Delight and awe

It is said

“Some people make things happen, others watch what happens, while others Wonder what has happened.”

I am sure I do not make things happen. Maybe I watch too often what is happening, but then I am sure many times I wonder what has just happened.

But mostly I want to keep in wonder and enjoy the wonders around me. I enjoy being my 9 year old self. I get to enjoy the simple pleasures and smile at the sunrise or the snow falling or the beauty of the mountains and water in this region. Read more


How things change

I am struck by how imperceptibly we change throughout our lives. And at other times, it or we change completely and suddenly. I do not work with a lot of drug addicts, but see them everyday in my work. Certainly they did not start out and decide they would become addicted on some random day in their lives, yet here they are addicted. How did they get here? How many decisions did they make every day that brought them to this place of addiction. In a way they may wake up one more and suddenly realize they are addicted, but it took months or possibly even years.

Although I do not have a problem like addiction, I still am amazed at where I am now from where I started. Would someone in my grade school or high school even recognize me and who I have become? Of course I could easily be just as startled to compare what I remember of them back then to how they are now. I am sure our life and behavior now had its genesis back in our younger selves, but who would say or think the person I am now matches that younger me?

For example, I enjoyed being with my family spending time with them and giving spontaneous hugs or pats on the back. But that has gradually slipped away. Stress and strain of marriage and professional life made me angry and hateful and eventually led to the dissolution of my marriage. I tried to keep in touch with my kids, but contact continued to become more infrequent. Then one day – and possibly suddenly to those around me – I decided to move across the country to the west coast. No family. No friends. Completely turning my back to that life to start anew.

Suddenly I was truly on my own, but now I could change who I was. Or at least I have tried. Not sure I have succeeded. Find those old traits and horrible habits creeping in once again. At least I am taking time to notice and hopefully resist that isolationist penchant. I have made lots of friends both in Las Vegas and now in Reno. And yet I find myself not spending as much time with them as I once did. I am not reaching out to them as often. When I need them now more then ever.

Their lives and demands change. My life and interests have changed. Yet I do not want to suddenly disappear and no one know what happened or worse even care about what might have happened. Hopefully I can decide to reach out to various friends each week instead of making decisions to keep to myself doing my own thing and not bothering to stay connected. That needs to be my new focus.

Hiking leader

When I first moved to Las Vegas, I started to look for activities to connect with people in a new place. Main focus was the meetup site and input my interests. Hiking was one of them. Joined a few hiking groups, but one seemed particularly daunting. It’s name is Las Vegas hiking. And you could then join a specific group Calle day the 52 peak club. Both groups are organized by Branch Whitney (not his real name I would find out much later).

It took me awhile but finally joined this group. And it was truly a blast. Met lots of great people who are stalwart friends. We had epic times as we each completed our deak of cards. Some peaks are easy to climb. Many can be quite challenging and risky. If you were not careful you could put someone else in harms way or endanger yourself.

Realized I have very little fear and put myself through many physical challenges which also created a mental toughness. Hikes could last a few hours or all day (8 or more hours starting before sunrise and ended after sunset) climbing to the peak and then working our way back down. It was truly amazing and I am grateful to Branch for creating such an adventure. By the way I was the 69th person to complete the set of 52 peaks in southern Nevada which was appropriate since I ended up hiking on the Mummy Mountain’s Head.)

I find it to be one of my greatest accomplishments and set me on a course to seek new activities to challenge myself both mentally and physically.

A Reason, Season, or Lifetime

A friend recently mentioned something her mother would say, “Friends are in your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.”

My mouth says “I’m ok”. My fingers type “I’m fine”. My heart says “I am broken.”

“I’m not crying because of you; you’re not worth it. I’m crying because my delusion of who you were was shattered by the truth of who you are.” – Steve Maraboli

“I had many reasons to give up on you but I chose to stay. You had many reasons to stay but you chose to give up.”

Maybe it was for a reason. Maybe it was for a season. But what I had thought would be a friendship to last a lifetime ended suddenly.

She decided we could no longer be together. Of course even that is the wrong term according to her. She would shout and maintain we were never together. Then why the suddenness and the complete shutdown of communication? Although it happened around Christmas last year, I am still having such difficulty. Why is it so difficult for me?

Joy is no longer part of my life. It broke escape velocity and is now heading out of the solar system. Happiness flits in at moments to help give me an occasional smile and then leaves to nest somewhere else.

She impacted my life so incredibly.

Words or phrases I use now are her words or phrases.

Some of the inflections I use are hers. I cannot even get away from her name since it starts with a normal combination of letters.

I have typed her name so often that after the first two letters in her name, the autocomplete feature immediately displays her name. Even though I have not spelled it once in the last two months. When will it stop providing her name as a possibility?

I see something which reminds me of her or that she would love.

I see something that reminds me of something we did or that she would enjoy doing or that we had talked about doing.

Her son and I enjoyed doing lots of fun activities which now he will not be able to do. She will not do them. I feel she has ruined his life because he does not have the opportunity to do them anymore. I enjoyed spending time with him and wanted to invest my time in his life and watch him grow into a young man.

I know the make, model and color of her car which is a very popular make, model and color. I have to train myself not to see these cars as I drive.

I know the places she goes so I must avoid them on the off chance she might also be there. Except for church she and I both attend. Fortunately she knows which service I serve in so the chance is minimal but I loathe the possibility.

I cannot talk about it anymore to anyone. No one wants to hear it anymore. They would counsel me to get over it already. Or they will say time will heal your hurt. Maybe writing out my thoughts will help me uncover why it is taking so much time.

I was always upfront with her. I told her often I loved her. I dropped everything for her whenever she needed help. I spent lots of great times with her son. I took care of her when she were sick. I told her I accept the package deal of her and her son. I knew we were never going to be intimate being 20 plus years older and being physically the opposite of what she desires in a man. I accepted that. I always let her know that my joy – my satisfaction – was that she let me do things with her and her son. That I got to serve her.

I had come to a point that I no longer wanted to live for myself any longer. I have spent most of my years living for me and my needs. She seemed to enjoy my company and spending time with me even needing me. Guess I was completely wrong on all points. I also have to think that everything she ever said to me was a lie. She was false to me from the day we met till she dispatched me as completely unnecessary. I knew her dark side. Now I realize it is darker and more pervasive than I ever imagined.

Physicists say nature abhors a vacuum. She has left a big void in my life. I have yet to fill it. Unfortunately I do not have a body to bury. She did not allow me closure as to why I was no longer welcome in her life. Only that it was unhealthy to remain in it. No idea why or what that meant. No way to grow from it.

Do I live for a cause? Causes do not give you warm embraces. Causes do not ask if you have eaten. I enjoy being active and will continue to devote time to fitness. I will run with the local running groups each week and go to the pool on Saturdays to see the staff. I enjoy teaching swim lessons and will devote time to teaching the kids in my care. I enjoy the kids at church and will devote time to them each Sunday. I enjoy expressing my thoughts and will spend more time on my blog. But right now they are not what I live for. I do not live for anything. And it is hard.

Will I find another person to love and live for? Of course everyone offers hope and says someone more deserving will come along. Having spent most of my life on my own, I seriously doubt it. I will come to terms with it, but the transition is difficult after getting used to loving someone and living for them. I have to accept I will not find someone that puts joy in my heart and lights up my eyes.

All I have to do is make 10 years when I should be able to retire. Then I can look forward to another amazing adventure and see what happens. On that day maybe I can respond with something other than “I’m ok” or “I’m fine.”

Loneliness and longevity

Really interesting that I have either read or heard that loneliness is one of the (maybe the) most important factor in a person living a long time. It surpasses exercise, diet, and genetic makeup. Not sure how to take this news. I live alone and mostly by myself when not at work. I believe I am extremely healthy. Have a consistent exercise regimen. Eat fairly well although I can do a lot better.

I have a good number of friends but few I see on any regular basis. Stay kind of connected via Facebook and Instagram. I see many running friends at various running events although I need to be a lot better at going on group runs. I teach swim lessons and I help with the children’s program at my church.

I had something of a relationship that ended really badly and abruptly. She would yell at me that we were never together, but if or when someone cuts off all ties to someone you have spent a lot of time with over the past 2 years, I have to think she felt we must have been in a relationship. And yes it hurts and will continue to be a loss for quite some time. I try not to dwell on it, but with a lot of downtime and so many things which remind me of her, it is difficult to avoid. And she goes to the same church although they have many service times so odds are low I will chance into her. Still the thought makes me apprehensive. More on that subject in a future post.

Am I lonely? Is this contact enough or am I destined to die at a modestly young age? I will turn 57 God willing this year.

I am alone much of my time. Take last Saturday, I do not believe I spoke to anyone except for waving or saying hi on my morning run.

Should I reach out to more friends more often so that I can live longer?

But I also subscribe to Kelly Clarkson’s song “Stronger “. One of the lines reads “Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone.” And I think it’s a weakness to need others. I like being with people but what does it say if I am reaching out to people all the time? Am I afraid of being alone or is it a way to invest with and interact with people I know and enjoy? In the end, I am still going home to be by myself whether I spend an hour with someone over lunch or the whole day. It’s a minor change to my overall state of being by myself. And after an outing, generally I feel lonely and let down because I go back to an empty house. Most of the time Home is a sanctuary, a haven from all the outside crap and drama. But sometimes it is just empty.

Really not sure what to do or what to think.

And do not believe the meaning of my life is wrapped up in how many years I live. I really do not care how long I live. I care about how much life I have. Turning 50 was a true milestone. Instead of saying I am on the downward slope having lived longer than the time I have remaining, I realized how healthy I am and how much I can put into each day of each year remaining. No one is guaranteed a long life or even being alive tomorrow regardless of our health. Too many random events can end our life. Enjoy what I have now. Enjoy who I have now. Enjoy who I am now.

I love my life now. I will continue to enjoy it as long as I can. If or when my body or mind turns south on me, I will reassess then. But I will not plead for more days. I will not go after lifesaving medicine or procedures. I will enjoy the life I have on my own terms.

I am curious about the length and the quality of my remaining life span, but I will not let it worry me. I have enough to do and enjoy each day then to get caught up in what if scenarios and projections. Let me be active mentally and physically today. Four words for my life are family, friends, health and wealth. More on those words in a future post as well. As long as I have those pillars, I am happy with my station and life.

Reconciled and Happy 

Thought you were gone forever. And who knows it may be fragile still and temporary. But I am glad you are back in my life. Awakened to a new awareness of myself and you in my life. I am focused on approaching you in 4 or maybe 5 ways so that we can enjoy each other’s company and how I can minimize expectations.

1. Respect. Do my thoughts and behavior respect you as a person? I say I love you, but negative thoughts or stewing over supposed slights does not respect you. You deserve better than that from me.

2. Communicate. Especially negative thoughts. Grew up sensing it is better not to say anything when I have nothing nice to say. Which is still true. But whenever I feel slighted or pissed, I simply fume and remain at a low boil. That can be fine when in isolation but not in relationship. It does not respect you as a person or our relationship and how much we have shared over the years. It causes tension and even animosity until we can somehow clear the air. I need to let you know immediately – verbally – even if it is simply to say I need to collect my thoughts. I will tell you I am upset and need some time to become rational again.

3. I ask nothing of you. I expect nothing of you. Except to be able to spend time with your son if that is ok and if your schedule allows. I knew you were important to me but now I realize your son is too. I believe it is important to have a male influence in his life. I would like him to have one. I want him to know an adult male wants to spend time with him. I could not with my boys. Maybe I can with him. I will do my best to ask nothing else of you and check myself when my desire to be with you bleeds into expectation. You are a package deal. I want to come up with activities that all 3 of us can do or allows me to spend time with him for a couple of hours.

4. You are not my social director. I relied too much on you for filling my life with activity. I am my own social director. I have other friends. I need to connect with the Meetup groups again. I need to reconnect with the running groups again. I need to reach out to friends for lunch or some activity. Create more Facebook events. If you want to join- have time to go too – then that is great and will be very happy you are there.

5. My love language needs to be acts of service. I do not want it to be simply an emotion you feel when I am secure. And it cannot be touch as strong as that language is for me. Maybe it’s only taking your son out for awhile so you can get other things done without him being under foot. Maybe it’s cleaning your bathroom or car. Maybe it’s babysitting while you have a girls night out. You have lots of people who can help you and will come when you ask. I am tired of living for myself only. I would be very blessed to live for you and Your son.

Now that I’m old

2017 has been a tough year so far. Lots of reasons. One though has been the realization of looking old. Started since I started teaching swim lessons at the Sparks aquatic center. I work with young adults finishing high school or starting college. I definitely look old next to them. And in the harsh light of the natatorium, I definitely look old.And the other day, I was speaking to my financial adviser noting that I could rollover my YMCA Retirement account now after all these years. Wasn’t sure why. He politely informed me that at my age I could actually start annuitizing my funds from that account so I need to consider whether I should do that, hold off or rollover the funds into a higher risk mutual fund account. Thanks for letting me know I am old.

Still believe I can out swim or out run most people half my age, but that sounds hollow without having done any competitive events so far this year. 

I really have to get used to looking like my dad whenever I see myself. I’ve pretended for so long of not really being old. So its really been quite an ego bruising year. OK maybe I’m not REALLY old, but it has been quite a stark contrast this year and demoralizing. I’ll come to terms with it, but the suddenness of it has definitely impacted me psychologically.

Winter of my Discontent?

It’s been a long winter in northern Nevada. Almost done finally.

But it’s taken a toll on me mentally, physically, emotionally. Have not done what I usually enjoy. Not training like I usually do. Ruined a wonderful relationship. Feeling like I’m stuck in a deep end job. No real motivation to do anything. Many days I just want to stay at home and not interact with anyone. Really having a tough time. And finding it really difficult to get out of this personal discontent with everything in my life.

I find myself trying to see the little victories. They do not happen every day, but they do happen. I am reminded of the musical “Annie”. Yes the sun will come out tomorrow, but first she needed a pep talk to get her even to sing that song. Her mentor said yes life is tough. It is very trying and tiring. Use that emotion. Focus on that feeling. Channel it into the song you sing. And it was amazing to me to hear her belt out that number for the first time. 

And that is what I need to do. All this negative emotion. The hate I feel. The disgust and loathing I feel. The rejection I feel. The inability to move forward. Channel all of that into movement. Run fueled by the negative. Workout fueled by the negative. Swimming I do for the love, peace and enjoyment I feel as I am in the water. But all else, when lack of motivation stifles me because I cannot find the strength or will to leave the house or the desk, focus on using it to break the cycle.

Tried implementing that plan this last week. Definitely moved more. Walked almost every day. Ran and worked out. Swam. Had more good days. Only real bad day was Friday. Still got a walk in at lunch, but had a lot of anger and never really got over it. Had a little birthday outing for a friend turning 25 at a local sushi place. But really did not want to go even though I had not seen her few a few months. I told her I would be there for a little while so made sure to be pleasant and left at 6:30. Think my mood was partly from being overly tired. Not sure but went to be bed early.

Weekends are going to be challenging. Must find outings to go to to meet people or friends and channel the lack of motivation to get out of the house into running, biking or hiking. Swimming is the only exception. Must go on Saturdays for my swim. And I get to see some of the young staff I see over the week when I’m there to teach swim lessons. I can stop to chat with them for a few minutes after swimming. Glad I have this outlet now.

Sunday remains my most difficult day. When to get up? When to move? Need to plan ahead to check out the Sunday meetups for hiking and biking options. Or check out Facebook for weekend events. At least I repaired my mountain bike so when that opportunity comes I will be ready. 

I need to be my own social director, self motivator again. Need to say yes to social opportunities even when I do not think I will know anyone there. Maybe I can get out of my way and meet new friends or invite friends to events I want to go to. Long road ahead. 

Another Now

Recently I heard a song titled “Another Me, Another You, Another Now”. It’s when a relationship ends. The two of you won’t be the same anymore. Maybe it was a good parting. Maybe it ended badly. Either way it’s at an end. Both of you must behave differently. You will not be able to act as you once did together. It is truly another you, another me, another now. And for me it hurts. I experience it as a loss. And it’s a daily reminder. Even hourly. 
I was thinking the last post would be the last about her – the one who no longer wants any part of knowing me. But her absence is still difficult especially since I have to see her every day at work. Her absence makes the weekends more difficult because I have not filled them up with other people or activities. But I actually had 2 good days this last week – Thursday when I was anticipating the last swim lesson of the session and Saturday where I got in a good long swim and interacted briefly with people at the pool. I enjoy teaching the kids how to swim – or actually how to swim better and learn the strokes properly. They always work hard to incorporate my suggestions and tips.

And even though I was really not feeling like I wanted to leave the house Saturday, I still forced myself to go out for a swim. I had missed the mountain biking outing and opted out of the snowshoe outing already earlier in the day. At least make it to the pool. Once there, swim for a little bit. See how it goes. If I cannot get beyond my malaise, then I can stop early and go home.

One of my favorite TV shows is the sci-fi adventures of Dr Who. In it, the Doctor picks up companions from time to time to share adventures with. They travel through time and space for a series or 2. The most recent Doctor is played by Peter Capaldi and his companion is Clara Oswald played by Jenna Coleman. As with many previous companions, Clara eventually dies in one of the episodes. He takes it very hard. She is able to make him forget about her completely, but then 2015’s Christmas special featured his wife of long ago River Song. She actually died a long time ago but in this episode, they spend one last evening together. He knows its the last time they will meet and he makes it very special for her. As in a prior Christmas episode, it is their last Christmas. Fast forward to the 2016 Christmas special and the show references this relationship that ended a long time ago. In it, the Doctor states that “All things come to an end. Its always sad. But then things begin again and that is always happy”.

Another show I’ve been watching has 3 friends in it and a 4th one tries to join in. The 4th one is trouble and the 3 friends disagree on whether to include her or not. One of the 3 decides, she is out and the 4th can become the 3rd in their group. In talking with her boyfriend, he mentions that the 4th one does not need to win which is what will happen if she leaves. She can walk back in and assert herself.

I’ve thought about both quotes this past week. Things always end. Things always begin. Endings are sad, but it allows for beginnings which could become happy. And if you let the bad girl win, you lose. If I remain sad or stuck, then she wins. I need to put myself out there again to start new things. To meet new people. To have good times doing the things that I love with people that I want to be with.

I have not relied on one person to make my life fun and meaningful. That was my total error. I have lots of great friends. I need to connect with the running groups again. I need to connect with the hiking groups again. I need to ride with the biking groups. I need to swim more and connect with the pool staff where I teach swim lessons.

I need to hit the trails whether alone or with others. I have done plenty of activities on my own. I enjoy other people being there but it is not essential. Until I connect with the right people.

Yes I need and want to have people in my life but I do not need a significant other or strong relationships. Friendships only. Connect in what ways I can, but then after the activity or the lunch, go home. I do not want to get caught up in wanting someone more or go after a more meaningful relationship that takes over my life and thoughts.

Significant Other No More 

Because all my other relationships have ended, I fully expected this one to end as well. As good as we were together over a year and a half, I still could not and would not believe it would continue. You would get upset with me and leave. I would do something that would cause you to lose all interest. I laid the seeds of the end of our relationship.
And so it has happened. What is worse is that you will not even talk to or look at me. All prior relationships at least ended on good terms – we are still friends and can chat upon occasion and enjoy any life events of the other. I am taken aback.

You believe I have misled you all this time? That I really did not love you at all? That my words and actions came from a black heart and soul? Should I believe the same of you? Your words of love and tenderness and wisdom were all basically lies? Your desire to be with me was a result of deception?

I still love you and will for a long time. I told you I would love you till my dying breath. I still hope that is the case. But you will not hear me. Will you ever? Will you realize you totally misread the final outrage that ended our relationship?

The incident was at the pool. I had been thinking all morning how I could do acts of service for you and your son. I wanted to adapt my love language to be meaningful to you and show your little guy that an adult male wanted to be part of his life unlike his dad. Now that will be lest unsaid; that desire unmet.

I had told you the day before that I would take him on play dates so that you could have time to get errands done or just have some downtime. I mentioned the pool specifically since I know he enjoys going there.

Then I arrive to get a swim in. And I saw you and another adult who obviously showed no interest in getting into the pool with 2 boys who really are inexperienced and fearful swimmers. You came by to say hi and said something about needing a hearing aid which I definitely took as a jab at my personal deficiencies. I then started to swim.

At a resting point, you came over to ask me about working out or playing with the kids. I told you I was swimming. When I indicated I would not be going to the game night that evening after church, you walked away & gave me a thumbs down as you had before whenever you were disappointed in me. I went back to swimming.

You interpreted my behavior as being angry because of being with another guy at the pool. I took it out on the boys by not playing with them while you two remained out of the water. I was not angry – I was extremely disappointed and felt rejected. I had specifically mentioned taking your son to the pool. I only knew you were at the pool because I came over to swim. I am unable to make sense of why 2 adults who have no interest of getting into the water taking 2 kids to the pool. Now that I was there, you thought he will play with the boys. I am not a convenience. I would have been a helpmeet whenever asked, but not because I just happened to show up someplace.

Maybe that was wrong. But rejection is a strong feeling. Could I have buried that emotion to play with the boys and help you out for a few minutes? Obviously since we are no more, I should have. Rejection or the feeling of rejection will happen. I need to figure out how to swallow the hurt and been more responsive to your needs.

And then speak with you another day how I actually felt about the situation. When I tried bringing up the situation the next day – a brief text and saying I wanted to talk – all I got was a vehement denunciation through 3 texts.

Yes I am moody. So are you. Who isn’t? Your point of view is the only one that matters? You are right? I am wrong? Maybe I was, but we always had good talks clarifying our positions and coming away with a better understanding of each other. I wish we could have in this situation.

You were my significant other for a year and a half. You are still significant to me and will take lessons learned with me, but I am hurt that I will not be there for your future life events to celebrate and encourage you. That wound goes deep. You are not my significant other any more and choose to not to be even an “other” in my life.

No more will be written about you. Life will be a lot less meaningful. The void left is dark and deep.