When I look at my life from a critical and impartial angle I find myself perplexed by contradictions. There are so many areas in which I feel like I have succeeded and so many where I feel like I have failed.
It is a paradox, success versus failure over and over again.
I am a big believer in failure serving as a tool for educating ourselves. If you never fail you are not human. It will happen some time, you just won’t get it done and it is in times of adversity that we learn who we really are. Failure helps to teach us how to cope with the challenges that life can throw at us.
It is a hard teacher and sometimes it can be exceptionally painful. As a father I am torn by it. I want to protect my children from disappointment, but I know that if I shield them too much I will only handicap them and make life more difficult. So there is a balance that I am constantly seeking.
When I was in my 20s a former girlfriend referred to me as being a whirlwind, living with me was like being exposed to the Tasmanian devil, the cartoon version that is. At the time I didn’t appreciate the comment. I wasn’t really angry, but I wasn’t pleased either.
My ego wanted to hear that I was the greatest man she had ever met. My ego wanted to be stroked and it still does. I like being the best at whatever I do. The silly and sad thing is that I am my own biggest enemy. Not in every area, there are many that I do well at, but in some I could be doing better.
The shortcomings are usually a result of my own laziness. A lack of attention or desire that falls short and allows me to accept less than I should from myself.
In my head I visualize everything that I do and I always make an effort to picture me as being successful at whatever it is I am doing. I think that I can spend too much time living in my head and not in the present of whatever it is I am doing. I am a dreamer and I have a very active imagination.
One of the reasons I love this blog is because it allows me to express myself in a way that I am not always capable of doing. I wish that I could plug people into my head, that I could show the film that plays there.
The blog is one of the most honest places you can find. That doesn’t mean that I am a dishonest person, I am not. Sometimes I am criticized for being too honest. But here in cyberspace I make an effort to point out the cobwebs, to shine the light into the little crevices that I keep buried.
I really don’t think that I am all that different from many bloggers. I want to be loved. I want people to consider reading my blog part of their daily routine. I don’t have a problem admitting that. But I also feel good in knowing that if that happens the readers are not getting a sanitized version of me. Here I am, warts and all.
Sometimes I wonder what would happen if the 20 year-old version of Jack was to meet the almost 36 year-old model. Would they like each other. Would the younger version approve of me now or be disappointed. Would I look at the 20 something I was and shake my head angrily or wistfully.
If they got into a fight who would win. The 20 year-old was a beast. I worked out for hours and was exceptionally strong. But the 36 year-old is tougher mentally, a grizzled veteran of many wars, cagey and wily. Would it be a draw because I knew exactly what was coming. Sorry, got caught in fantasy land again.
I told you that I can get lost in my head.
A friend of mine is interested in tracking down his first love. He recently got divorced and is curious to see if seeing her would spark any feelings. He believes her to be single and is wondering what would happen if they went out.
I think that he is trying to recreate the past and I am not sure that this is a realistic goal, but I understand his objective. Sometimes when we are lost we look to the past for simpler times, experiences that we had beckon to us through the hazy shade of memory.
Years ago when I was a newlywed I ran into my highschool girlfriend. It was kind of surreal, we were both married and hadn’t seen each other in quite some time. Without a thought we hugged each other hello and then exchanged a very simple kiss on the lips.
It wasn’t anything that lingered. We did it in front of our spouses so I felt no guilt about it. It was a spur of the moment thing, really kind of a reaction. But it made me think of a number of things.
1) I was surprised at the familiarity. I had kissed those lips a thousand times and suddenly after years apart I had done it again and it felt, well, familiar.
2) It was done in a very routine manner without much thought given to it. It occurred to me that relationships in which everything was done in a routine manner were not the kind I wanted to be in because to me it meant that there was something missing there, some spark, some little flame had been extinguished. And once that had been put out I wasn’t convinced that you could find a pilot light to restart it.
3) She and I were done. Even thought it was familiar and pleasant it was apparent to me that she was relegated to memory status and I was fine with that. Memory status was a good place, it meant that there was no torch carried.
More on this in another post.