An Ugly Divorce

I have avoided writing about Jon and Kate Gosselin. I don’t find it to be particularly interesting and more importantly I feel badly for their children.

I haven’t any false ideas about marriage. I do not believe that every relationship is made to last and I am not of the opinion that people should stay married just for the children.

Anyhoo, I signed onto CNN and saw that Jon Gosselin says that he despises his wife and decided to give my two cents. I couldn’t tell you if she is the worst wife ever or the best. I don’t watch their show, but when I read that I got irritated.

Irritated because two adults decided to become reality television stars, decided to chronicle their lives on television. That is all fine and good, but now they are chronicling what appears to be a very ugly divorce on camera.

Now they are placing their children in a terrible position. They shouldn’t have to worry about strangers asking if their mom is a bitch or their dad is a jerk. They shouldn’t be able to have the end of their parent’s marriage immortalized on camera. It is wrong.

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Save The Last Dance For Me- 75 Years of Marriage

Not so long ago I explained my belief in astrology. It is very simple. If I like my horoscope than I believe wholeheartedly in it and if I don’t I write it off as being nothing more than superstitious bunk. I do the same thing for most of the new agey stuff.

Don’t tell me that if I ask the universe to give me a gift it will come true. Because if that was true than back in high school good old Ann Stacey would have been really attentive to my needs. But I digress.

This afternoon I saw something that might have made me question my beliefs a bit. This afternoon I watched two 95 year-olds dance themselves back in time. And then I saw them kiss in a way that made me remember that Sarah was older than my grandmother when she gave birth to Isaac.

Great googly moogly, grandma and grandpa kissed each other like they really meant it. If nothing else they managed to make my son ask why grown ups like to kiss so much.

I told him not to worry about it and to watch them dance because he might not get to see it again to which he replied, “are they going to die?” I rolled my eyes in mock exasperation and said yes. For a moment he stared at me and they I told him that I didn’t expect it to happen today.

But the truth is that this might have been the last dance and that makes me a bit sad. My grandparents are one of the constants of my entire life. For forty years they have always been a part of it. I have seen them dance at untold numbers of family parties, weddings, bar and bat mitzvahs etc. They always spent time together out on the dance floor. It occurred to me that I am not sure when I last saw them dance.

I hadn’t realized until that moment that dancing is one of the images I have of them. But when I think about it is easy to envision them gliding around the floor. Confession time. I remember being about 15 and thinking that if I could dance as well as my grandfather it would make it a lot easier to find a girlfriend.

For a brief time I tried practicing in front of the mirrored closet doors in my parent’s bedroom, but that didn’t last long. As a 15 year old boy dancing wasn’t something that I was real comfortable with. I didn’t want to talk about it and wasn’t about to ask for lessons. Maybe I should of have.

Nah…

Anyhoo, it was all part of an anniversary party that we threw to celebrate their 75th year of marriage. The best part of it was seeing how much fun they had. Later on we went back to my parent’s house for dinner.

I got a kick out of watching them sit on the couch holding hands. It was very sweet and I couldn’t help but wonder what they were like 75 years ago. They got married twice. The first time was a secret wedding at the court house. So for a year they lived at home and pretended to be dating.

I’ll share more about them in part two of this story.

The Search For Happiness

You can call this post The Search For Happiness. It is one of those posts in which I find myself thoroughly unsatisfied with the end result. I had 800 words or so written down but I decided that I just didn’t like it so I nuked it and started over. This is the result.

As a child I had a lot of different dreams about what I would be when I grew up. Many of them were the typical things that you might here. Professional athlete, Fireman, President, Lawyer, Doctor, Sports writer.

As time passed so did my interest in some of those dreams. I suppose that you could say that my interest in being a pro athlete never did pass, but my ability didn’t allow for that particular dream to continue. I’ll write more about this in a different post.

My interest in some of those other professions waxed and waned over the years for a variety of reasons. Some of it was due to practical reasons and some of it due to what you could call extenuating circumstances. It is fair to say that part of the personal challenge for myself and a number of my friends is the lack of burning desire to become a (fill in the blank). I’ll readily admit to feeling mild jealously to those few people I know who are doing exactly what they love.

I don’t want to live to work. I work to live. See I can rattle off all the little cliches. I don’t want a job, I want a career. But there is so much truth in those thoughts. Life is very short and I want to enjoy it with passion and with gusto. I want to wake up feeling like I am ready to attack the day. It still happens from time to time, but not with the frequency I want.

If you ask why I can give you a list of reasons and I can give you a rudimentary framework for how I am trying to change the areas that are deficient. But I would be remiss if I didn’t try and explore how I got to this place and why.

The simplest answer is that people change. I am just not who I was. Many of the things that used to be important to me are just not all that exciting or interesting to me. Many of the things that I thought that I wanted fall into the category of not necessary.

When the boys and I sit down and discuss this we all agree that life experiences are responsible for creating this change in us. It is a bit unsettling. I have always found big changes to be a bit tough. But I also know that I can’t continue along the path I am walking on without making some adjustments.

One of the guys told me that he fears that he won’t find a place where he feels truly happy and that right now all he wants is to focus upon being happy in the moment. I understand that. I have always been a bit restless and felt this sort of wanderlust. I have wondered if that is always going to prevent me from really enjoying life. But when I think about it I realize that I have a lot of really good memories and some of them are in the very recent past.

The very recent past. That gives me hope and strength. It is a reminder that I am not looking backwards and saying that the best is behind me. It means that there is no reason why the best is not yet to come.

This search for happiness is a very personal and intimate thing. For me at times it has been a struggle and I suspect that there are going to be some very tough moments ahead. But I have to do as I teach my children.

That means I need to identify the problem and try and determine what the solution is. And as I tell the children it means that before I ask for help I need to determine if I can solve it myself. Too bad it is not as simple as the challenges that they come to me with.

In the not so distant future the kids and I are going to have more discussions about how to deal with a challenge head on. I see too many of the parents of their friends creating future issues by always fixing things for their kids, but that is a separate issue altogether.

What I do know for certain is that if I want my children to succeed on their own quest for happiness I have to give them the tools to do so. One way to do so is to let them learn from their father’s experience.

And that is all I have to say about this for now.

If You Could See The Future Would You Want To

In the midst of all of the current chaos I have heard a number of people say that they wish that they could see the future. It is kind of a nice dream. It sounds like the sort of thing that would be useful. It is a practical skill. See the future and you can be sure that you’ll always make the right decisions. At least that is the theory.

There was a time in my life that I used to be one of those people who wanted to know what was going to happen. I’d like to say that it was because I wanted to plan ahead. I’d like to say that it was because I wanted to stay a step ahead of the game. Those were certainly part of the reasons why I wanted that particular skill at that particular time.

But the rules of the blog dictate brutal honesty so I have to acknowledge that it was also because I was a 20 year-old kid who was heartbroken. A relationship had ended and I really wanted to know what was going to happen. Friends who tried to console me told me all sorts of good stories. I heard about their breakups and why they thought that splitting up had been a blessing in disguise.

The reasons varied. Sometimes it was because they led to new opportunities and sometimes it was because the couple had to have time apart so that they could grow and then come back together. But the common theme there was that splitting up was ultimately a good thing. There were one or two exceptions. I heard from a couple of people who said that breaking up had been the worst thing ever. I remember telling one of my friends that he should never consider being a therapist. I think that I said something to the effect of “you’d be the guy who handed the suicidal patient a gun.”

Anyhoo, I was like so many other people. I just wanted to know what was going to happen. Would the struggle be worth it. Was it going to lead to some incredible experience or relationship. Was the end really the beginning of something new. I remember looking up at the sky and saying that I was ready for the door to open. It was in reference to that line about one door closes and another opens.

If you ask me today if I’d like to be able to see the future I am not so sure that I would want to. I don’t really want to know when I am going to die. Sure you could make an argument that if we knew when we were going to die we’d live our lives differently. I already try to do that. I try not to make excuses to do certain things because you don’t know when the end is coming. Still, I don’t want to know the exact date. It is more interesting to me to wonder if I have another 200 years.

I am curious to see what sort of people my children are going to grow up to be. I wonder what sort of careers they’ll have and what they’ll be like. I wonder what my own life will look like in five years. What about ten or twenty or fifty years. What kinds of memories will I have. Will I have lived the life I wanted to live.

Foresight would be nice. It’d be useful to have some sense of things. I’d probably find it easier to relax. I wouldn’t worry about going bankrupt or dying of some dread disease because I’d already know about it and be prepared.

I am no different than anyone else. If I could change the past there are some things that I would have done differently. There are jobs that I wouldn’t have taken and relationships that never would have been. But I can’t help but wonder what I might have missed out upon. There are so many interconnected threads. If I don’t follow one path I’d never hit the fork in the road that led me to the other one that gave me that great whatever.

So I think that I am kind of glad that I can’t see the future. While I appreciate the thought of not suffering through some of the struggles in the same way I come back to the appreciation of surprises. I can’t and won’t say that they are all good, but there is something nice about not knowing. The uncertainty has its own rewards.

I suppose that it all helps to explain why sometimes I like to gamble and take a risk here and there.

What do you think?

Gay Marriage- Proposition 8

This post will probably be relatively graphic in nature so if you’re easily offended this is your chance to skip it. If you want to know what I think without the gratuitous commentary you can find it here and here.

I have been wracking my brain trying to find a way to understand the thought process of those who oppose gay or same sex marriage. I have tried to understand their logic. One supporter of Prop. 8 told me that for thousands of years marriage has been understood to be between a man and a woman.

Ok. We could make the same argument about how it was understood that the Earth was flat, the moon was made out of cheese or that the sun revolves around the Earth. All of these were proven to be false, but for a considerable period of time these positions were understood to be true.

A guy at the gym tried to tell me that he was against it because it was unnatural. He was granted the gift of being told that he is an idiot to his face. A short time before this talk he told me that he and his wife love anal sex. So I told him that a lot of people think that shoving his friend up his wife’s ass is unnatural. Not to mention a number of the other things that the two of them enjoy doing together.

Someone else told me that they thought that gay marriage would promote promiscuity. Now it just so happens that I know that this guy shtupped his way through college. A graduate of YULA he was famous for his escapades with a number of different women. So I asked him how he could justify his position when we knew that he had been sticking John Thomas wherever and whenever he could.

He laughed and said that it was different. I asked him about a moment in his school days when the mother of a girlfriend walked in on them. He still remembers her saying “Oh, I see that you’re busy.” Managed to laugh at the memory and then tried to tell me again that it is different.

But the thing is that it is not different. Heterosexual and Homosexuals have sexual urges that we act or do not act upon. Heterosexuality is not a guarantee that a marriage will be successful. It is not a guarantee that they won’t divorce, cheat, or have the same domestic issues that all couples do.

So I find myself asking what the big deal is. I find myself asking what people are so scared of. Oh I know, someone told me that this would open marriage up to crazy things. Someone might marry their dog, their sheep or their motorcycle. Well, I think that I am ok with saying that if you choose to marry an animal you have a problem. Animals are not people and while they deserve respect there are limitations.

But that is how some people try to get around on this issue. They come up with a totally ridiculous example and say that it is representative of everything that falls under that category.

I just don’t get it. If two people love each other and want to make a loving commitment to each other why would we try to prevent it.