The Stopping Starts, Again

Discussion in 'Ages 40+' started by sonofJack, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    All of us on here have dealt with fantasy, and most of us rather poorly at that.

    My manufactured internal world began when I was about 8, and as I've mentioned here, it was all in an effort to escape the nasty noise that my quarrelling parents were stirring up. Too young, and too much of a coward back then to do anything about it, I decided to write my own happy story.

    Too bad that those skills were exploited post-puberty, to create a Playboy World, that I so deftly moved through. When thwarted in my attempts to get the girl, I used the tried-and-true, with the bonus of having an intense orgasm to finish it off.

    At least I slept well.

    I am not convinced that some level of fantasy construction is harmful. Imagining what-if scenarios has led me to success in downhill ski racing, running, corporate management, and especially with my teaching. Imagination is a good thing, obsession, not so much. It's the internal mind's equivalent of following only the news media that makes you feel good: you'll eventually sell yourself a bill of goods, that ain't gonna be worth nothin'!

    This past week, I've been crazy busy. My freelance film work took up three very long days, while my teaching continued on at its normal pace, and my Mom's situation called for more of my time than ever. By Friday, I was exhausted, and that's when my good friend texted me that he was "going solo" for the weekend (this is the guy who I have concluded to be a heavy consumer of, and masturbator to, Tumblr pornography, as he does talk about it a lot). He tried to suck me in one more time to a race which I am physically unable to do, that would take up time that I do not have, so I said no thanks.

    On Saturday, the texts and FB messages were getting out of control, as two of our lady runner friends were joining him, and trying to recruit others from our group. I turned my phone off by lunchtime, and focused on the work at hand.

    Sunday, I actually had some time to myself. Got in a great long run with a good friend, who is also one of my mom's physio guys, and shared some coffee with a small bunch of our run group. The rest of the day, I got a lot of tasks done around the house, and my wife & family were ready to sit down to our first meal all together, in weeks. That's when my phone and FB messages started going off again.

    He was trying to talk me in to coming over for craft beers, and "rescue" him from the two previously mentioned runner women. Then one of them started messaging me, to the point where I shut my phone off for the night, before 6pm.

    Last night, we all ran together. The three of them were pretty hungover, and seemed quite pleased with themselves about their escapades at the race, and later at his place. I'm certain that nothing extramarital happened, and that it would have been a good time, but also that the three of them put themselves in a situation that could have gone very bad; much the way a recovering alcoholic has to negotiate the lunch meeting where everyone else is drinking.

    The 25 year old me, hell the 45 year old me, would have dreamed this scene all the way through, right down to the inevitable pseudo porn plot involving hot tubs, drinks, poor decisions, and a suspension of belief of what my anatomy was truly capable of. Watching them interact about what actually went on was a bit of a lesson for me too, as they seemed to want us all to think what could have happened, may have happened. Some people at our table last night looked sad for not being invited over, and I could see the three of them drinking that in.

    As for me, joining this trio was a non-starter from the get go. A bunch of married people, away from their spouses, proving to each other, themselves, and the world how "adult" they all are. Maybe that's true, maybe it's not. Frankly, I was not in the mood for a test, not even a little pop quiz.

    Here in the less exciting story line of reality, I have commitments I've made, and I have in the past had to learn the risks, and consequences involved in pushing their boundaries (here's a hint: it never goes well).

    This right here, right now, is the world I'm striving live in.
  2. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    I had a long, vivid, and complex dream last night about running. Every step of what had to be a 5 miler, was followed in jaw-dropping detail. What was most striking was the other senses that were lit up; I felt the cool breeze in my hair, the sweat on my body, the sound of every footfall, and that internal feeling of unmitigated freedom. That last one hits me on those "great" runs, that many non runners may think of as the "runners' high." But it's not a high. It's more like pure physical, and emotional joy.

    Waking up, I got my running gear on, and went out for 3 miles that, though not nearly as awesome as the dream run, were pretty nice too. The air has a moist, close feel to it, and the smell of leaves that are beginning to compost, is kind of alluring. I may do this to keep my body from creeping further into decreptitude, but my mind and soul are reaping the benefits too.

    That I'm dreaming about great runs, means something too. Maybe my runs will be my new porn. Or perhaps my mind is just cleaning out the old shit, and trying out some new. Does getting away from PMO free the mind to connect me to all the rich wonders of me world?

    Then there was two nights ago, when I had a vivid dream of another kind. It was intense, very detailed, and left me wondering who I have become. The plot was essentially about me researching, and then purchasing LED lightbulbs.

    Yeah. Maybe dreams are just that: dreams.
  3. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Sometimes I wonder if my waking hours are just a dream, and my dream time is just a tad closer to reality, SOJ :)

    Who knows???
  4. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Who knows indeed!

    We moved my Mom home from the rehab hospital to her apartment yesterday. Several agencies, and the seniors' residence all working together.

    Not working together.

    It's an interesting social dynamic that usually percolates to the surface when dealing with not-for-profits and government agencies: everyone protects their own turf; nobody is responsible. While all involved are professional, and are offering unimaginable support, none go outside of their own silos. Ultimately, it's my Mom who is in charge, but alas even as her old self, she'd be unwilling to ruffle feathers, which leaves it to me.

    Funny thing though, as my mom's advocate, I'm fully responsible, yet utterly powerless. Luckily, my two strongest skills, a good sense of humour, and merciless sarcasm, seem to help me negotiate through it all. It's also fortunate that I have corporate management experience, which included a lot of time spent on labour relations. Add to this the fact that my current employment has been as an employee of the province (professors here in the Great White North, are proud civil servants), and the one final piece: a lifetime spent working in customer relations.

    It's a bit exhausting, but I have to admit that it is also the most fun I've had in a long long time. Apparently, I thrive in frustrating situations.

    Give me your vague, your ambiguous, your empty promises, and I'll make it all work!

    Besides, this is about my Mom. Period.
  5. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    your mom is in good hands, SOJ :)
  6. Guy_Stewart

    Guy_Stewart Well-Known Member


    You are a brilliant mentor -- and I LIKE reading your posts, no matter how long.

    After you wrote this:

    ...I felt much better.

    I woke this morning agitated and within a hair's breadth of breaking my streak. For many reptile brain was CERTAIN a good PMO session would solve all of my stress.

    I logged on here and read your journal instead and I laughed, nodded, and now I'll go back to my own journal.

    I just wanted you to know how much your science-based research (I've been a science teacher for some 35 years -- though I'm currently ALSO a school counselor) and sense of acerbic, honest humor have helped me.

    Keeping being who you are -- a mentor and wonderful man.
  7. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Guy Stewart, you made my day!

    After reading Guy's wonderful words at 6am today, I pulled on my running gear. Late November in Canada is not usually runner-friendly. It's normally an entire month of in-between weather; imagine Mother Nature going through a particularly nasty ADD episode.

    Today, it was 11 degrees C at 6. That meant shorts and a long t-shirt! No hat. No gloves. No problem!

    I got in about 90 minutes, running through the parkland we live near, as the sun slowly came up in the East. It was high enough to warm things considerably as I exited the park onto a lonely strip of road that parallels the lakeshore. Now I'm never one to take breaks when I run, but the scenery in front of me was so beautiful this morning that I stopped not once, but twice to take pictures and video on my iPhone.

    Tomorrow, we're supposed to get hit with freezing rain, snow, and Canada-like temperatures.

    It's an easy lesson: all of this is temporary. Enjoy every minute of the good times, so you have something positive to think about when things go bad.
  8. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    If you don't like the weather here in Canada, wait a few minutes...

    Actually, that's a quote about Cape Breton, which is on the ocean, quite unlike where I am located in the Great White North. But here, just days ago, we were basking in unseasonably warm, windless, sunshine. The storm hit Sunday, thanks to a Colorado Low; so nice to be able to blame America for bad weather, especially after seeing all those many reports on the US Weather Channel about "bad weather coming down from Canada."

    My family drove home through near-blizzard conditions, over unploughed, unsalted, unsanded back roads. Our two hour drive took nearly four, but worse than the time lost, we were all very tense through it all, what with the many vehicles in the ditch, and a few little lost-of-traction moments of our own.

    My wife ended up driving us all the way. It is her car after all, and she gets much more practice behind the wheel, thanks to my choosing transit, or bike, for my commutes. She applied the Aesop-approved Slow and Steady strategy, and got us back here safe and sound.

    I love that woman even more!

    I was tense though for another reason: an email received from my boss' boss on Friday afternoon, asking me to meet with her on Monday after lunch to "talk about some things." There was no further explanation, and none needed, since my big dumb brain is so very adept at creating grand scenarios. As we slipped an slid down those dark roads to, seemingly nowhere, I relived the different occasions in my previous career where I'd been downsized, deemed redundant, and removed from the project. By lunchtime yesterday, I was prepared for the worst.

    Yet, I still held a strong hope for the best.

    Resilience is not innate. My firm belief is that humans grow weak when we're not tested. My father lived by his motto "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" every day. I walked into my meeting ready for anything.

    It was a good meeting. No, it was a great meeting! I've been tapped to take on the interim Program Coordinator duties for our school, which is the largest, most diverse, and perhaps trickiest to manage stream in the whole institution. PCs work long hours, keeping the students on track, and faculty on the same page. The job takes soft skills that are out of the comfort zones of a lot of people (A-types who typically aim for managerial roles find their approach frustratingly futile), mixed with analytical thought, and belief in gut instinct.

    Having me in this position for seven months, gives the Dean and Associate Dean time to work out how to make the PC position more effective, with me on the inside, getting a real-time feel for where they can make improvements. We're approaching this as a research project, and the budget is somewhat open-ended, which is good, because I know that I'll be pouring a lot into this.

    The good news is that I'll be compensated better, and get to work even closer with our students.

    The even better news is that I can keep my 12 lecture hours per week along with this!

    I call that win-win.
  9. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Great news, SOJ!!!

    Amazing what our fear based egos can project onto the blank screen of life :)

    As Carl Rogers used to say, the facts are friendly....
  10. Mozenjo

    Mozenjo Well-Known Member

    Now that is some fantastic news, SoJ! I knew something good was right around the corner for you when you were writing about the last position that came around. This sounds really good for you! Congratulations.

    Two weeks ago today, my thoughts (and those of many of my compatriots here in the States) gravitated to paying an extended visit to the Great White North. I know your house is kind of full now, so I guess you don't have room for a boarder :) Anyway, we'll have to see if things "work out" as you say they always do down here. You really need a scorecard to keep up with the events that are changing daily in Washington. There's no telling how things will play out. Which is certainly keeping the news compelling enough.

    Enjoy the season, whatever the weather brings you today!
  11. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Happy Thanksgiving in America. Here in the Great White North we're celebrating something we like to call Thursday. :)
  12. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Hmmm. Am I okay with this new look here? Maybe. The old site was fine; ugly, and a bit clunky, but fine.

    The new look is fine; prettier, with more buttons and things, but fine.

    I do miss the "replies to your thread" link.
  13. NCBob

    NCBob The 11th commandment: Thou shalt not peek:-)

    Noticing that the font is Times New Roman, SOJ. Reminds me of this video:

  14. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Just to add to last Monday's great news, our daughter's boyfriend was visiting over the US Thanksgiving break. He proposed to her somewhere in the middle of it. Oh, and the Lions won.

    A pretty good week, I'd say.
  15. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    New responsibilities at work are already piling up. I love a challenge; I really do.

    Not much time for chatting, but once again, I do miss seeing the usual suspects' posts lined up for easy reading. I also miss good radio, good newspapers, and analog TV too, so this is clearly something I need to deal with.

    And so it goes.
  16. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    I've been rededicating to staying healthy. No doubt, it has a lot to do with my Mom's slow descent, as she is now nearly bed-ridden. Just two months ago, she could get around herself, albeit with the aid of a walker. These past weeks, I've been getting my running miles, and bike spins in, and for the past week I've not missed morning swims, in spite of one major snowfall, and one freezing rain event. What Would Mom Do? is my new mnemonic mantra.

    Never fond of swimming, I do it because it gets me motivated through the dark days of winter. If I have to go in the water, I'd much rather it be in a lake, with the sun beating down, instead of speedo'd up in the chlorinated pool full of ageing manatees, where I spend my mornings. Still, the swims have felt pretty good of late. Maybe too good.

    I'm rather antisocial at the pool. Too early to talk to anyone, even though they all seem to want to converse, and when we're in the water, there really is not much value, to me anyway, in stopping for long chats at the end of a few lengths. Sure, some of the chatters are well-shaped fit young women, wearing not-very-much, but I guess I just don't feel like part of their odd little community.

    This morning, I finished my 1000 metre set, and was heading for the shower. A young lady who I know from running stopped me to ask some quick questions about an upcoming race, and I will not lie, she caught my full attention. It was not difficult to keep eye contact with her lovely face, and huge smile, but my peripheral vision is apparently 14 years old, so...

    We spoke for maybe a minute, and yes I did take a very quick glance behind as I exited the deck. Sue me.

    Directly afterward in the shower, I was visited by what we used to call in Mr. Golcheski's tenth grade phys ed class: a Showerection. Back then, it was a focal point for ridicule, and extreme social anxiety. In fact, I was rather proud of the fact that I'd never had the (dis)pleasure of it happening to me. I did truly feel bad for the guys who accidentally "popped one" in public (even Larry "The Stick", who I'm now convinced was not doing so by accident). Too bad that I still joined the chorus of dumbasses who called them out for it.

    No after 40 years, this AM, it was finally my turn. Mr. Happy was with me for my entire 90 seconds of showering, the subsequent towelling off, and thankfully had been replaced by Mr. Moderately Amused for the few minutes it took me to finish, shave, dress, and get the fuck out of there. Deep in my subconscious lay the fear that Mr. G. would be standing by my locker, and directing me to go for one of his "little talks." That thought alone must have been what brought things back to normal, socially acceptable flaccidity.

    Afterward, I was thankful. Yes, thankful that a) none of the pool dudes was there to quip "so, good swim huh," and b) that over 1000 days into this return to sexual reality, things are working pretty well down there. No, I'm not hoping for a repeat of the event; EVER, but it's good to have the confidence that my body is working like it was made to, and without having to resort to artificial inducement.

    This journey is full of weird surprises. I can't wait to find out what's next.
  17. Saville

    Saville Well-Known Member

    Love this! Rocking it SOJ!
  18. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Whoever said "you're never too old" may be on to something.

    Two things have happened at the pool in the last two weeks: 1) I've actually begun to enjoy swimming. I know, why the fuck would I force myself to do something all these years, if I didn't like it? Hmm, sounds like the question to be asked of another activity that I was quite regular at. 2) I've joined the after-swim conversation.

    I'm usually dead silent when I get to the pool in the morning. It's early. It's dark. It's cold. Oh, and it's the pool. That hasn't changed, but of-late I've found myself not bolting out of the shower the second the guys from the other lane enter.

    In a post many months ago, I spoke about these dudes, and their proclivity to talk shit about the lifeguards, and by shit, I mean the kind of shit that 40 something men have no rights saying about teenagers. I have no time for that, and also, I do not want to say what I could so easily say, and start something ugly. No, I've let them do their thing, and happily gotten the hell away from them while they do it.

    But I may have had this bunch all wrong. Just this past week, one of the guys started up a conversation with me about, of all things, my swimming. These guys are way more serious about the sport than I am, so I'm always thrown when one of them points something out that I'm doing; I get a bit creeped that someone is watching. It actually took until this week's chats, for me to realize that they all come from swim teams, and can't help themselves when they see something going on in the water that they may be able to fix.

    So my normal 90 second shower, is now more like 15 minutes, and by the time I am truly concerned that I won't get the car back in time for my wife, two or three of these guys are filling my head with "reach for the wall", " arm recovery", "chin-down", and "bent elbow." What they don't talk about is the lifeguards, or any other creepy stuff, and I no longer feel like I am in the company of a bunch of nerdy, overcompensating adolescents.

    I may not be ready to get in their lane, and I am certainly in no hurry to get into one of the matching red speedothings they wear, but I am beginning to no longer see them as "others."

    And that's a good thing, because after these many years of me doing my leave-me-the-fuck-alone routine, maybe they don't see me that way now either.
  19. bobjes

    bobjes Active Member

    Hey SoJ,

    Here a few quotes from your first post, I could not help but noticed you have truly come full circle.
    It is very inspirational to me as I am learning to accept my flatline... And need to learn to trust the process of healing more.
    Thank You.
  20. sonofJack

    sonofJack I deserve self-respect

    Full jerk circle?

    Thanks bobjes. The healing happens, but it is difficult to predict what sort of person comes out on the other side. Reading that first post of mine, the despair I was feeling there... It was not a good day in my life.

    Since then, I've come to believe that it is far too human of us to act out when we are at our worst. Staying on one emotional plain is challenging, and probably unnatural. Vices may be as good for the mind, as they are bad for the body. An adolescent masturbates to ease the stresses of social anxiety, then takes up excessive drinking, or some other socially acceptable vice, to feel like he fits in.

    Often it works. The new man, who is the life of the party, has less trouble with his anxiety, and more luck with social interactions. Until, he doesn't.

    This could be why so many of us in this forum have struggled later in our lives. When I was 17, it was me and my fist. At 27, I was married, getting all the sex I needed, and probably on my way to alcoholism. 37 saw me hooked on the drug that is corporate management; an amoral existence, bolstered by the lie of merited entitlement. At that stage, my sexual and social habits had drifted so far from my true self, that I did not recognize the jerk looking back at me from the mirror.

    The irony is that by 47, I had got myself back together, feeling like I was back in the real world. Nobody told me that the 17 year old kid, was waiting to reclaim his rightful place. He was more than happy to pick up where we'd left off all those years ago, jerking the fucked-up world out of existence; at least for an hour or two.

    Pornography was always there too, but it was the last ten years when that became the problem. The relief of a quick jerk off, had somehow been supplanted by an open loop of thrill seeking, that promised the payoff, but increasingly failed to deliver on it. I was in a constant state of (mastur)bate-and-switch; the journey had replaced the destination.

    Stopping the PMO was easier than I should admit. Every day, I have to consciously NOT do it. Allowing myself to understand, and love the person I am, is far more difficult, but it is so fucking necessary.

Share This Page