Learning from those around me

Learning from those around me

Yesterday an old high school buddy of mine (divorced too) and I went out on what would best be described as a “Pup Crawl”.  This adventure started at 10:30 AM and continued until about 8 PM.  This was to be an all-day jaunt around the area.  My buddy invited some others to join us along the way. But each of those individuals were like characters in my new chapter of life.

In the past I would go out in order to laugh, to act foolish, to have a good time.  Lately I am not as interested at this.  It is not that I didn’t have fun… Everyone knows I laughed and even acted foolish at times.  My focus has just shifted.

I was watching people and observing how they interact with those around us.  I want to learn why people do what they do.  I tried to learn why things happen the way they do.  The people I interacted with I truly wanted to know their story.  I asked questions that would make people pause.  The frankness the openness and honesty that I approached them was unique.  I think I am living life differently because I want to learn what is next for me in the second half of my life?

It might just be as simple as I care more about the people around me.

I say this but then I remember what my buddy at work always says.  “Name someone other than a family member that you actually like.”  He probably knows me more than anyone at work.  We talk about everything together.  He is completely different than me in his race, religion, politics, economic level, etc… But he knows me well.  He is correct in the fact that for the first 3 years we knew each other I was married.  I did not allow people to get close to me.  I have always been friendly but aloof.  Why bother?  I had everything I needed.  Everyone thinks I like them because I act like I do.  I just was not really interested in their true being.

I can’t hold this against my buddy.  He sees me only at work.  I am the “boss” so I have a belief system that you do not mix play with work.  So, I purposely put a wall up between myself and everyone.

But lately I have been wondering if my buddy is correct.  Maybe I do this outside of work too?

That leads us back to the ‘Pup Crawl’

Late in the afternoon the owner of the last pub we visit brings an older gentleman into the sitting area we had taken over.  I instantly become interested in learning everything I can about this gentleman.  I will call him Bob for simplicity sake.

Bob and I hit it off splendidly.  I start to learn about Bob’s life, job, belief systems, etc…  Bob is a “seaman”.  He has a home base in Houston and one in Prog, Czechoslovakia.   He has been divorced for over 30 years.  He was married for almost as many.  His kids are grown and older than me.  Bob is 72 years old.

I do digress in the story a moment and start to think about that country song, People are Crazy by Billy Currington.

It fit exactly what was happening with Bob and I.  I was waiting for Bob to give me a great nugget of wisdom like Currington sang, “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy.”

What I did learn is that Bob highly recommended a few books.  One is Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life: How to Finally, Really Grow Up, by James Hollis.  Bob said this book will put everything I am seeking into perspective.

So maybe my “God is great, beer is good, and people are crazy” has yet to be found?  Maybe I will find it in the words of Hollis?

I have a feeling that Hollis will not have as large of an impact on me as Bob the seaman did.

A few other nuggets Bob passed on to me:

  • Create a budget and look at it daily. Keep every receipt and know exactly to the penny what you have at all times. (I have this one covered)
  • Be selfish. Don’t be so American. Take care of you first. Imagine your drowning in the water along with another. If you don’t save yourself first you can’t save the others. (I think I’m good here)
  • Embrace being alone. Solitude is good (Im learning)
  • Write (I have been doing this)
  • Create two homes in different parts of the world. This will allow you to flip your perspective (need to think about this. Maybe North Dakota? Lol)
  • Don’t get remarried (disagree)
  • Buy a sports car for fun and a regular car for daily activity. (ok, I’ll start working on this)
  • Think before you talk. Pause and slow down. (Need to work on this)

What was interesting to learn, is that talking to an older guy drew the interests of a few ladies.  The table next to us was a lady in her 40s and another in her early 30s/late 20s.  The younger one kept smiling at me the entire time.  I can see the desperation in those eyes.  The loneliness, self doubt, and hurt… a longing for happiness.   She was a very pretty girl that finds herself eating cake on her birthday at a bar.   I had to walk past her table once to go to the restroom.  Really, cake??  Like the nice guy I am I paused and asked, “Is it your birthday?”  She laughed and offered me a bite.  I declined (cake and beer have never been a good mix for me…. Just saying).  But here I am more interested in talking to my new friend Bob than any one night stand.  I have changed…  As I leave the bar with Bob, I see the sadness in her dark circled eyes as I walk past telling her to order ice cream too.  I’m not here to fix the sadness in those around me.  Poor girl.  I’m sure she is waking up in some strangers bed right now (as I type this blog entry) hoping that he will call her in the next day or two knowing he will not.  Amazing how much hurt is in the world.

Bob also gave me his email and asked me to keep in contact with him once I read the book by Hollis.  I will and then I will give Bob the link to this post.

Bob….If you are reading this… I was honored to meet you.  Safe journeys my friend.



I am moving forward.  I don’t have any other choice.  It is funny how accustomed we get to a way of life.

Friday nights 8 months ago were something to look forward to.  Often times I would stop with buddies after work for a beer at happy hour.  Maybe some potato skins!  I would call T on the phone and say, “Yo, what’s the plan?”  She would often run down the list of what each daughter is doing, what I needed to do for that, which girl I needed to drive somewhere.  She would then make a plan to go somewhere for dinner with me.

It was a given.  No need to really plan anything.  I always had a date.

Move forward until January 9, 2015

I am sitting at my computer desk at 10:28 PM typing this to who knows who.  Both girls stay with me every Friday night.

So, tonight R has a date with her boyfriend.  At the game today, she was fouled really hard by a girl that was playing against us.  This player got upset after one of the steals/tackles and swiped R’s legs from under her by kicking her very hard in the back of the calf.  R went down like she was shot.  R goes down often because she plays like there is no tomorrow but always bounces up usually into an immediate sprint.  This time R didn’t jump back up.  She dragged herself up and limped across the field.  She started waving off coach that she was staying in the game.

R came home with a serious limp.  Her calf is double the size from the swelling as her other one.  She still wanted to go out with her boyfriend.  A large bag of ice was wrapped tight with plastic wrap around her calf as she limped away with boyfriend. The field they played on is old bad astroturf.  R has scrapes down both knees and on the side of one leg.  It is dripping puss and blood.  During the game the referee noticed it bled down into her sock turning the white sock a nice shade of crimson and stopped the game.  I could hear him yell all the way in the stands, “Coach, You need to fix #22!”  She was sent to the bench.  R later told me that all the girls on the bench were just staring at her and watching the blood and puss ooze down.  R snapped at the student trainer to hurry up and fix her leg so she could get back into the game.  The trainer pours Hydrogen Peroxide down both burns and all the bench players are in shock.  R just keeps staring at the game.  Trainer tapes it and R is ready to go throw her body infront of a moving train.   After the game R is walking out of the trainer’s office with ice pack on calf and both knees bandaged.  Two of the JV girls that were invited to go to the tournament with Varsity look at R and say, “You play really hard.”  R said she didn’t know how to respond.. so She just smiled and kept walking.

R scares people.  R intimidates people.  R is the only teenager that I know that does not want friends.  She does not need to be a part of the herd.  Her silence only adds to the mystery.  Her bone crushing style of play only adds to the mystery. Her beauty only adds to the mystery.

She is an amazingly tough kid mysterious kid.

B walks in with ice wrapped around her knee.  She doesn’t seem to be hurting bad.  So we are over the hump.  But we start a movie after cooking dinner and she falls asleep within 30 minutes. Tired little buddy.

Their last game of the tournament is tomorrow at 9:00 AM.

So here I am, living a new style of Friday night.  I love the fact the girls are with me.  I am here for them.  On Saturday night I am alone.  Me and the Wonder dog, Fred, are living the dream.  Do I go out?  Do I find some single friends?  Do I find someone on Match.com?

I was just asking a new friend these same questions in an email.  I have no idea anymore.

The loneliness is a killer.

Forward I move.  I move into the FUTURE…

Let it come what may.

I often think of Eddie Vedder’s song, RISE.  I absolutely fell in love with it when I was watching the movie Into the Wild…. The lyrics fit what I need to do.


Writing this blog has me thinking again.  This is usually when I get into the most trouble with life.

We are a couple weeks away from the court date that finalizes the end of our 21 year marriage.  January 13, 2015 to be exact.  No arguments, no fights, no drama.  I already turned in the divorce decree, took the parenting class (mandatory in our county), and paid the court fees (not to mention my attorney fees to write the decree).  All I need to do is go to court and the judge will electronically sign the decree and I can purchase a certified copy from the courts for $1.00 a page.  (41 pages total)   Oh joy!

This is it?

I keep watching tv shows and there is a lot of dysfunctional couples that always fight harder to win the girl back, etc…. Did I fight hard enough?  Who is supposed to tell me this?  But I really don’t want it back. Or do I?

I kinda like my isolation.  My gut tells me to move on.  I try and listen to my gut.  It keeps me going forward, usually.  These thoughts and emotions are raw.  Exposed, isolated, but mostly just raw.

How does one know?  What if I am making a mistake?  Life is just a crap shoot.  Roll the dice, smile along the way.

The girls went back to their mothers today.  I am alone all day.  No work, no responsibilities (other than taking Fred, adopted dog, out to take care of his business)… Nothing.  NO noise

I miss the noise.  But then again I don’t.

What stage of grief is this?

Let me go back to my life motto.  You may have heard it before.

Is the juice worth the squeeze?

I honestly don’t think that if T walked to my door with her emotions exposed and begging to return to what we had before that I would take it.  I don’t think the juice would be worth the squeeze.

I saw the movie, The Girl Next Door, many years ago.  I watched this scene and I thought of my relationship with T at the time.  I remember having to convince myself that the juice was worth the squeeze…. Then I just shook it off to everyone has small doubts.  Or do they?