Mrs. Grizzly and I talk about the simple pleasures in life a lot: a walk to the park, a good meal cooked at home, a long run, coloring pictures with Baby Bear. We’ve converted our life over the last year to focus on those small things, those joys that populate every day of our wonderful little world. But there’s one thing above all others that we have regained as we’ve walked this path. One simple thing that has come to reside in our hearts that we didn’t have before: hope.
We were drowning. Our lives, our jobs, the demands we were placing on ourselves pushed us a little further under the water every day. Mrs. Grizzly worked 100+ hour weeks with barely a chance to shower or sleep. I spent weeks traveling, sleeping in lonely hotels in New York and London. We battled through traffic jams every day and had to listen to people tell us everything we weren’t doing for our daughter. But the worst part was that there was no end in site. Just more and more of the same piled on top of everything that came before. More money, but also more time away from each other and Baby Bear, more demands, and more stress. We had no hope that our lives would be any better than the rather bleak existence we were living through. We trudged on almost numb to the fact that days and weeks and months were leaving us behind never to return. We had no hope and didn’t even remember when it had left us.
It was a strange experience, regaining that hope. Recapturing the ability to recognize that your life can get better. It came gradually, day by day, as we started charting our new path through life. Every small change got us a little closer. Every little luxury we cut drew us a fraction of the way nearer our goal. We started to realize that we actually were going to be able to get out of the rut we had carved. We started to find the time and energy to actually live the life we wanted for ourselves and our daughter.
Experiencing the return of that hope for the future was a tiny little miracle that stood alone. When you see a path forward everything gets a little brighter, the shadows start to recede. The slings and arrows of the world become a little easier to deal with. Suddenly your job, which once seemed unbearable, is now tolerable if you know there’s an end in site. You can enjoy the time you have, knowing that there will be even more of it in the future. Of all the simple things in life that my wife and I have regained by walking this path, the greatest of all is the return of that hope.