My goodness, has it really been 6 weeks since I posted? I think about you guys every day. I guess when I post I put a lot into it so sometimes it just takes a lot of gumption for me to put the words together. And it can take a while for my thoughts to start to clarify.
First off, thank you all for following and checking in. Happy holidays to all of you. Each of you is dealing with your share of pain so I am hoping you also find some moments of peace with the people you still have in your life.
I just got back from a week in Vegas for the US Bar Table Championships. I probably couldn't afford to take another week off of work but I did anyway. I'll spare the play by play and just say that I had a blast, played outstanding, had some highlight reel matches on the pay per view table (including a 5-0 victory against one of my long time pool heroes in which he didn't even get to shoot because I ran all five racks, this one's coming to youtube soon ), and overall had pretty good results in these tournaments. Not my career moment, but I rediscovered the rhythm of competition, those doubts and fears became more and more distant and it was just fighting hard and scrambling through racks of balls, which is what I love to do.
One thing I find interesting is that my road partner on this trip was a younger guy, 25 years old. He has quite different views on the world than I do and it got me thinking about some things.
To set up my new train of thought I'll recap a few of my world views that form the basis. It seems to me for most of human history we didn't have choices about what our lives would look like, we were born into a certain life and that's the life we had to live. People had to find ways to adapt to their environment, instead of adapting their environment to them. It is this hardship that forced us to develop traditions and religions, to find meaning in our suffering and make the best of what we had. Marriage in particular was a dominant model because it was a requirement for survival throughout these oppressive times.
After WWII in the 1950s we started to accumulate a surplus of economic resources, technology was developing, and for the first time people weren't forced to follow the old rules for survival. The result was inevitably, the 60s counter culture questioning all of the old beliefs and traditions. It was like a rock long disturbed was uprooted and suddenly the beetles and insects started scampering every direction.
Some of this was good. Think about barbaric traditions such as sacrificing virgins to imaginary deities so the corn crop would come in. This is a tradition that humanity can say, 'hey guys, we've learned a little bit, we don't need to keep doing this anymore'. On the other hand there are many traditions that embody the collective wisdom of thousands of generations we've discovered on how we can best exist together.
One big challenge is how we can tell which is which. And another challenge is that if each of us tries to decide on our own which traditions are positive and which need to go, the result is that we don't have any universal set of values and therefor chaos ensues, like an orchestra where everyone is trying to play their own favorite song. Yes it's freedom, but something is lost in that we aren't harmonious. And as we interpret for ourselves our morality it is too easy to modify our beliefs to match our personal desires.
I've been looking at this with a sense of loss. A loss of the institution of marriage. A loss of the model of sacrifice, servitude, lives dedicated to finding purpose in our suffering. And I used to harbor much more resentment towards XW and other WAS's who I felt had made the choice to go down a road of pursuing selfish worldly desires that was creating a pattern that would bring tremendous pain upon ourselves and destroy much of what we built over many lifetimes.
My friend feels differently. He feels that we were chained down by circumstance and that we are now free to choose our own paths. He views this as a positive. He thinks that marriage and personal sacrifice are outdated traditions that we no longer need. Like we were chained up for so long we came up with traditions on how to live while being chained, and now we're not chained so it would be foolish to stay in our cells when the door isn't locked anymore just because that's what we've always done. I find this very interesting.
There are a few things we agree on. Right or wrong, we both think this is what is happening. We also think that it was and is inevitable. Human nature is human nature. If you leave kids to themselves they'll eat cookies and watch youtube. And similarly the members of our society aren't going to remain in miserable unfulfilling marriages and sacrifice their own personal happiness when they aren't forced to by circumstance. This is clear as even the anti-divorce forum members loath the idea of remaining in an unfulfilling marriage and can easily build cases in which abuse/addiction could justify divorce. We can talk about how we don't like it, but when it's our life that's miserable and we're free to define our own morality and society agrees it's hard for us to be the ones to remain in a difficult situation perpetually because of traditions that no one else is honoring.
And since I feel this is inevitable, I have let go of much of my resentment. I no longer look at my XW or other WASs as horrible people that made selfish choices that destroyed my family and are eroding the society we have built over millennia and dooming our children. Instead I almost feel they didn't have a choice, that we are all sinners and flawed humans and are being swept away in an irresistible current. Sure, a few people can be the exception and decide individually to fight the current, but the majority are going to be pulled downstream. I am no exception to that as proven by the fact I am debating these things for myself instead of following faithfully the teachings of the a priest or a higher power. While I still recognize each person gets to make their own choices, I am finding much more compassion for those being left to navigate their own way while the majority is racing down this path.
Another area I agree on with my friend is that we don't understand partnering up with another person at this time. He doesn't because he doesn't want to make the personal sacrifice, and would rather be free to pursue his own desires in life. I don't because I think that whoever I partnered with would think like he does and ultimately divorce me when they decided that the marriage was no longer working for them. And, as I've mentioned, I have a hard enough time making the sacrifice myself as while I don't always like it, I am human too. So to make a huge sacrifice that would test my dedication so I can endure a number of painful years until my spouse labels me as abusive and leaves to pursue their own happiness again, a result which looks like a foregone conclusion, doesn't seem like a bargain to me.
Maybe this will change at some point and I'll embrace the new ways of serial monogamy as a happy medium and content myself with 3-10 year stints of companionship that expires when it's no longer mutually beneficial. Maybe this will even be a sign of growth for me, a form of embracing what is available to me instead of rejecting it because it isn't everything I wanted. I'm not sure. But I'm not there at this point, that's for sure.
Much of this is churning over old ground, but as time passes and I hear other peoples' input my views gradually evolve. It's too bad we each have to try to go through this and find our own beliefs and we have lost the harmony and much wisdom of the ages, but it does seem inevitable and has carried many benefits in terms of reduction of suffering through oppression. While some will always succumb to chasing worldly pleasures, we still have the choice to appreciate what we have and find meaning in our suffering and purpose in our servitude. I, being human, have a nice mix of both in my life.
OK. Time to play some online chess and veg out for a bit, then back to work to get caught up. Hope you guys all had a good weekend and have a happy holiday!
Me:38 XW:38 T:11 years M:8 years Kids: S14, D11, D7 BD/Move out day: 6/17/14, D final Dec 15
Challenging as always, I admire the way you direct your anger into productivity and drive.
Maybe this is a process with steps except I now seem to have some of the Zues philosophy of life. I do see these waywards in active selfish mode as wasteful beings especially when their selfish behaviour damages homes and children to either get their trousers off, knickers down or disappear into addictions of other kinds. And whilst previously I might have had a little softness on it that's gone.
Abuse is abuse, I do believe in M, I believe in standing, doing everything for the LBS so that they can be the strong stable one for their children. And actually OM and OW can rot in hell as far as I am concerned. Under pond scum and brown stuff.
Sometimes we play our part, I recollect screaming banshee in myself as a most unattractive phase. On the other hand accepting that the other has their choices and really it's none of my business is certain to be part of my thinking.
My battle with the G continues unabated so some of that Zues directed anger is needed by V. Zues is a man I admire very much, he is intelligent and gifted with words but more than that he has great love for his children, has been burdened (like V) with massive fin obligations and has not only survived but thrived.
I will merely say Happy New Year Zues and thank you for being here.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to loose. V 64, WAW
Work was so important to me for so many years. When I went through the D I didn't have the same energy to put into my job and I fell to the middle of the pack. I kept waiting for it to come back. It never did.
But the weirdest thing is I'm totally ok with that. It just doesn't seem as important as it used to. Now I look forward to the time I have with my children and work is just what I do to pay the bills. I am really, really, really fortunate to have the job I do. I set my own schedule which lately has been a fair amount of 10-4 type shifts with a few phone calls or texts or emails here and there as needed. I am good enough that I'm still getting what needs to get done done. Sometimes I'll put in a long day, just as often I'll put in a very light one. And I'm doing well enough to avoid any issues and still bring in enough money to pay the bills. Oh, and I'm down to 13 more payments to XW so after that things will automatically get MUCH easier.
The time with my kids has been irreplaceable. I'm reading to them every night still, this time it's "Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus". There are a few hard parts for them but we're getting through it and it's awesome. We're still playing a lot of games but I've given up on my kids really taking anything on seriously, we just dabble for fun. Last game we got was "Clue". D7 wouldn't stop wiggling in her chair and finally one of the legs broke off (it screwed back on). I couldn't help myself, I said "I think D7 did it in the dining room with her fat butt" and everyone just died laughing. Oh, I hesitated for a moment because that's probably not PC, but she's not overweight or anything and I couldn't help myself. I don't think I traumatized her or anything, she was laughing harder than anyone. Anyway, just randomly thinking about time with my kids.
Tomorrow we go volunteer, packing food for the hungry. I'm excited to bring them with, I think it will be good for them. What else? S13 is slacking again at school, so I'm doing my part to gently (or even a bit not so gently) guide him the right way. But we're also doing things together. He's the computer kid so I've got him starting to mine cryptocurrency. I don't know if we'll ever make ten cents but it's something we can do together. D10 has a book of riddles we've been working through. Just living life I guess.
And I'm hook line and sinker back to pool. I've rediscovered my desire. No wonder work looks dull. I'm working on my game again. I have to. It's not a choice like 'gee, it would be nice if I was better at pool, maybe if it's possible I should see if I can play well..." No, it's more of a must, like I just can't rest easy as long as I know there's still a shot that I don't have perfected. I'll never reach perfection, and the only solace I can achieve is from putting in enough hard work that I feel I've earned a break because I've pushed farther than I thought I could.
This hard work, along with being partnered with this young superstar, has me playing the best pool of my life. I've played two more tournaments since last post. The state championship 8 ball and 9 ball was two weekends ago. I took 3rd in the 8 ball and ended up winning the 9 ball. Then last weekend I took 2nd in a big 9 ball tournament and 3rd in the 8 ball division. What was cool about that is we had Ronnie Alcano, a two time Phillipino champion in the field. I played him and beat him 7-1, then later played him again and beat him 7-0. That's the short version. I'll just say that was rather special. My partner also had good finishes in these last few tournaments, taking a 2nd and a 1st along the way. And we played a doubles division as a pair and took that down too.
Man it feels good. Hard to describe. I told my friend the reason I wasn't choking in these pressure spots was because it didn't seem like a big deal. I'm going after perfection. I want to polish and master every shot of the game, and put it together flawlessly topped off by insatiable hunger and drive and an unequalled positive attitude. That's what I'm driving towards. I know I'll never get there, but that's the only goal that matters. As a consolation prize I'll have a lot of thrilling victories along the way. But they don't make me nervous because that's not the goal, it's not like "If I win this game I've done it" or something. No, if I win tournaments it's not because I've achieved perfection, it's because there are moments that my opposition has fallen further from perfection than I have. Not something to be all that proud of, and not something that I'm nervous about. I just keep trying to reach a goal I'll never hit. Not even because it's effective. Because I have to.
This week was a good example. There were some things I was struggling with that were very discouraging. Shots off the end rail, shooting with an elevated cue, whatever. Some things come so hard for me that I want to quit forever. This is where the positive results I've gotten help. I have to remind myself I'm not the worst player in the world, it just feels hopeless, I have to keep going. So I grind and grind and grind and grind and do drills and take a break, then more drills, then a break, day after day after day. Then finally tonight I'm drilling and the shots start looking clear. I completed a drill for the first time in my life yesterday I've struggled with for years, then I did it again today. Little signs that I'm making minuscule progress. But it's progress. Then I rack up the straight pool and run 98 on my first try. I did choke as I had a shot to hit 100 (which is a pretty nice sized run that is a lifetime milestone for many) but that wasn't important to me. I was so pleased with how I was striking the balls. After as discouraged as I felt, it was a blessing to have an hour of perfection at the table.
Anyway, that's it in a nutshell. I'm going to have a good weekend with my kids, then next weekend I'll degen out and put in some more work on my game. In between I'll make sure to put a few deals together at work so the wheel keeps turning. Life is going good guys, and just like in pool where by the time I get any positive results I definitely feel I've earned it for the work I've put in, I feel that way in life too. It's good, I'm blessed for what I've been given, but I've also had to go through an awful lot to be in a spot where all feels well.
Take care my DBing friends.
Me:38 XW:38 T:11 years M:8 years Kids: S14, D11, D7 BD/Move out day: 6/17/14, D final Dec 15
Zues, it's great to hear you are finding yourself again. It's like welcoming an old friend, isn't it?
I always love to hear what you are reading to your kids. I read to my kids daily long past the age that most people do. It was our daily ritual and we all looked forward to it. Sometimes I'll hear about a married couple that reads to each other and that seems like the most romantic thing in the world to me. Not something Mr. P and I ever did. I'd like to someday.
Zeus, reading your post brought back a lot of memories of my dad who passed away 2 years ago. His biggest passion in life, that I knew of, was pool. He wasn't the caliber player you are, but he was passionate about playing. Some of my best memories of him are from when he used to play, thank you for queuing those memories up for me.
You are lucky to be so good at something you have passion for, it must be so fulfilling in life. I'm finding things that I'm passionate about, I'm not that good at them, but I'm having a lot of fun...
M - 9 1/2 years 5/5/16 - Bomb drop - 3 week EA 10/31/16 - We sold house 01/10/18 - D Finalized
I just wanted to drop by and let you know I am always reading. It is so obvious you have a passion that ignites every part of you. Sometimes when we have one thing that fuels our soul, it accelerates every area of our life.
Keep on shooting high and having fun. I think that might be the difference in you these days. You still strive for perfection, but you have fun doing it. You don't define yourself by whether or not you have reached perfection or by a bad pool day, or even by a really good pool day. You are enjoying the ride, and that's what's most important.