July 1, 2014


This is a remarkably personal post, but because so many of you who remain have been reading me for years, perhaps it may give you some insight into who I am and — perhaps — even why I am as I am.

Feel free to skip it — I’m not posting it here, just linking to it — but as the next part of my life begins I thought it was time to finish the last chapter of the previous incarnation, close the book, take it back to the library, and turn in my library card.

I have Netflix now anyway.

My wife and I have been talking about how the world — what I do every day, my fear for my kids’ future, the coming misery of a moribund country’s founding ideals being jettisoned for Utopian fantasy and a welfare society — has been eating at me, and she worries for my health. So part of what we determined I should do is release some of my burdens; appreciate more what I actually have, and essentially (trite as it sounds) control what I can and let the rest slide, at least on the level of taking it all so personally.

This doesn’t mean abandoning passions; it just means that I need to make sure I’m happier, and I can do that by embracing my friends and family more, and fighting the world a little bit less.

Anyway, I don’t do “journaling,” so this is going to have to do in its stead. Feel free to skip it.

Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:27am

Comments (27)

  1. Betrayal, thy name is family of origin.

    You’re blessed with your wife and sons, Jeff. Give them a big hug and remember that time wounds all heels.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Jeff. Unburdening yourself, as I’ve discovered, has a way of giving me at least a bit more peace of mind. Since, like you, I’m fearful for my kids’ future, I need to find ways to let some it go.

  3. It’s not trite — it’s the only way to stay sane. Focusing on elements that you cannot control just leads to feelings of frustration and powerlessness, which are never healthy.

    In many ways, our struggles with the current state and direction of “society” or “government” or whatnot are like struggling against the weather. (Sure, it’s an inexact analogy, because we actually do have some influence on the former.) Raging against the storm accomplishes nothing; we’re all much better off making sure we have shelter from the wind and rain, and perhaps (to strain the analogy even further) to point and laugh at all the cold, wet idiots who’ve spent years doing rain dances thinking that they’d get nothing but gentle showers that make the grass grow.

    At any rate, I hope you take your commitment seriously, and do spend time every day reflecting on the things you’re doing right, and those people and accomplishments you can celebrate.

    A beer with all hops and no malt is nothing to savor, no matter what the bearded hipsters may tell you.

  4. Thankfully your father and you had a chance before he died to reconcile (albeit imperfectly). What is most important is your relationship with your wife and children going forward.

    We all have family members who are not good for us. Eliminating them from our lives by separation, without rancor or bitterness, is often for the best.

    I am sure there are bigger lessons here about coping strategies with how our country is going. But like Tip O’Neill used to say, all politics is local. It does not get more local than your own immediate family.

  5. Take comfort in the fact that they could sponge off your father. I have a sister who does not think she is dead broke or homeless as long as I have money and a home. I have spent 20 years trying to help with zero success. Kinda like the US government. She has two adult sons and one who turns 18 in October. My turn is over. I am not going to be eating dog food when I am 80 so she and her kids can play Peter Pan.

  6. It is frightfully difficult to speak with any assurance regarding so detail dependent a tale of life. Nevertheless, tacitly trusting to a kind of instant apprehension, for good or ill, let me say that I suspect my wife, whose own story I observed for a brief period from within the whirlwind — who also lived [adopted] from her earliest childhood among aliens, as she put it, always if ineffably knowing throughout her childhood that something was amiss in her household, only to find gradual confirmation of it as her life proceeded, and with that confirmation a sort of gratification in her instinctual understanding and reasoning powers — she too ultimately made such a severance in recognition of what had become a fruitless pursuit of an impossible commonality (in her case, as she approached her forty second birthday), and I think in the deed, found herself all the freer for it having been done.

  7. As for the direction of government. The one thing that comforts me is when I am commuting and I see all the people going in all directions to work. I think, hah, there is no way the government can really control all this.

  8. Having sworn off Zuckerbook I’ve no choice but to skip it even though I’d read it if I could. From what I can gather, though, I think you’re doing the right thing.

  9. I have basically cut out my entire extended family. My parents, my brother — they are awesome and I love them and I am blessed to have them. The rest? Life is too short. It is a hard choice but a good one, I think — forgive, let go, and spend your effort on better things.

  10. It’s readable without having an account on FB, for what that’s worth.

  11. Oh, I also send you a friend request (Ella Ballard). Feel free to reject, if that’s weird.

  12. Some people are so messed up that you have to cut yourself off from them just to stanch the blood flow. I had to do that with my father during his last years — not to punish him but to prevent my being injured further, because he was incapable of doing anything but land more blows.

    Like only family can, right?

    It is what it is. Glad you have the requisite insight to know when it’s time to cut your losses and move on.

  13. i was watching the True Blood last night trying to get caught up so we can start season 7 and you know you get struck by how that show kinda deteriorates in quality over the years

    i remember in like season 2 they had this lil scene where Mr. Vampire Bill and Sookie go over to take care of that waitress’s kids for an evening and they pull out some Blue Bell ice creams and of course my little heart just melted but nobody else watching with me noticed that little detail

    so i get to season 5 and what happens? in the background in the cabinets of Sookie’s kitchen what’s sitting there just looking at me kinda all sullen and scornful?

    a can of Ralph’s baby carrots

    Yup they just sorta stopped trying.

    So anyway I was thinking about the new cabinets Sookie needs. She told Mr. Herve she was thinking about doing that thing where you take off the cabinet doors – and maybe she’s for reals about that but I think she just said that to cover over how the cabinets got screwed up whole she was killing Herve’s ex-girlfriend Debbie.

    Anyways I was thinking if Sookie needs new cabinets, there’s really not a lot she can do about it cause new cabinets are expensive and she’s just a sometimes-waitress. But she lives a nice comfortable little life cause she buys store-brand out-of-state canned carrots and she doesn’t pay rent.

    And that really is the key to how real wealth is created in America, I was thinking. Moreso in the past, but also moreso in the future. The whole living frugally and creating for your kids a home they can have when you’re gone so your family isn’t burdened with rent or mortgage. These are important matters, sacred and of gravity and to which reverence and deliberation should obtain I think.

    Not necessarily important to everyone but to the Sookies of the world for sure, and to all of us collectively I don’t care who you are.

  14. *while* she was killing Herve’s ex-girlfriend Debbie I mean

  15. Though I don’t know your particular wounds as you experience them, I can commiserate based on experience with my own. Sometimes, when you’re carrying a burden, it can feel a bit lighter just by hearing someone else say, “I know, I know.”

  16. Not necessarily important…

    Thanks for the contribution. Not because it was enlightening or entertaining or pertinent or empathetic or intelligent or funny or insightful or witty, but rather for providing an object lesson in just how painful it can be when one is forced to put up with somebody whose behavior is as painful as it is unavoidable.

  17. It’s readable without having an account on FB, for what that’s worth.

    Not on my Kompewter it isn’t.

    Best wishes anyway though.

  18. you are welcome squiddly widdly!

  19. You can’t choose your relatives, But you can choose your family.

  20. It’s readable without having an account on FB, for what that’s worth.

    I’ll give it a try on my PC then — on mobile all I get is the login page.

  21. I’ll give it a try on my PC then — on mobile all I get is the login page.

    Like I keep saying: get off them infernal SkyNet seedlings and use a real keyboard the way God intended.

  22. Just as a House does not necessarily equal a Home, Relatives do not necessarily equal a Family.

    A Home has to be made.

    A Family has to be made.

    You, Sir, have made, from all I can see, one Helluva Family.

  23. Speaking of seedlings, Di:
    {\fonttbl\f0\fnil\fcharset0 ArialMT;}

    \f0\fs22 \cf2 \cb3 \expnd0\expndtw0\kerning0
    \outl0\strokewidth0 \strokec2 \

    Gosh, I sure hope that comes through.

  24. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

  25. Going forward is the only way to fly, and flying unburdened will give you the agility you’ll need. Slough off the meaningless past, you’ve the future and your family to tend to. Never look back!

  26. Wow. Your Facebook post struck home a bit. My grandmother passed in February, and I was the only member of the family to attend her memorial service. I have some inkling of what you’re feeling, although my mother would have recognized it immediately, were she still with us.

    Best wishes going forward.

    (BTW, I sent a FB friend request in case you don’t recognize the name.)

  27. You can’t choose your relatives, But you can choose your family.

    Truer words have never been spoken.