Sunday, July 13, 2008

Picture if You Will

I’ve been a bit sporadic with posts these past couple of weeks. I think that’s partly due to how crazy things are at work at the moment. Never underestimate how the reality of the “material” can compromise your desire for change. It’s hard to focus on personal growth/shedding the old to make way for the new/simplifying/downshifting when you have billion-dollar deals on your desk that need attention.

But that’s not the whole story. I feel like I’m in a holding pattern, waiting for specific dates to show up on my doorstep, just so that I can cross something off my list. The worst part is that I’ve caught myself counting the days and noting how many months I have left till December 2009. It is just not healthy. I’m in a rut and it really sucks.

This week was particularly bad. Things on the romantic front took a turn for the worse with someone that I’ve come to care a great deal about. I spent all day yesterday with buddies drinking up a storm all over the city. Spending tons of cash. Feeling sorry for myself. Suddenly everything was spinning out of control and I couldn’t give two shits about The Plan, The Enemy, and, most of all, myself.

PICTURE IF YOU WILL

Picture if you will, my dear reader…

Jack and his friends charge into the bar, like wild bulls. They spot a crowd of girls in the middle of the bar. Jack turns to his friend and says “Dude, they are HOT.” Jack’s friend nods and knows what comes next.

Jack makes his way over to the one in the middle; the porcelain centerpiece; the one all the other girls always congregate around. He’s a bit coy this evening. “Hey. I’m Jack. What’s your name?” She responds hypnotically, “Hey Jack, nice to meet you! I’m External. External Validation.” Jack raises an eyebrow. “You know, I know this is going to sound like a line, but you look super familiar. Do you know Apathy? He was my roommate in college.”

Within a minute Jack’s friends join the party and that shameful, empty business can start all over again. He buys them shots. He mentions a certain law school’s name. He talks about his ‘portfolio’. He buys more shots.

All the while External Validation stares at Jack, full of adoration. Or is it pity. Jack doesn’t care. All he knows is that she is everything he ever wanted.

EPILOGUE

Jack watches the cab pull away. He walks inside his beautiful townhouse, cursing under his breath. It’s 7:00 am and he is still drunk. The emptiness is drowning him. He turns on his laptop, opens up Word and begins typing:

“I’ve been a bit sporadic with posts these past couple of weeks…”

22 comments:

Elizabeth said...

well, maybe you can use the emptiness you felt at the end of the evening as a reminder when life gets in the way of your goals - since I expect you are trying to move towards a life that wouldn't engender that feeling ..

nea said...

god, your night sounds about like mine. if it makes you feel better, we have all been there.

Miles To Go Before I Sleep...... said...

Yep, I agree with nea, we've all been there.... some of us have been there, left, went back, and left again.... we have hurt people along the way and that includes ourselves in the same way... but I know I've learned countless things about that empty feeling. I've learned through all those bar nights what I was looking for and not looking for, for myself, my kids, and a future partner.... John and I would love to write a book about the social interactions of a bar scene (yeah, it's been done lots of times... but we had fun being dorks and taking notebooks into bars and watching people, then realizing "crap, we looked like them last week!")

The rut thing... yeah, ruts suck. But the only person that can get you out is yourself too... I usually have to MAKE myself do something when I'm in that rut.... it kinda pulls me out a bit :-)

Jack said...

Elizabeth,

That's about right. It's like a very blunt instrument hitting your heard and telling you that you are going the wrong way on a one-way road. Not pretty...

J

Jack said...

Nea, Miles,

Thanks guys. Appreciate the comments. It's been a pretty lousy weekend. But maybe that is as it should be. You never really go forward if everything is always going the way you think it should go. It's the struggle that always seems to push me forward. I just wish it didn't have to be so difficult...

Take care,

J

stranger in a strange van said...

chin up jack. you have won half the battle just by realizing that you have to start enjoying life NOW or you won't know how later. it's tough when we wish for drastically different circumstances, but it's the key piece around which all other pieces of happiness fit.

amy said...

You never really go forward if everything is always going the way you think it should go. It's the struggle that always seems to push me forward. I just wish it didn't have to be so difficult...

You nailed it on the head there. Setbacks are just setbacks... sounds like you've learned something from it, so take that as a positive thing. I second stranger: chin up!

m.luckey said...

I found your blog through the cage free family. I've been reading w/ great interest as my family is in the process of simplifying our lives.
Wow...target dates, now there's a good idea! Here are some links for inspiration.
http://www.galfromdownunder.com/dan-price/
http://www.moonlight-chronicles.com/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ji5_MqicxSo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RcYv5x6gZTA

Jack said...

Thanks Amy.

BTW, I am sooo checking out Rounders this weekend!

J

Jack said...

Thanks m.luckey.

Yeah, been following the cage free family since that NYT piece. In a weird way, it sort of validated what I've been wanting to do for so long. So checking out their blog was another big push.

J

claire said...

Hi Jack

I am also a lawyer. I live in the UK - I also have a plan to quit and downsize. I cant deal with sitting at a desk any longer..

Check out my blog - escapethe9to5.blogspot.com

Jennifer F. said...

In a way, this post is inspiring. After all, you can't head towards the light until you realize you're in darkness. Also, I don't know if you've experienced this, but I often find that my biggest setbacks occur right before I'm about to make a big leap spiritually. I don't know if that's just me, but I've definitely found it to be true.

Sharon J said...

Got the t-shirt.

You'll get back on track :)

Emily (Laundry and Lullabies) said...

So is there anything salvageable in the romantic department? If she's special enough to make you this upset, maybe she's special enough to keep trying? Not that I know anything about your life. :) Just a thought!

Buddy said...

Hey Jack,

Have you set aside some of your budget for a fling every now and again? If you're going very asutere all of a sudden, maybe it would help to plan one night out a week, or one major blowout a month.

For me it is often as simply travelling to visit some friends on one of my days off. If I don't at least do that I'll be in a rut all the next week for sure.

I had a small blowout for July Fourth. It was fun, but I found myself thinking the next few days and wondering if it ws really worth it. I think I am also redfining my idea of 'fun'.

Peace,
Buddy

Jack said...

Jennifer,

Thanks for that. Believe it or not, I'm a little removed from what happened this past week...I think I've filtered it and are ready to make something constructive out of it. I don't want to force it, but I feel something positive taking over...

J

Jack said...

Emily,

You know, I don't think so. I'm moving more and more into this VS mind-frame and the person I was seeing is expecting other things. I think I need to be focused on this goal right now. I don't know...maybe I need to take time away from relationships until things are more solidified.

J

Jack said...

Buddy,

Yeah, I sort of have an entertainment budget. It has become more focused on 'core' things I love. Mindless consumption 'blowouts' definitely happen (see, e.g., this post) but they are not intended. Nothing wrong with a couple of beers with the guys. I would just rather spend my money on museums, movies, etc...

J

Fifty-One-Fifty said...

Hey, Jack, did I tell you I was visiting D.C.?

Seriously, though...

Picture this: you have the social skills to pick a girl up at a bar, you have the business skills, the educational background to make money (horrible as it may seem), and you can form a sentence not only on paper, but also in your mouth. These are positive attributes.

Some woman will see those, and more.

Jack said...

Fifty-one-fifty,

Thanks for the comment. Will try to stop blushing now...

J

Betty Ann said...

In the book Your Money Or Your Life the writer did what you are doing. He figured out a way to make enough interest so he could retire YOUNG. (in his 30s). He then used his time doing REAL Work.....Volunteer work for whatever he wanted to do....the only way to feel a real HAPPINESS is to Give to Others. You could use your skills as a lawyer to do work that you want to do; and not worry about a salary.

I wish I was in the position to do that...(but too many financial obligations to one more child; the other 2 just finished college; and this one is only 12) I have to keep working and working to keep the house going because this is a safe and wonderful school district; and the thought of getting an apartment in another area would reduce my bills by 2/3rd a month; and I could save more; but also do Volunteer work was tempting. (but I checked the school district out and Big No to me). (having children changes our goals; different priorities). I wished I had save MORE when I was young and then could live off just interest as many do and do the REAL WORK I desire.

Betty Ann said...

P.S. I still get a DEEP SATISFACTION...because I'm a MOM.....when the focus is on OTHERS..the satisfaction is just there. I never feel an Emptiness..because as a single mom; the challenge of staying in the right school district and him knowing all the neighbors is what foster my satisfaction of personal achievement.