If the average life expectancy in the United States is 77.8 years, it means my time on this spinning globe is 38.5% complete. This reality has forced me to ponder what I have done with the 262,800 hours I’ve been given so far? What type of man stands before me 15,768,000 minutes into life? The answer to that question leaves me completely unsettled. Unsettled, because I do not like the answer.
Where do I begin? There are the habits I struggle to control, parts of my past I wish could be undone, insecurities I fight so hard to hide and flaws I am desperately trying to correct. This doesn’t even touch upon all my regrets. There is the ever-present tinge of hesitancy that keeps me from taking steps of faith. Or the hurtful words I’ve watched fall from my mouth I tried to stuff back in my big trap. There are too many unfulfilled dreams that have witnessed their sunset and as a dreamer this means my perspective has slowly grown dim wondering what could have been. Growing up I was told time and time again of the “potential” I possessed. As a kid, you take these words as a compliment. As a grown man still experiencing life at status quo level, that same expression haunts you.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am a neurotic, whack job only part of the time. I do sleep on occasion. There are numerous ways I’ve been truly blessed. Waking up every morning to the glory that is my fine behind with my fresh morning breath kicking takes a very special woman. An even greater one is needed to deal with me during the rest of my waking hours. Jenn has been my wife, confidant, encourager, therapist and best friend for over 7 years now. She compliments my weaknesses in ways I am still learning to this day. It amazes me the way she nurtures our two beautiful little girls: Maddie (4 years going on 14) and Paige (almost 2 years old). Her patience and consistency with them blows me away because those are virtues the Lord hasn’t blessed me with just yet.
Any parent will know what I am talking about when I say having children is a game changer when it comes to dealing with your issues. Nothing prepared me for parenthood – not even the 5-pound bag of sugar I had to carry around for a week in middle school. At the end of that experience I made chocolate cupcakes and let me tell you my kid was delicious. Bill Cosby was right. Kids do say the darnedest things. They also ask some really challenging questions, watch you like a hawk and are absorbing everything you say and do like a sponge.
The motivation to get your stuff together changes when you have rugrats looking to you for guidance, love, support and wisdom. Your words of insight need to have more depth than don’t eat the yellow snow and always look both ways before crossing the street. When I examined my parenting style and habits, more questions arose: What impression of life am I leaving with my kids? Will the relationship I am creating now with my daughters allow them to have confidence to come to me when things get difficult later? Where am I dropping the ball as a husband and father? It was easy to sweep my uneasiness about the person I was becoming under the rug when it was only my life that was affected. Marriage pushed this concern up a notch, but it wasn’t until kids came into the picture that the uneasiness about my growth wouldn’t go away.
So, now I am left to figure out how to cure my 30 years of mess. Growing up in the age of the instant information from the Internet, 2-minute microwave meals and TiVo, I was hoping for a quick fix to the slow progression that is the man I’ve become. If my last trip to Barnes & Noble is any indication then a “new” me is attainable in exactly one month time. Scanning the shelves, I realized there was a book out there promising to remedy any situation and make you whole again. If I put my mind to it I could heal a broken heart, tame my stress, learn Sanskrit, get the job I want or attain thin thighs all in 30 days or less. Simply amazing. In four weeks or less, one could find the man of their dreams and get married, take hold of their finances, become self-assured and have a powerful memory. There was even a book for experiencing mind-blowing sex. I passed that one on to Jenn.
My trip to the bookstore sparked an idea that could have a profound affect on my reconstruction efforts. What if I could cure 30 years in 30 days? This crazy question is the foundation for the blog that you are reading right now. Year 30 for Mr. Ripa is going to be one of change and growth. Yet, being a man with a wealth of issues, there are numerous things that need fixing. So, I’ve decided to choose 12 issues, habits, regrets, hopes or fears that yearn for my attention. I am going to devote 30 days (1 month) to each one. This blog will report my progress, failures and growth. I have no clue what the upcoming year will hold, but I invite you to join me on this journey. Think of it as a community therapy session. After all, blogging is a lot cheaper than seeing a shrink.