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Searching for Love

September 26, 2019

Life is a strange experience...

 

In my youth I was content – it was fun to get up each morning with no other care than to go out and play with my little friends...it didn’t matter if they were boys or girls, friends are friends, and the games were all that mattered.

Yes, a joyous time indeed, for my ignorance was my blessing...

 

As I grew a little older girls became strange creatures that puzzled all us boys, and so it was easier to stay away from them...and if they insisted on joining us, well then, we just pushed them away...

You see, we thought that, as boys, we had something to prove – to show the world that we were growing up, good and strong, and had no time for those old games...

No, now we played ‘sports’, and this was no place for little girls...

Oh, how important we were to our own eyes...

 

And then we hit ‘puberty’...and what a wild ride that was...

 

Now it was the girls’ turn to ‘push us away’, for, no matter how hard we tried, their mothers knew best “There’s only one thing boys want from you... so stay away, else you’ll get in a world of trouble... You don’t want to be like that missy next door...You know what they say about her ... and such a shame too, but what can you expect having a mother like that... Now don’t go and disappoint me – just think what the neighbors would say ...you know how they gossip...”

 

And so, we ‘boys’ had to be content with furtive glances, with giggles and whispers...and we still thought girls were strange... but what an attractive strangeness...

 

As time is want to do we grew up a little more, and now learned that ‘growing up’ meant to be responsible, learned about respect and good manners, and how important it is to start thinking about the future, and the career that would best suit us...[I must say, that one stumped a lot of us – who really cares about ‘how much money you can make as an accountant / financier / real estate broker...’, rather tell us how we can become professional athletes / actors / fire-fighters...or better still, rock ‘n roll musicians...Yeah !

But no-one really cared about what we wanted...just what was ‘best for us’...bleh !]

 

Then there was college, and time was running out fast – everywhere you looked people were ‘serious’ – so focused, it made your teeth ache... but there was also a lot to appreciate.  You see, now girls had grown up [or was it me?] and they no longer seemed so strange [well, except for a few of them].

They were smart and pretty and fun to be with, and seemed so put together – I mean, intellectually mature, they all seemed to know more about Life, and what it took to make it work...

 

And so, being somewhat astute [hey, mom didn’t grow no morons in our family]

I realized that I really should pay more attention to what they were saying, and how to go about creating that path we call ‘success’...

 

So, put your care-free days behind you, Jack, and get down to business... Find a good girl, get hitched, buy a great house and start a family... Ah, the good life...

 

But it doesn’t really work that way, now does it ...?

Look, I’m not saying that it can’t happen that way...just that statistics have numbers to prove otherwise... and too often they’re right.

 

And so relationships started...and failed... tried again and again and again...still no luck, so I thought I should just focus on my career – ‘for the moment’.

Jobs that everyone said would be ‘perfect’ turned out to be fake, unethical, or just outright boring  [“Well, what did you expect – Life is no fairy tale ! Grow up, man, and look sharp !”]

 

Well, that too didn’t go according to plan, did it !?... and so for once I did the smart thing – I took a step back... really looked carefully at who I was, at what would make me happy, and who I wanted to spend my life with...[and got some counseling thrown in just to be safe, y’know]... and guess what, it all seemed to come

together !!

 

For the first time the new job looked promising, the girl I met was a gem and, even better, her family liked me too... It all seemed idyllic – and for a while it truly was.

 

We got married on her family’s farm, bought a little house nearby, made new friends...

Oh yes, I even met her ex – John, president of the local bank... [“Don’t call him Johnny, he doesn’t like that...played football in high school, and was pretty good, too... Everyone thought they’d get married...they made such a lovely couple...Sigh...”]

And even Johnny – sorry, John – shook my hand and said how lucky I was to have her as my wife... “Yep, she was the one that got away” he said, with a glint in his eyes “Now you treat her right, y’hear” ...as if I would do otherwise, moron.

 

Work got better, so much so that I soon was promoted – and if that meant more travel away from home, it also meant a lot more money...and a bigger house / cars / fancy restaurants...and even a membership to the local country-club.

She no longer needed to work – no sir, I was a good provider...

 

We tried for children, but God did not bless us with any...

That was hard for her but what can I do...tried everything we could think of - still, no luck...but hey, we still have each other...right ?

 

Life looked good – maybe not idyllic, but good none the less.

 

My fortieth birthday came and went...too busy to celebrate much – with work and the promotion there just was no time, but we did promise to take a long vacation together...just later, Ok...

Her's came and went too – and I did make an effort, I really did, and I was home for it too...just...time is always so short, y’know...

 

And so a few years later it happened – I was out of town, business as usual, when I got a registered letter... Yes, you guess it, divorce papers...

 

It seems that I was no longer meeting ‘her needs’, that she felt ‘abandoned’, that I cared more about my job than her...and so she was suing me for the house / car / bank account ... and most of our retirement portfolio ...

Oh yes, she was also seeing her ex again ... “He’s very supportive of her now... She needs a good man that can truly appreciate her... It’s your fault, really ol’boy – you were never there... What did you expect ?”

 

I won’t bore you with the sordid details...how everyone laughed behind my back, and how long her affair had been going on [the worst kept secret in town]...

Seems like I was the last one to know...

 

And so it all went crumbling down - including me, and the short bout I had with a bottle ... Thankfully the counselor I was seeing was a hard-ass, and called me on it – no pity was the wounded... and a good thing too – I’d hate to think where I would have ended up otherwise...

 

And so I left...gave her everything she wanted, packed my bags and left... moved far, far away... In fact, my job had an open position overseas – a third-world country, would you believe it...and that turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

 

I have been here for five years now, surrounded by people who have little time – and even less patience – to fool around.

Here life is hard – well, at least it is demanding, if not actually hard.

People are more real, their problems more basic, and life better appreciated.

 

They like me – “The old gringo” they call me – affectionately...

I’m not old really, not even fifty yet, but to them that’s grand-father age...and I found out that I do like it here – I like these poor people, who are not aware – nor do they want – the plastic luxuries of our modern world...

They are happy to live, and laugh, and make love...for that is what is really important... and it is their simple joys, their appreciation of the important things in life that healed me.

 

I am no longer wounded – scarred ? maybe, yes. But not defeated, not broken, not abandoned by life...

And as I wake up in this unusual paradise, I am also aware of wanting to love again, of wanting to share myself – not the pain, or the pointless search for plastic values, but to share my deep appreciation of togetherness...of offering the other my full support, with no other expectation than the pleasure of opening my eyes in the morning and seeing her lie next to me...

 

That is prize enough for me ...  

 

So why am I writing all this ?

 

At first I was bitter – disillusioned about life, angry, and even cynical... but here, for the first time I could heal, I could wake up in the morning without that need, to push, to go, go, go...

Here I can be part of the gentle cycle of life...here I am truly alive...here I am healed...

 

And so I wanted to share my roller-coaster life with you – just in case you too have become part of those statistics, just one more number... in case you needed – or just wanted – to hear a different story, to consider a different choice, to realize that it doesn’t have to end with a bottle, or pills, or a bitter heart... that I survived, and not only ‘managed’, but managed well...

 

And so know this to be my truth – Life is to be lived joyfully... but maybe not where you are... So now choose, and choose wisely, for this you do to yourself...

 

I am happy...are you...?

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