Well it's been a long time since I've been here to leave my thoughts behind and I don't think that's good. It's been so long that I had to think about how to get into the writing part of this.
A lot has happened in the past month or so, not all of it good, but most all of it over now. Currently having a tough time with A but hopefully that is about over. It was my fault for something thoughtless I said. She called me on it and suddenly I was at the Alamo pushing dressers in front of doors and vowing to fight til the end. I guess I was due for an episode. It has taken me some time to approach anything like a decent perspective on the episode. My ego has inflamed and looking for a place to bulge out and get attention I guess.
Overall I think it is me struggling with clues from my kids that I'm becoming irrelevant to them and in fact irrelevant in total. The fact is that I am actually becoming irrelevant to them as they finally mature and seek a life of their own. That's the way it's supposed to be. It means for better or worse that my job of intensive parenting is done and I have moved to the standby shelf for consultation on an "as needed" basis.
The other thing that I realized is that I seem to "struggle" (that word comes up a lot for me) to be useful in as large a way as possible. My "usefulness" card was regularly punched when I worked and I didn't have to worry about it too much. Now that I'm retired, I don't want to accept that I'm useless to the world at large and that I still (if ever) make a difference on some level. I don't want to become known as the guy who keeps his yard mowed perfectly or has the cleanest cars in the neighborhood. I ache to mean something on a larger scale.
I suspect to some degree this is a common theme of retirement to extent that it was ever important to someone before they retired. To be relegated or considered to be useless seems to me to be the worst possible outcome of my life. When I say it out loud (or type it out loud), it seems pretty ridiculous to me. It is another of the almost archetypal beliefs that I built life upon, secretly, even to me. Like being loved, or loving truly, or faithfulness, these things slip by in our minds, unexamined and therefore being personally accepted as true and unswerving amongst all of the turmoil of life. The fact that they were never true, that these basic beliefs were always and in all ways, a self deception is too terrible to even face. I can see why I so seldom considered them in my earlier life.
How do you transition from one belief like this to the more stable and less lofty idea that the world turns equally well without and that only in my little world am I that crucial?
As soon as I retired I began writing because I thought that was another path I could immediately excel at and become important to myself and a few others. It was only after a about a year of writing daily that I slowly came to the realization that I wasn't a natural born writer, that I may have had things to say but my way of putting them down on paper was not attractive and efficient in moving my ideas from my mind to other minds. That realization was a hard lesson for me, but I decided to modulate its meaning into something a little more palatable. I decided that the difficulty was only a naive self deception brought on by my exuberance and excitement and that I would just have to back up a little and learn the lessons that it had to teach me. Then, then I would be able to write the way I want. Then I would be able to make the words line up on the page in a way that excited other people and showed them a common mind and thought process. that was what I wanted.
Now all that last part about the learning and getting better might be true, but consider how many people out there are writing with the same goal in mind and how few seem to be able to actually do it. Also think about how long that aggregate of people have been studying the process that leads to being what people consider to be a "good" or "Competent" writer. The idea that I could get up in the morning and work on writing every day and become a great writer in my lifetime is absurd and face it, that's what I really was hoping for. I may have told people that I just wanted to improve every day in my writing with no particular level in mind for the endpoint, but really I wanted the Pulitzer or the Nobel, wait, "and" the Nobel. I wanted the recognition, deep down I thought there was something waiting to come out. Something just needing a little room and encouragement and then it would break free and shine so brightly even I would have to admit that I could have made a living as a writer.
It's kind of hard to look at a real mirror and face the reflection there. It seems I've always had a superior editing ability, with the aid of some alcohol, to somehow focus on only the parts of the reflection that I could stand. Everything else, I would change or ignore in order to keep my pleasant little belief system afloat.
This is what becoming old and retiring means to me. I have to face myself and accept the truths that I've denied or modified for an entire adult life. Maybe that's it; adulthood is about creating those deflections and bits of makeup that make us palatable and believable to ourselves and then projecting that image onto the world. It's clear that everyone has those masks of adulthood and part of life is a tacit agreement between us all that we will pretend to accept the false faces of others in exchange for their acceptance of our own projection.
After we retire from the world, our little puppet show is no longer of use and importance and we have to accept our own reality.
It took a long time to get to the point here but at last I think I've beaten this little carthorse of thought to death. I also think it's good that I came here and wrote again. I need to do it more often.
Photo from Foter.com