August 10, 2010

The Angry And The Disillusioned

The anger comes in waves and like the ocean it arrives in sets that come crashing down upon the shore. But in this case the waves aren't pounding rocks into sand but are instead slamming into my spirit. I am tired, exhausted from a lack of sleep and frustrated by work that takes longer than it should. Things that are easy are difficult and that which normally would not bother me at all is of far greater concern than it should be.

If my children or friends approached me and expressed concern over something similar in their lives I would sit them down and discuss it. I'd listen to their concerns and ask questions so that I understood what it was that was really bothering them. If you can't identify the problem than you can't fix it. In concept it is a great approach and it has been relatively successful in generating appropriate solutions.

But sometimes there are things outside of your control and all you can do is try to ride out the storm. It ties into why I prefer earthquakes to tornadoes. I hate the idea of watching some force of nature work its way towards me- knowing that I cannot do much to defeat it.

Yep, old Jack is a fighter and a scrapper. It is my nature to not simply accept certain things. It is dual edged sword, this trait of mine. It is the reason why I never stay down and the reason why sometimes it takes me more time to get through the muck we sometimes have to crawl through. Sometimes I hold onto things with a grip that is unyielding, thinking that if I just hold on long enough I can find a way to make it work.

It is not always the smartest thing because there are things that you can't fix no matter what you do. I am reminded of a fight I got into years ago. The guy put me in a headlock and was beating me silly- but in the heat of battle I refused to give in. I was determined to punish him no matter what it took and I did.

Twenty-five years later I look back and wonder if it was worth it. For a week I walked around bearing evidence of my engagement and so did he. From one stance it was worth it. He never messed with me again and neither did those who saw it. It was understood that I wouldn't submit and I suppose that to the teenage boy I was then it was important.

Now I haven't the need to prove those things. It is a case of been there, done that. But that doesn't change the piece of me from which that comes from. That fire still burns within and it always will. However maturity and recognition that just because you can do something doesn't mean you should allows me to walk away.

Walking away is a conversation that the boys and I engage in more frequently than we would like. As marriages disintegrate we gather and discuss how to handle it. Do you spend time in counseling talking about things that you and your partner cannot change about yourselves.  Do you try to wait out the storm for the sake of the children.

And in the midst of all this we see an economy that isn't performing as well as we would like. Careers are being interrupted and for some of us our ability to provide for our families are being severely impacted. Though we may be renaissance men in many ways we are still men. It is our job, our obligation to provide. The hunter gatherer lives on in us and if we cannot find game to kill and bring back home to feed our families we become angry and disillusioned

In the back of our minds we fear these changes and wonder what it all means. Is this the midlife crisis that we children of the 70s used to see portrayed on sitcom television. Are we in a place where we want the sports car, a tan and a hot 25 year-old to make us feel young.

Whatever it is we know that there is an ongoing battle between the intellectual and the emotional. Intellect tells us what to do and how to do it in a smart manner whereas emotion takes a different course altogether. Ultimately we seek as all do, to find balance between the two. The goal is to obtain or re-obtain that quiet tranquility and comfort we used to live in back when times were easier, whenever we might visualize that time as having been.

No comments: