Last night, we were watching the Superbowl, me in a pleasantly hazy exhaustion up far past my usual Sunday bedtime watching ads, Arthur texting with his brother and actually watching the game. Arthur has a pretty big soft spot for Peyton Manning and thus was rooting for a Broncos win.
I’m not an NFL fan for numerous reasons (college is a whole different story, although I wonder these days about the ethics of watching a sport I’d never be excited about anyone I was close to playing due to the high injury risks), but I do love narrative arcs and I’m a sucker for a good story. As much as I grumbled every time Manning was made the big news (because as far as I can tell, the Broncos defense mostly won the game), I wondered if he’d go for the sports-fairy-tale ending, announce his retirement and sail off into the sunset.
At the end of the game, with reporters pressing him over and over and many allusions to his likely pending retirement, Manning said something that didn’t give the neat ending but that surprised me a bit. Manning responded that this was an emotional night after an emotional week and said “I got some good advice from Tony Dungy, and that’s not to make an emotional decision…I’m going to go kiss my wife, kiss my kids, and celebrate with my teammates.”
Around the third week E was in NICU, I got a cold, couldn’t see her for a week, then had the NEC scare and the rollercoaster started on a downward dip after the high from E surviving birth. This kicked off what I can best describe as a mindset of resolutely looking forward as we raced along through the lows and highs of the last year, which were some of the most pronounced I’ve ever experienced. We’d barely moved into our new place, had a baby in NICU, new job for Arthur, new position for me, my brother died, and yet, here I was, worrying about whether or not we should make plans over the next year or two to move to a different city, which would have also entailed (another) job change. I wondered if I was on the right career path and the feasibility of starting a master’s degree in a year or two. This was noteworthy because I could barely keep a handle on everything as it was, let alone adding another major responsibility. I found myself justifying this mindset by saying I was “considering the future” and “being realistic”.
Ha. I was, to put it bluntly, escaping. There’s a wonderful rush that comes with a new endeavor, the blank, unmarked pages full of possibility. Certainly, the promise of fresh starts seemed a heck of a lot better than the hard, slow work of relearning the everyday rhythms of a stressed marriage or just f*cking dealing with the terrible loneliness of suddenly being my parents’ only living child.
Last night, though, hearing those words about not making serious decisions that can reasonably be postponed during a time of intense emotion finally hit me. It’s good advice. While we’ve got one or two fairly serious choices that do need considered in the next few months, the rest of it can wait just fine. I think I’m going to take a page out of Manning’s book there and just celebrate the victory of being in a relatively happy, stable, sane place before we start exploring those roads.