Driving back from lunch I was thinking about the different ways to think about health. I boiled it down to: physical, mental, and economic. I took a personal inventory of each of those for myself, Dennis, and Brad from before Michelle and I split up to now.
It kind of feels like my life going forward is always going to be seen as B.K. and A.K. (before Michelle and after Michelle).
On all fronts we are doing well. For our physical health all you have to do is look at me and you can see a dramatic difference. I’ve lost 41lbs since then, I don’t drink anymore (I’ve only lapsed, getting drunk once since we broke up). Dennis and Brad are both super active.
Both boys are achieving in school and with their friends. Our mental health is much better. I sleep well and am generally happy these days, especially when I have the boys with me. They both seem to be the same. My/our economic health is better than it has ever been. I have more money saved than I have ever had in my life. I made less money last year than I did when Michelle and I were a couple and yet I have more money. It seems we are better without Michelle in our lives. Trying to make her happy was difficult and stressful.
To be clear here, Michelle isn’t to blame for my alcohol abuse and controlling behavior. She was a stressor…my reaction to stress was drink and control. The unhealthy way I had coped with stress/anxiety was my fault. I reacted to every stressor the same way. It didn’t matter if it was a person, my job, financial troubles, etc, etc. If I felt anxiety I alleviated that with booze and “taking charge”.
I had a dream about Michelle last night. We were sitting out in the yard listening to music and reading. It was a really nice day. I noticed in my peripheral vision these orbs. They were these balls of smoke or mist that were clearly moving of their own volition. I raised my hand to one and it moved away. I hit one and my hand went through it as you would expect, it dispersed and quickly coalesced again. I laughed when I noticed there were three of these things. Michelle asked me what they were and what I was doing. That was the entire dream. I guess it was a dream with Michelle in it more than a dream about Michelle. I’m not sure what the orbs or balls of mist/smoke represent and what breaking them up with my hands only to have them reform means. I want to think it is a good thing because I woke up after the dream with a nice, contented feeling.
Dennis and Brad are both doing really well. They are both getting really good grades (4.0 and 3.75 GPA’s respectively), their teachers all enjoy them in class, they are active with sports and exercise, they have active social lives with good friends, and the three of us spend a lot of time together. I love them so much. They make me so happy and proud. I have, maybe, 3 good years with Dennis before college. Add 2 years to that with Brad. That makes me sad…and kind of lonely.
I have thought about that recently, being lonely. I have never been lonely before. Before I married Collette I loved being single. After our divorce I didn’t mind it at all but now that Michelle and I are no longer together I hate being alone. My initial thought is because I don’t have Michelle…that’s why I hate it. That could be it, but it could also be as simple as I’m not drinking anymore as a way to pass the time so I’m bored…all the time. Sunday I was home all day doing laundry, working out, and reading…I kept thinking about going to the Interlude and just watching Golf and chatting with the bartender. I didn’t of course but it was in my head. I have read so many books since I quit getting drunk. I even thought about Michelle on Sunday…I miss sitting in her office reading while she was doing homework. That was so nice to be near each other like that.
“Missing Michelle” is just a place holder for missing someone to be connected with. Seeing the end of having the boys out there on the horizon is making being alone loom large. I ran into my (across the street) neighbor at the grocery store and ended up chatting with her for a while. When we finished she smiled and said, “David, you’ll find the right girl…just be patient.” It was random, off topic, and really sweet of her to say that. She’s right. I will find the right woman. Michelle wasn’t it. She and I would have been well suited for each other in 10 years when she is older, has more life experience, and maturity. She has been reduced to a symbol of what the boys and I are hoping for.
It has been over a week since I have posted anything. Having blogged almost every week day the last 6 months it seems strange. I feel good: calm, sober, fit, (if not happy) content, and in good spirits. Work is going really well. That is a small contributor to not journaling…I’ve been too busy to take the time.
I have a date tonight. It was set up by the match maker. It’s a 36 year old woman named Laura. She is in HR, never married, and she doesn’t have kids. To say I’m nervous is an understatement. I keep thinking I should cancel. But then I remember back to when I was dating before Michelle and I met…I felt the same way then too. In fact I felt the same way about Michelle before our first date. So I will just keep remembering a quote I saw once. “Personal growth lies just outside your comfort zone.” This is definitely outside my comfort zone.
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!
I have good friends! I was discussing my journal entry from this morning with an old childhood friend of min. He was floored by what I had put up with Michelle. He then said:
“You know what? Instead of a ‘reasons you shouldn’t be with Michelle list, how about a list of things you want in a relationship. You need to quit looking behind you and look to the future. All you’re doing is spinning your wheels thinking about how things went wrong with Michelle. You’ve done the therapy. You’ve effectively addressed (and continue to address) your anxiety and drinking. Move on man.”
He is right. I am just hurting myself and wallowing in what was…like another friend said a few days ago. I need to look towards the future. I have my meeting with the Match Maker this afternoon. That is a step in the right direction. I was thinking this morning I was going to cancel the meeting. I am not. I need to take steps forward. Not keep looking the in the rear view mirror.
I’d like to amend my last sentence this morning from, “fuck me for being so obtuse and stupid for so long!!!” to “fuck me for being too focused on the past and not looking towards my future for so long!!!” I’ve handled my mistakes from my last relationship. I’m a better man for the next one. Hopefully, I’ll find a wonderful woman who will love me and the boys. Someone we can share the love and joy the boys and I have have together.
Like I said…I have good friends. He told me exactly what I needed to hear this morning. I feel a lightness in my chest. It’s where my anxiety usually is.
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.
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.
What a difference a day makes. I have struggled for days with depression. I was texting with a friend last night trying to get my brain under control. I realized I hadn’t had a good, full night’s sleep in almost a week. I took some Advil PM and went to bed early last night. This morning I feel brand new. I slept through the night and didn’t dream about anything (especially Michelle). I still have a touch of fog on my brain from being tired but I’ll clear that up tonight by getting to bed early again.
I am so grateful this morning. I am grateful my mind is quiet. I am grateful I have the tools to do that for myself. I was starting to get worried and scared yesterday that something was wrong with me. I guess there is, I have anxiety. I was worried it was more than that. I spent the majority of Monday and Tuesday holding back tears. I cried driving in to work yesterday and I cried coming home that evening. I cried making dinner. I cried listening to a sad story on NPR. I was starting to feel overwhelmed by this grief that was all over my body. I had this sense of being completely alone and hopeless…like the sadness was just going to get worse or never stop.
This grief and depression is a problem with a simple solution. Take care of yourself physically and the mind will follow. I will continue to work the problem. Tonight I am going to exercise, spend time with my children, have a healthy dinner, read, and go to bed early.
Driving into work, I was listening to Story Core on NPR. It was a conversation between a woman who received a life-saving kidney and pancreas transplant and the mother of the young man who died and donated the organs. Both the recipient and donor were addicts. The young man died of a heroin overdose. The recipient said what motivates her to stay clean is her family and legacy of the donor. She said she needs to stay clean to honor his death and her life. I know I’ve said this before but it helps to put it down on paper. I will stay sober for my children. Dennis and Brad deserve a father who is the best version of himself. I deserve a life where I am the best version of myself. I will stay sober.
I can’t escape the obvious benefits of doing so. Every aspect of my life (exempting my relationship with Michelle) is better: the boys and I are closer than we have ever been, it feels like I have a handle on my control issues and anxiety, I am more productive at work, I have read 7 books since I quit, so far I filled 190 pages of a journal, I sleep better, my complexion looks better, I have lost 33lbs, clothes fit better, I can run further and faster than I ever have, I am physically stronger than I have been since my 20’s, I am sharper mentally, generally speaking I am more attractive (physically and emotionally), the list just goes on and on. So the verdict remains the same, sober David is a better David.
I was talking with a friend over drinks last night (mine were the non-alcoholic variety) about Michelle and I. She is of the same opinion of all of my friends who spent a lot of time with Michelle and I. She thinks we should not get back together. She said Michelle hasn’t dealt with any of her issues. She feels like Michelle is in the “look everyone at how great I am doing” space. I know Michelle has run up credit card debt because she has started getting offers to help her refinance high credit card balances sent to my house. She said Michelle will eventually have her anger and rage subside and I will be getting a phone call from her wanting to talk about us getting back together. I doubt that. She doesn’t know just how deep Michelle’s anger issues run. Michelle was promised $500 from a past employer over 3 years ago (he never paid) and when it comes up in conversation she still has the same level of anger/resentment she did back then. If she can’t let go of a promised $500 that never materialized, what are the chances of her letting go of her anger with me?
I had the boys last night for dinner. We had a blast! We went for pizza and then cupcakes at Jone’s Brothers.
I signed up on Plenty of Fish yesterday. I am going to have a good friend help me set up my profile this weekend. I already had some nice looking woman start chatting me up so that’s nice. I have been thinking about this for a while. I am totally out on a serious relationship with anyone who has kids or wants kids. I think I should avoid anyone who is seriously younger than I am. That is seriously going to narrow the field. I don’t know if I am ready for this shit but fuck it. Michelleisn’t taking me back.