I grew up Mormon. That meant no alcohol, no girls, and certainly no drugs. I was taught that the caffeine in a single cup of coffee was all that was needed to land you on a slippery slope that would eventually end with you in a gutter, needle dangling from your arm, and I had zero desire to dabble with that fate.
And then life happened.
I graduated high school and moved out of my parents house seeing the world for the first time without religious filters over my eyes. I went to college. I traveled. I met people. At the ripe old age of 21, impregnated a female and was shortly after married. At 25 I was married with two kids and working in the Information Technology field. Although I was no longer religious I still held onto many of the morals and direction that were set for me as a child. My wife and I didn’t drink. We didn’t smoke. We didn’t do drugs. Our lives were living paycheck to paycheck supporting two kids with medical issues. My wife and I worked opposite shifts and rarely saw each other. There was cheating, pain, separation, and the 7 years that followed were the hardest of our lives. However the gears needed turned and the bills needed paid. We felt however that divorce would only compound our stress and put each of us in a situation less desireable than the one we were currently in.
A twist of luck changed our lives as we entered our 30’s and I landed a high paying technical job. This allowed my wife to stay home and focus all her attention on our two children and our home. Although money did solve a lot of problems, it didn’t make us love each other any more than before and the valleys we created between each other during our struggling younger years were so vast it seemed unimaginable we would ever be closer than acquaintances living together.
And then life changed.
I remember waking up one morning and feeling different. I looked over at my wife sleeping and thought, “Who is this person I’m spending the rest of my life with?”. She raised my kids. I’ve been living with her nearly as long as I had lived with my parents and I barely knew her. I sat there a full hour thinking about what I wanted from life. What I wanted from her. What she expected from me. I also had a feeling of anxiety. I felt I hadn’t seen enough of life. What if I died tomorrow and never really got to sink my teeth into this world? I don’t even have a bucket list! I slung myself out of bed and headed to the PC. My first reddit search that morning was “bucket list”. What did other have on theirs? What do they recommend? As I read through pages and pages of responses I started to see trends. Items that would repeat every few comments or posts. And to my amazement comments like, “LSD. Please do this before you die. TRUST ME.” kept surfacing. The first few I wrote off as a joke. Trolls, obviously… But pages and pages went by. More and more references to “Lucy”, “LSD”, “Acid”. How it can be a life changing experience if done in the right situation and with the right mentality. I needed a change. I needed to see the world, perhaps even myself, from a new perspective. I skipped lunch and by 2pm I had started my official bucket list. Some items included;
Learn to fly an airplane
Prostitute in Thailand
Buy a motorcycle
Stand on the beaches of Normandy, France
And at the top of the list, “Experience LSD”. I left 10 spots empty knowing that I’d have more to add to my list after a good night’s sleep.
The next morning I woke up early and started to look at scuba diving equipment determined to start checking items off my list. “Goddamn everything is sure expensive…” I thought, and decided I’d start with a cheaper item on my bucket list first. Short of driving around downtown and asking sketchy individuals where I can obtain drugs, I had no clue how to go about this. Five eye-bleeding hours later I had the basics of crypto currency, the dark net, secure Operating Systems, private / public keys, mulit-sig markets, and bitcoin scrubbing down. By that evening I had my first order placed for 10 tabs of LSD and when I told my wife just before bed, she was 100% convinced I had hit my mid-life crisis.
A week later I had my LSD in hand and the wife convinced this was somehow a good idea to try together. My parents took the kids for the weekend and at 9am on beautiful spring morning my wife and I, completely unprepared, each put a 200 micro hit of LSD onto our tongues while sitting underneath a blossoming cherry tree. We joked around about how we didn’t taste anything and probably got ripped off. We wrapped ourselves in a couple of big blankets and talked about our history together. 30 minutes later we were laughing so hard our cheeks ached. I couldn’t get two words out of my mouth before hysterical laughing would erupt from my throat, which was so funny to my wife she was nearly doubled over in tears. Everything was so funny! For nearly an hour we probably only choked out 10 words in the midst of our laughing together. In the back of my mind I remember thinking, “This is the first time we have laughed like this in 13 years”.
After what seemed like an eternity we got ourselves together and our laughs turned into giggles and eventually only smiles as we sat in silence for a time. And then I took my first breath. I filled my lungs with the smells of spring and it smelled as if my whole life I’d lived with sinus congestion up until this point. In the space of 3 full breaths of air, I could sense my eyes swelling with tears and immediately forced them back thinking how silly it would be to start crying in front of my wife whom to that point had never seen me cry. But I could taste life. I could taste the dirt in the air and the pollen in the blossoms. I looked down at my feet and watched my toes wiggle in the green grass. Each blade felt alive. I felt guilty for squishing the ones directly below my feet and lifted my feet up to rest on the bench in front of us. I raised my eyes and focused on the trunk of our cherry tree and we breathed together. When my lungs filled with air, the trunk expanded and exhaled with me. Jaw dropped I turned to ask my wife if she was seeing this, and all she could say was “wow…”.
Tears were sliding down her face and she was looking up into the pink and white blossoms above our head. I tilted my head up with her and stared up at the branches. Bees bounced from flower to flower, birds landed on our feeders and plucked out seeds while we watched. Not able to hold back the tears I let them flow and didn’t care. The branches and flowers of the tree spun and crashed like waves of color around me.They tumbled and danced and exploded in vibrant colors all around us. I could hear crystal clear. My vision looked like some high dynamic range photoshop filter was enabled and magnified. I held up my hand and looked into my palm and it looked like it was pulsing with power, in and out with the trees, the grass. As the hours passed my guard came down. The crying didn’t bother me. I felt stripped of superficial fears. I finally turned my chair towards my wife and she turned hers to me and we sat a foot apart staring at each other with emotion. I saw her age in front of me. I felt I was seeing the fabric of our lives spun together in real time like threads of cloth.
I felt sorry for her, having to live her life with someone as selfish as I was. Her struggle over the years was just as real as mine but I never gave that a thought. Selfishness. I peered into her core, and she mine. When the waves of emotion calmed we spoke with each other. Not like in the past. She told me of her fears and passions and I listened on pins and needles. We broke down for each other and each took pieces of our walls down. When it was finally over and our minds were clear again that feeling stayed with us. The next morning we both felt amazing. We talked for hours about our lives and how much we have been denying each other happiness. What an amazing family we can have if we just work a bit at it. Everything seemed so much clearer and even months after that first trip we still felt as if we were excited for life again.
5 years have passed. We are nearing our 40’s and our kids will be in highschool soon. I’ve checked off all but one of my bucket list items above (I won’t tell you which ones…) and have added new ones, most of which my wife and I will complete together. And once a year on that same day in Spring we sit under our tree and get to know each other all over again.