Rinse & Repeat

Over five years ago, I set out on a path of intense self-reflection in an effort to become a better dad. I was between jobs at that point, and as I often did in such times, I leaned into my writing as my only way out. I’d been sitting on Midnight Son for five years, an autobiography I wrote and self-published when I found out I had a kid on the way and still no steady income to rely on. I turned those 130,000 words into 42 “neatly” packaged posts, and Jason Everett Miller’s Guide to be Human Volume 1 – The Apprentice was born as well as a companion podcast that went nowhere fast.

Volume 2 – The Journeyman exploded into being eight months later when the “leisurely” journey I began on February 23, 2019 devolved into to an emotional maelstrom by October. I’m not going to waste time here recounting those dark and stormy seas, but suffice to say I learned a number of important things along the way. Many of them gave me the audacity to claim “The Master” as the title for Volume 3 of this opus, though I’d be the first to admit several areas where I have yet to make significant progress toward the human I’d like to become tomorrow and every day after that. Chief among those is finding a partner to join me on this amazing ride.

My kid wants a sib or two, which pretty much dictates what comes next for daddy. I definitely want a second chance at appreciating the family life, so their instincts remain spot on as usual. The nuance they don’t understand is that in contrast to my confidence in most situations, I have a fundamental weakness I’ve yet to overcome. Despite outward appearances, my inner monologue remains full of self doubt and evasion. Part of leaning into karaoke and my writing is finding an identity that got sidetracked very early in life. I’d like to think I am finally becoming the Jason I should have been all along. I fucked up my first opportunity to be that me. Never again.

I really liked being married. Loved not being alone and adored being there for her. When it was good, it was amazing. When it was bad, it was awful for both of us for very different reasons. I spent a lot of time (and words!) taking responsibility for the part I played in the drama. She still hasn’t but that was never a necessity for me to forgive us both and move on. Despite my first marriage not working out the way I would have hoped, the nostalgia I feel for those years has never waned and my desire to try again is as strong as ever. I’ve learned to live alone with humor and grace, having spent most my life that way, but it’s not where I see myself this time next year.

I know it sounds absurd to contemplate starting another family at 53-years-old, but what else am I going to do for the last half of my life? I spent the previous 30 years figuring out my own bullshit, so I feel obligated to pay that hard-won knowledge forward in some positive fashion. I continue to work on myself and reach for my ambitions, but I’ve long understood that such accomplishments are better shared with family, with friends, with all those people on whom your reality depends. One fact remains. None of us get out of life alive, so the best we can do is live while we can. Strive while we can. Envision a more perfect tomorrow despite an imperfect today.

What does that means for this final volume of JEM’s Guide? I’m not sure. I only know that my story isn’t over yet, and I’m ready to get back to writing it, get back to living it. I have 41 more chapters to discover before I call this journey complete and move on to new creative endeavors. I hope to tell my next love story at the very least. I’ll likely restart the podcast and see how that feels. I definitely have dozens of people I’d like to interview, starting with my mom. Her story is one for the ages and begs to be told in every available medium. I have several more in mind. Beyond that simple direction and purpose, I’m happy to see where life takes me next!