Since February of 2011, I have been involved with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters Program. This has been a life-changing experience for me. Anyone who contemplates this should get involved if their schedule allows. As of last year, my schedule allowed. For the first time in over 5 years, my life finally had the structure that allowed me to do so. During a meeting at work at a local Panera, in November of 2010, I saw a flyer near the bathroom that promoted something called Operation Bigs.
I grabbed the flyer and put it in my pocket. I followed up with it, checked with my employer and gave it a shot. At that time, I was living in Southern Orange County with my girlfriend and was working throughout the North San Diego County area. I drove right past the base every day. It was a perfect opportunity and I capitalized on the moment.
However, life changes as life often does – and I found myself wondering if I would be able to continue volunteering when the program reached it’s one year mark next month in February 2013. The conclusion that I finally reached was “no.” With recent decisions to take my life transitions even further, I decided that I would begin transitioning “out” of the program.
While speaking with program coordinators, I debated if I would continue mentoring my “little” in the traditional Big Brother / Big Sister way, by picking him up at his home on base and spending time with him several times a month. However, those debates quickly ended today.
I found out that my little’s dad was transferred to a different base and that they were moving in two weeks. My little (11 years old) wasn’t up for talking about it too much, as I could tell he was still processing all this information. They were already packed up and living in a hotel until it was time to make the final move.
As we played today, which will be the second to last time I will likely ever see this young man, we both were clearly flooded with emotions. We talked for a little bit, but then reverted to playing. Enjoying the remaining time we had together was the best coping mechanism that we were able to deal with at the time.
As I sit here and write and reflect about this, tears stream down my face. Emotions run high as I realize that this stage of my life is drawing to a close. Another chapter of the life that I lead is about to end. Another page in the book of life is in the process of turning.
I sit here and write and cry. I don’t cry often and I used to hide it when I did. I felt that it wasn’t the “manly” thing to do. Crying was for sissies. Now, I am in my mid-30’s and am less concerned with projecting an image of masculinity. Honestly, I am not really concerned with much of anything any more.
Life is merely a series of transitions. Enjoyment of life and deliberately living in an efficient and effective manner is really all that concerns me any more. My desire for career success has been replaced with a desire to be a good man and a contributing member of society.
At 35 years of age, most of my friends are married. Moreover, most of my friends have kids. In addition to this, they have a great job, a house payment, cars, toys, etc. Most of my friends are stereotypical Americans “living the dream” and keeping up with the Jones’ in the house next door.
At 35 years of age, I am only beginning to determine who I am and where I am going. I live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, San Diego. More specifically, I live in the North County Coastal area.
As I wipe more tears from my face, I hear the buzzer indicating the current pomodoro is up.