There is an episode in the X-Files where Mulder, after literally years of unfolding events, gets to and confronts “Deep Throat” – the secret informer from the Government. This is the moment he and all X-Filers have been waiting for, when he asks the source the number one question that everyone knew the answer to – “Are there aliens here on earth?” The reply from Deep Throat is so simple, so poignant, so basic almost to the point of being an anti-climax : “Mr Mulder, they’ve been here for a long, long time.”
I’ve always remembered that scene. I don’t know why, but I do. Perhaps it’s because all of us, in our lives sometimes know exactly what the right answer is. We know we should leave home or take a better paying job or eat healthier or breakup with someone – we know it. We just don’t want to admit it, so we wait and we chase after someone or something to tell us exactly what we know already. I suppose you could call it a process of validation. But it could also be called a process of denial.
Just be honest. And be happy. If you know what that right answer is.
That’s what I try to be most days if I can. And being happy means doing things, buying things or spending time with those you want to. You know what you need to do to be happy – don’t wait for someone else to validate that. Life is too short.
Being a father of three young ones is fun but isn’t easy. Being a very task oriented person, I find it sometimes incredibly stressful and I have to keep reminding myself that looking after them is a process, not a project (with milestones and fixed end dates). I need to enjoy the process. There is no end date. In fact, in all likelihood my end date would come before this process ends. So my stress of planning for their future, paying all the bills, saving enough for everything they would ever need – that’s good…but’s those are little checkmarks in the process, not fixed milestones. I, we, have to enjoy life today.
So as much as it’s a responsibility to be with and be all to my children, it’s also important to spend time with others. Like my wife, who is my best friend. Do we really have to wait till our children are teens or we reach our 40/50s before we become a couple again? Like my parents, who are growing older every year even as we joyfully celebrate our kids growing up. And like my friends, who not so long time ago, before everything else, were everything to me.
Just be honest. And be happy.