“Begin at once to live, and count each day as a separate life.” – Seneca
I’m dreaming. I’m in my home and I see my two children in our first floor living room, one crawling towards whatever colorful object she sees, the other running through the house pretending he’s a monster truck. Being a parent is both extremely rewarding and severely constraining at the same time. With both my wife and I working during the day and busy taking the care of the kids the rest of the time, maybe my dreams are the only time I have to reflect. For someone who has been very independent for most of my life, it’s been a challenging transition. But I’ve heard people say “you have one life before kids and another life after”. So far it’s been true. I know I should be grateful, I should feel blessed at the life I’ve been given. But I can’t help but feel there is more I’d like to do, and not enough time to do it.
I open my eyes. This isn’t my bed. This isn’t my room. I’m a bit confused. It’s like the scene you see in the movies where someone partied too hard and wakes up hungover at someone else’s place but don’t remember. But I wasn’t drunk last night. It was just a weekday night and I went to sleep by 10pm while reading after putting the kids to sleep. I can’t even remember the last time I was drunk. Maybe my wife drugged me in my sleep and had me moved out of the house as a joke? No, she’s not really into pranks or humor.
I’m in a large gaudy one bedroom apartment and there’s a muffled chaos of activity outside. I look outside the window and I see sky scrapers towering all around and above me with people and transports scattered below. I think I’m on the top floor.
I take a deep breath. I look around the apartment and find pictures. They’re of me in places and with people I’ve never seen. I only recognize my parents and brother. I head to the bathroom and splash some water on my face. I take another deep breath. Whatever is happening is out of my control so let’s just take it slow and figure things out one step at a time.
I can’t figure out the password to the computer. I have a phone but it’s also locked and I don’t seem to know the pin. I take a deep breath. I laugh out loud. I look in the fridge. I find some pizza and a beer. At least he keeps his fridge stocked, and pizza and a beer seem like the logical thing to do at this point.
I sit at the kitchen counter and ponder my next move. I look for something to tell me the date. I find an issue of an investment magazine with yesterday’s date, and the TV morning news channel confirms today’s date. At least I haven’t awoken from some long coma, and there aren’t zombies everywhere with the world on fire.
I look around the apartment some more but careful not to move things around too much. I glance around for hidden cameras waiting for someone to tell me I’ve been “punked”. But I don’t think they do that to average people.
In an underwear drawer I find a shoebox of cash and some extra old school cell phones. I grab one. No pin. I call my wife. Wrong Number. That’s concerning. I don’t know any other numbers by heart so I realize I need to head out and find the internet.
I grab some clothes and head out the door. I have no idea what’s going on but I hope it’ll all end soon and I’ll get back to my reality. Part of me feels a little thrilled and curious, but the majority just wants to know that my family is okay.
I open the door. “Good timing!” A woman plants a quick kiss on me and heads into the apartment with coffee and a bag of something in her hand. “Oh boy,” I say to myself.