At some point everybody has played Chutes & Ladders, right?
3 years ago I ran up a really big ladder and went straight to the end of the board. In a year I jumped from single young guy living with my brother to married home-owning step-father of 2. I got close to the end of the game, close to where I wanted to spend the rest of my life...as a husband and father, living out my days with my family. I had everything I wanted, and somehow I'd skipped most of the journey most people have to go through to get there. I watched other people come up the board behind me. While I was sitting near the coast-to-the-finish line, friends were getting married, getting pregnant, having their own kids, and coming ever closer to where I had found myself. While I was getting comfortable, Steph was apparently deciding that marriage wasn't the right thing for her. She says now that she's just not meant to be married, so I found myself sliding down a chute I had hoped to avoid.
The interesting thing is that I'm back at the start, but now I've had a taste of what I've always felt I wanted in my life. I've been a dad and a husband and I did a damn good job at both, thank you very much. (Most days Steph would agree that I was a good husband, if she's not mad at me for something else. She's never blamed me for the marriage falling apart.) I'm behind where my friends are now. They're married with kids and houses and I'm living with my parents, trying to pay off debt from the marriage/divorce before I set out on my own again. I know I can get back to where I was. Obviously there are casting changes that needed to be made in the Saga of My Life, but I'll end up where I want to be. It's just going to take more rolls of the dice to get there.