I have been piecing together thoughts about this letter for quite awhile. Whether I am in the shower, exercising, or in some quiet space of meditation, I have pondered what I could say this year. The competitive Michael ever present and always looking to outdo my prior year’s piece. I am confident this is part of my personality that you both enjoy and despise. I know I do.
All of these letters and all of these ways in which I share with you how much I love you, observe you and revere the world which we have created, and it finally dawned on me that I have not said much about me in these notes. I broke out my copy of Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet looking for insight. What I found was profound introspection, and perhaps that is what was needed.
I was sure I would never marry again after my first marriage dissolved. I have told you this on many occasions. However, I think I have mostly told you it was about me, and not wanting my heart broken again. However, I think it is more about you and not wanting to be the asshole that burns love and trust to the ground to satisfy parts of me that I do not love, but somehow allow to guide me.
I know the depravity that exists in men, and I grapple with it. I know the rage of perfectionism and the tempest of envy. I know the malaise of personal dissatisfaction, and I take it to impressive heights whenever possible. I take slights from phantoms and praise from morons. I use them to my disadvantage and suffer the course of the route. All of this for ends and purposes that seem to emanate from some malevolent part of my gut. I theorize that I may eschew this kind of drive and that I may find some peace reading on some high porch while you peel away the hours lying on a hillside like some scene from a Wyeth painting. I long for this dream like some sequence I have seen in a Terrence Malick film. We might get there, and I’ll be damned if we don’t try.
Luckily for you, I am getting older. You see the vitriol slipping away. You see the fire as toasty without the near conflagration of our shared joy. I do not have to promise anything that nature does not offer us. The desire to create is now finding its way to exist without the need for constant reassurance. At least not from anyone but you. I know your capacity to see the beauty, and I know your willingness to love without judgment, at least not of me. You are still way too hard on yourself, and I will accept my role here as the proverbial pot calling the kettle black. At the same time, would you trade anything? Would you push aside this older and more fragile me in return for some other direction in life?
I know I would not trade the next 40 years of success for a minute less of your time. You see, that is the me that I love. The guy that simply finds contentment with the time he gets with his wife.
There is little doubt I could be in Europe working every month, and there is no doubt it would be a glorious gig: for most. For me, if you could not be there then what would be the fucking point? What is the point of fulfilling desires if the life in which I am most happy is put aside for that ambition?
I did not pursue a monied career because it was not the direction I could stomach nor the best use of my abilities. I did not choose a wife out of the societal convention for similar reasons. I wanted to save you from my insanity, but it looks like you may have saved me from it first. We go onward, and we choose the path that best suits the outliers we are.
I am certain I have never loved anything so much as I love you. Thank you for showing me that.
Happy ninth anniversary Juliet!