system within your blood that can detect an incredible array of sicknesses.

You are the healthiest you've ever been.