I’m sitting at the airport in Ft. Myers, Fla. waiting to board a plane that’ll take me home. I like to go on these trips. But it’s always better to go home.
Ever since I shook myself free of the fear and anxiety that came with my earlier form of OCD, I’ve had a craving for these journeys, perhaps for the simple reason that I can go through an airport and onto a plane without feeling like nails are being hammered into my intestines.
I think there’s also a high I get from going to a security show and kicking ass with my writing (I wrote eight posts in my security blog at this latest conference). Writing conference stories used to leave me harried. No more.
But on my last trip, to San Francisco in February, something went wrong. If you look at my OCD Diary posts from that week, you could see me coming unhinged. I wrote about discomfort I felt as everyone told me what an honest guy I am because I’m not always so honest. In fact, that week a lie was eating away at my conscience.
I came home to a wife who was understandably angry with me. I was also sick as a dog, burning with fever. We worked through it, but it woke me up to the fact that I can’t do it all, 24 hours a day like I sometimes want to.
I needed to find the middle speed, which is hard as hell when you have an obsessive-compulsive mind and an addiction or four to keep in check.
I re-realized that I had to be truer to my top priorities: God, my wife and children. I can’t stop doing all the things I do. My life has evolved this way because, I think, I’m meant to give a part of myself to helping others. At the very least, it’s payment for the second chance God gave me.
But, to use corporate business-speak, I need to do it smarter, and be willing to drop it altogether for family. That’s one of the truly sick things about OCD: You know who and what you should be paying attention to, but the mental pull still drags you to less-important things that seem awfully important at the time.
That’s my blessing and my curse.
Right now, all I care about is seeing Erin’s face and holding her again. That may sound sappy but it’s true. I also want to hug the kids awake in the morning. I want lots of quality time with them and to take care of the things around the house Erin has been stuck dealing with on her own.
I want coffee from the fancy machine I got for Christmas. And I want to return to the routine that is vital for my long term abstinence and sobriety. These trips make it hard to hold that part of my life together, though I’ve managed so far.
I missed some things at home this week, including seeing Duncan get dressed up as a character from a pirate book he read for a class assignment.
He and Erin made the costume together.
Erin always makes the boys’ costumes at Halloween and that is just one element of her greatness: We could just buy costumes in the store and the kids may not mind. There’s nothing wrong with buying a costume.
But to Erin that’s unthinkable. For those kids, only hand-made reflections of their fertile imaginations will do. It’s the harder way, but to her it’s the better way.
It’s that kind of spirit that keeps me trying to be a better man. It’s what I should do. But it’s also what she deserves: a better me.
Whether I’m pulling it off or not, the important thing for now is that I’m headed home. And that makes me extremely happy.
In a couple weeks there’s another security show, and it’s right in Boston. I love going to SOURCE Boston and I plan to write several advance stories about it next week.
But unlike past years, I’m skipping this one.
The kids are on vacation and have activities galore. Sean turns 10 years old that week. And it’s Holy Week. We’re devout Catholics, and the stuff at church is going to come first.
I won’t lie: It’ll be hard to miss it. I’ll miss seeing people and feeding off the energy.
But in the grand scheme of things, home is where I belong.
My security friends will understand.