I’ve been thinking about what I want to do with my life. For years it was about Michelle and I. Our life as a couple, my supporting her (emotionally and financially) as she built her career, our life with the boys, our life after the boys were grown and gone, and finally our life in the my later years. I was so happy it was all mapped out and that it was going to be with Michelle. Clearly that is not to be. So I’ve been in this, “what now?” mode.
Michelle and I had talked about volunteering (as a couple) with the Peace Corp once I was of retirement age. I have always wanted to do that. But I want to do it sooner than later. I need to get Dennis and Brad established and settled in their lives before I can just take off and think about myself. I figure 10 years from now they should be in good shape. They will be 26 and 24 years old (respectively). That would put my retirement at 54 years old. I would be giving up the Deferred Comp plan (I’m eligible for that at 60 years old) which is a sizeable chunk. I’ve done the math and the analysis. I know how much I need as a nest egg when I quit at 54. If I can get that together…by the time I’m 65 years old…between entitlements and my investments, I’ll have all the money I need to live on. It’ll be a stretch to get to “nest egg” goal in the next 10-12 years but if I buckle down, I can do it. I won’t need to sell my home either. I can hire a rental company and rent it out…that’ll be a way to build equity while I’m overseas.
Ever since Michelle and I have split up I have felt kind of rudderless. I feel like I don’t have any direction for my life past the kids. I have 5 years until Brad is out of the house to college. I want to enjoy my boys while they are still boys. I want to help get them started in life as men. I want to travel before I’m too old and tired. I want to give back to the world that has been so good to me. I want to be comfortable when I eventually retire. I can get all of that done. I’ve had a pretty decent life so far…I can make the second half even more interesting!!
My trip last weekend to New York was inspired. I was so positive and happy there. It felt amazing to be travelling and experiencing life. I’m not ready to have that as my occupation. I want to live and revel in Dennis and Brad. They are such great kids. I can see both of them being good men (for different reasons).
I feel good about this!
New York…what a wonderful trip. It was nothing like Chicago. I was so happy to be there. I worked on my journal and a poem for over 2 hours Saturday night. It was great to have that much time to sit in a corner of the hotel bar by a window and just write and think. MoMA is an amazing place and The Met is unreal. I can’t wait to go back for another visit. What an amazing city. If I was 15 years younger I’d move there.
I got home Monday night and ended up at a couple friend’s for the New Year. I haven’t been there in years. It was a cast of the same old people from the neighborhood. It was nice to be there. I ended up chatting with Kathy off and on for the majority of it. She texted me when I was in New York as well. I have to say, she is a remarkably attractive woman. It isn’t just that I think she’s beautiful and sexy, it’s how smart and funny she is. I’ve always had a thing for Kathy. Anyways…it’s nice to have an intelligent, funny, drop dead gorgeous woman to talk to at a party. I’ve always gotten the impression I’m someone who she tolerates but borders on the edge of mild contempt for. It’s like half the time I feel she hasn’t decided if she is angry at me but thinks she might be. I don’t know. Sitting with her and talking and her looking so beautiful just puts thoughts in my head about “what if” type scenarios. Silly I know. I love her hands. They are so delicate, elegant, and expressive. The same can be said of her neck. She has a woman’s full, perfect figure and her skin looks so soft. Her laugh is loud and when she is funny borders on the absurd…snorting is on menu. To top it all off she has some very unlady like habits that she manages to keep quiet and to turn feminine. We were in the kitchen and she just started to burp…quietly kind of to herself but not at all embarrassed about it (which…why would she be?). Anyway…Kathy Wilson is a stunning, sexy, intriguing distraction and a woman who is squarely out of my league…if for no other reason than she is completely uninterested in me romantically.
I don’t have a lot of time to journal because of how busy I have tasked myself to be this year. If I had more time to write today I would talk about the fucking conversation my Father and I had last night about Patrick. Suffice it to say, I would rather moon over how much I want to make-love to Kathy than I would analyze (yet again) my relationship to my family.
You may pick the idiom of the day
To dramatically highlight your part
To express the thing you want most to say:
To describe your mind and reveal your heart:
I will turn the page – over a new leaf
When one door closes – you’re breaking new ground
On a new foundation – new lease on life
They’re silly, they’re trite, they’re rarely profound.
My wish: begin as if never begun
With all my failures and wisdom retained.
Exempting the hurt which brought me here first
That memory I wish to be restrained.
Then my heart would be open, less wary
I would not be me but the contrary
I am late to strength.
it does not come easily
it does not sit well.
I still haven’t sent that letter I wrote earlier this month begging Michelle to take me back. I work on it a little bit almost every week day. I’m not sure why. The boys and I are better off without Michelle. I don’t trust her. I don’t trust her to do what is in my children’s best interest(s) if it conflicts with what Michelle wants. She is either not capable of seeing long term repercussions or worse, she does see them and is more concerned with her own wants and needs in the short term. Enough said about Michelle.
My mother wants me to come out to Arizona for New Years to patch things up with Patrick and Rae (that’s a funny coincidence considering my journal entry from yesterday). She said she feels like I have painted myself into a corner and don’t know how to get out. I got a bit short with her. I told her I haven’t painted myself into any corners. I said, “Patrick and Rae are fucking awful to be around. They talk shit about everyone. It is constant and it is stressful to be around. I am not in a corner. In fact I have reached out to them. They aren’t replying.” She told me she felt bad about the whole situation. I explained to her the ONLY part of this that I regret is how bad she and Dad feel. I know my mother went through a decades, long estrangement with her sister and they are both thinking about that.
I am still working on the same sonnet. Way more difficult than a haiku. I am still enjoying the exercise though. I assume this work is to Alzheimer’s what cardio is to heart disease or masturbation is to prostate cancer…preventative. I just laughed out loud writing that.
I sit and feel sorry for what is lost.
I dread and am frightened of what’s in store
Not knowing my loss’s ultimate cost
To my boys, myself and what was before.
Our lives were complete but now without you,
We feel insufficient, un-moored, not right.
We must search for (work towards) something that’s new
To sooth our pain and return to delight.
We cannot find joy in a new person:
She’d be inconstant, selfish, and hurt us.
I do not want us to lapse and worsen
We have come too far down this path to trust
She would want us and bring love to endure
That’s constant, stable, beautiful, and sure.
thought I was ready.
couldn’t be more wrong. I will
just keep doing the work
I’m not sending that fucking letter. When can I stop being sad about Michelle leaving? When will I stop thinking about her every single day? She has moved on so what’s the point of that letter from Friday?
I had a good weekend. I was home with the dog on Friday night. I went to a good friend’s on Saturday night. Sunday, I went Christmas shopping, grocery shopping, I washed and folded all of the laundry for the boys and I, did the most brutal squat workout, went to Brad’s soccer game, and then went to the movies. I was planning on working on my journal but I just didn’t have the time.
Monica and I continue to talk and text back and forth. That is something. I like her a lot as a friend and I definitely find her attractive. She has been clear that being romantic is something she would like to do. I know we aren’t what each other is looking for in a long-term, romantic partner. She’s a George Strait girl and I’m a Billie Holiday boy. Both are fine and super cool but ultimately not the best partners. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t love to get her naked and in bed. It also doesn’t mean I would use her and lead her on with implied promises of us being a couple. We’ll see. It would be nice to have a lover to share some time with.
So that is a bit of a change right? I’m hung up about Michelle but now I’m thinking about sleeping with another woman to fill that void. Jesus…I am a mess. I think I need to put more time between my relationship with Michelle and now before I entertain the idea of a new one.
it is about time
I turned the page. no one else
can. I might as well.
Driving home tonight I thought about my divorce. Specifically how I was able to move on almost immediately and Collette had a more difficult time. I had been thinking about (fantasizing really) about leaving her for a long time. We were so unhappy together, I wanted a different life. I know that is why Michelle has been able to move on so quickly. She had been thinking about (fantasizing?) leaving me for quite a while. She was ultimately not invested in our relationship. She went through the motions but was leaning towards leaving. I imagine it was the boys that had her holding on…that was the only reason. She doesn’t believe she could do what she wants to do in life while being with us. She thinks we would hold her back and stymie her ambition. I wish she had talked to me about it. I would have told her how proud we are of her and her accomplishments. I would have told her we could have made an internship out of state work. I would have told her I love her and we could make anything work as long as we were together. There is so much I would have said to her if she had just talked to me.
My drinking and her total lack of communication is what killed our relationship and destroyed the family we had built. The stupid, crazy, hopeless romantic in me still thinks it’s not too late. We could see a family counselor and start working on everything. That’s silly and naïve. Michelle is all rage and hate. She’ll never change that. It’s her armor. We are never going to see each other again. We are never going to speak to each other again. I will never find the intimacy and love we found with each other. We will find love again…someday but it will fall short. The only conciliation is what I said this morning, in 10 years I’ll remember how I felt but the feeling itself will be worn down. I hate that we are done.
I have been recording my blog posts in a journal. I am starting a new journal tomorrow. The one I have been using is almost full anyway. I’m going to put this one on a shelf, where it belongs, and leave it there.
I wanted to change
for three. I should work for the
two who deserve it.
I am surprised by the amount of boredom that comes with sobriety. I am bored…all the time! When I would normally stop off at a bar/friend’s house for a drink is just dead time. I can’t tell you how many times I say to myself, “now what?” The better I am emotionally, mentally, and physically…the more energy I have. The more energy I have, the more I am bored. There is only so much laundry to be done, I can’t clean the house all the time, the dog won’t go on endless walks, there are only so many books to read, so many movies to see, I can’t play games on my phone endlessly, I can’t work out more than once a day, it’s too cold to play golf…I am just bored, a lot. Looking at this from the outside I can see someone posing the question, “does being bored make you want to drink?” It doesn’t. That’s good.
Of course I think about Michelle and what we would be doing together. I’m not sure why I’m bothering talking about that…silly.
My therapist thinks we have reached the end of her usefulness. She pointed out several things that are different since we first met:
- Grief has moved (mostly) to acceptance
- Stress and anxiety are way down
- I am effectively using tools to manage the anxiety that remains
- My desire/need for control has abated
- I have been sober for 15 weeks
Consequently, I am happier than I have been in years…happiness is my “starting position”.
I have to agree with her on all fronts. I know I feel sad from time to time. I think about and miss Michelle in my life every day. Knowing she is happy and grateful to be free of the boys and me hurts and makes the “missing her” worse. That said, I wake up every morning feeling good. I don’t feel like a different person…just a better version. I started out doing this for Michelle (I could have become the embodiment of everything she wants and she still wouldn’t be with me. She left because she doesn’t want roots. She wants freedom.) This change is ending up being for my children and myself. I like this version. He is kinder, gentler, and more patient. The boys like it too.
Another good day. I feel great! I have nothing new to report in terms of my mood or sobriety.
I feel like I am getting a network of friends re-established. I have a reconnected with a bunch of people I lost touch with while Michelle and I were together (she didn’t like most of my friends. She made it pretty difficult, if not impossible, to maintain those relationships. Now that I think back on things…that’s disturbing behavior…right?). It’s nice to want to go out and be able to find a friend to join me. It wasn’t like that for a while after she left. I haven’t reconnect with everyone though.
It feels right to cut the toxic people out of my life. What’s sad is: at one point, they all meant something to me. They felt like a positive force in my life until I realized they weren’t. I don’t feel bad about it. It feels like a weight off of my shoulders.
I feel like Hedwig did in the last scene of Hedwig and the Angry Inch when he wanders out into an alley cold, alone, and naked. He is completely exposed and disoriented. He stumbles a bit but he keeps moving towards the end of the alley. In that moment, I feel hope for Hedwig. He is leaving this dark place and moving towards something better. Watching it, you get the sense that Hedwig is going to be okay.
I am nervous. I feel naked, exposed, and vulnerable. Even when I stumble, I want to keep moving forward. Luckily it is the only direction available to me.