Friday, February 17, 2006

...Happy Endings

Occasionally, I worry I’m too negative. Part of the cause for my concern is realizing when I look back at my life, many of my happiest and best memories are not of times where something really spectacular happened to me, but instead are memories of times when something I really didn’t like ended.

I can’t express strongly enough how much I used to dread the month-long stays I had to endure every Summer at Jewish sleepaway camp. With religious services every morning, prayers before and after every meal, mandatory Hebrew and Jewish studies classes nearly every day, swimming lessons in a freezing pool and disgusting food three meals a day, perhaps you can see why this wasn’t the most appealing way for a kid to spend his Summer. But I don’t regret having attended Summer camp, because without it I could have never experienced the euphoria of the camp session finally ending and actually getting to return home to finish off the Summer engaging in the activities I actually did enjoy – watching “Chico and the Man” reruns and catching up on all the pro wrestling storylines I had fallen behind on the previous month.

I’ll never forget the pure joy I felt after completing my last final exam my Senior year of high school; knowing I was done with the monotonous 5-day a week, 8:00AM-3:00PM public school schedule forever. Four years later I was equally ecstatic when I graduated from college, realizing I would never again have to deal with homework, essays or the constant stress of knowing there had to be *some* kind of studying I could be doing.

After working in sales at the same company for six years, I don’t think I’ve ever felt such an immense sense of relief as I did the day I gave my notice after accepting a position with a competitor. One of the most frustrating parts of working in sales is that there are always so many outstanding issues surrounding you on a daily basis – unhappy customers, products on backorder, projects gone haywire, etc. When one problem finally gets resolved there’s always another to take its place right away. While the other job didn’t ultimately work out and I actually found myself crawling back to my old company on hands and knees within a few months, the feeling I had that one day of an immense burden being lifted off my shoulders, finally having a clean slate after years of having the same nagging issues constantly haunting me is something I’ll always remember fondly.

When I got married, sure, I was happy to commit myself permanently to someone I was wildly attracted to and to have finally found someone who accepted me and loved me despite all my faults and weaknesses. Yet I have to confess I think I was equally excited knowing I would never again have to spend such an exorbitant amount of time strategizing how I was going to get laid next.

Finally moving into our new house this past weekend after a nearly 10-month wait for construction to be completed was a wonderful moment. Not because it is truly *our* house, not one that has been already lived in by several families before us, not because every last detail of the house from the flooring to the window coverings to the countertops were all personally picked by me and my wife (as opposed to inherited from the previous owners) and not because it’s twice the size of the home we’ve been renting or the starter home we owned previously so we no longer feel cramped. No, it’s because for the foreseeable future, I will not have to go through the tortuous, miserable, backbreaking process of moving again.
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