It’s Been A Good Week, Of Sorts …

Despite being in a severe drought, I am enjoying the gardeniasfront_gardenias that are blooming like crazy these last few weeks! Some have gone a bit yellow, but I am hoping with a slight increase in watering that they will bounce back. I love flowers …. and I’m debating about planting some wild flowers next year. Love them … so free and vibrant!

It’s been a good week, or last seven days or so … Firstly, I went in for my dreaded semi-annual PSA test, and surprisingly, my PSA score was one of the lowest I’ve had since beginning this journey. I am pleased of course, but still don’t like the fact that this is now something I have to do for the rest of my life (and hopefully nothing more!). Yes, I am happy it is relatively low, but not so thrilled that my doctor has suggested another biopsy in six to twelve months. I’ve had two biopsies so far. The first showed 3% PCa in one of twelve vials. The second biopsy did not find anything, which, in my opinion is a meaningless test. Such is life. I’ll just hold on in the mean time!

Last Sunday was Father’s Day. I was a bit overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from Siran and Taleen. Siran had texted me first and it was great to hear from her. I honestly expect very little on this day, since I am not their father, just a step dad :) The recognition was nice though. Then later came Taleen. First she called (always nice!) and she took a personal interest in what I was doing today. That was followed by a visit the next day from her and a home made card – love it! The card was very personal and heart felt. I love the line “the best step-dad we could be ‘stuck’ with”. Ain’t that the truth …. They also gave me a very nice metal colored glass mug with my name on it – that will be fun also. Again, definitely not needed, and I wish they hadn’t spent the money. Finally I heard from David (I never know what to expect from him) and we chatted and half hour. It was nice to catch-up with him, and we talked about the usual job and apartment situations. I couldn’t resist and asked if he had talked to his sister. Not entirely surprising, he said she gets upset whenever he talks about me to her. She is still embittered about the divorce. So much for her ‘forgiveness’ – which fake like everything else about her. While I am deeply saddened by her continuing desire to not have anything to do with me, I know for myself that I do not hold any resentment or bitterness — against her or her mother. I have moved on. Life is too short to be upset and destroyed by impaled bitterness. Their bitterness will take away from their daily enjoyment of life.

So it comes full circle, this blog post. My own life’s events have made me realize life’s true value, while others (who are probably in good health) have not learned such valuable lessons yet.

Life is too short, and is meant to be sweet, and not bitter!

Life Is Different Now

Sometimes life does not turn out the way you had always thought it would. As I get older, I realize there are many reasons for this. People change, friends change, people move away, friendships change, life changes. We change. I change. It happens.

I had come across a picture the other day of Kia and Durango, my dog and cat, I once had. It was as if I had stared at the picture and suddenly became frozen in time, kind of like that 1980 movie Somewhere In Time with Christopher Reeves and Jane Seymour, where Reeves finds himself back in time with his long lost love, and finds a penny in his pocket from the era he came from – catapulting him back to his present day. movie_somewhereintimeSuch is how I felt when I came across the picture as I was going through my laptop the other day. A flood of memories came over me, as if I had become temporally paralyzed.

My mind recalled the moment I had snapped that picture, how playful Durango was with Kia, and Kia basically tolerated Durango’s rants. It brought me to a different place in my life where kids were younger and life seemed simpler. We were still in that “raising kids” mode, and the future was anybody’s guess at that time. I don’t recall having a negative experience with the kids, in that they were “just kids” and we were just your average family. Unbeknownst to anyone, I had a secret that I had been keeping for years, and not a soul was suspect. Who knew that someday my life would bust open.

What seemed like an eternity followed, with endless discussions with attorneys and legal pursuits would become my own private hell for some four or five years to follow. Going through a divorce has changed me more than any single even, though a divorce is hardly a single event in itself. They say divorce brings out the best and worse in people and your true colors come out. This holds true for relatives and children as a direct result of the divorce. Not that I would ever expect sympathy or even contact from my ex’s relatives, but as they say, blood is thicker than water. I have never talked with anyone on her side of the family since then, nor would I have expected to. But after some 20 years of being “family” I would have thought that even a passive email may have happened at some time. Maybe not. Maybe I am just living in the past.

But one thing I did not expect to happen was that my estranged daughter would continue her own pessimistic journey of hate and despair, and basically not to have any contact with me. For the first few years, I tried exhaustively to reach out to her and re-establish contact. She has always been stubborn and self-righteous, and her continual denial of my role in her life truly makes her own ‘colors’ come out. I was a good father to her, or so I would like to think at least. I had told her many times “I am divorcing your mother, not you!”. It is especially hurtful when she is many times the hypocrite I am, proclaiming a Christian love and forgiveness for all. In fact, my last contact with her was a text message a few years ago saying “I forgive you.” Forgiveness to me means overlooking mistakes that happened in the past, and moving on as if it never happened. It means rebuilding bridges that have been torn down and needs fixing. It means looking in the mirror, realizing that we’re all not perfect, even though we may always think it is the other guy, not me.

I feel like my hands are tied. I have tried to re-connect with her, but you cannot force people to think your way. I used to think every single day about her, but now I have moved on to a point where I have more-or-less accepted the past in that I cannot change anyone but myself and everyone must face their own reality. Knowing her, she craves the attention of my so-called abandonment and “poor father” I was to her as if to gain empathy from others. She is and always will be an attention whore. I am sure that part of her has not changed.

This last year has been a bit trying as well as my son moved out-of-state with his girlfriend. I had minimal contact before when he lived 50 miles away in San Jose, but now he is some 2500 miles away. Even if I talk with his just as much as before, there is a significant difference when someone moves that far away. You can’t just drive down on a Saturday afternoon for lunch. I have to admit that I am disappointed with how my relationship is with him these days, recalling how my own days of his age were often spent hanging out with my dad in his work shop. I just wanted to be with him. Period.

Kids are different these days. High tech gadgets and social media. Both my kids seem somewhat apathetic and self-consumed. They are consumed with their own lives in a way that crowds out parents. While I have not talked with her, I am sure my ex feels similarly with kids moving away. It is understandable that kids want to start their own lives and have their own identity, but at what costs? Ignoring the parents that raised them?

Then I look at my wife’s kids today. One lives fairly far away and the other has a very active social life. Both keep in regular touch with both parents, not just one. I admire that. Not just my wife’s efforts to retain the relationships, but that both kids do the same, even with a steady boyfriend, or weekly going out to clubs and having fun. Both kids keep in constant touch with their mother and father, though they are divorced. So where did I go wrong?

Times change. It is amazing what a single picture does to you and the flood of memories and emotions it brings back to you.

I do not miss the “old times” per se. I do enjoy the present life. But in many ways, I have to admit, I feel robbed in my relationships I lack with immediate family and even cousins. I wish things were different, and though I tried many times to re-connect with cousins, they all just want to live their own lives.

…. and then some reach out to me only for a donation when a family member is ill, or help pay for travel or income reimbursement due to hardship? Sometimes it is more of a curse than a blessing of having so many cousins. More reasons for isolation and avoidance of the drama.

Life changes. Sometimes it is hard to stay current and not think about what once was, simpler times.

Mid-Life Crisis or Depression?

60s_XMI was driving to work today, relishing in the fact that my commute this day was a mere 15 minutes to work. I had just gotten my dark roast coffee from my drive-through and I was driving in the bright morning sunlight listening to XM-Sirius radio. I have been enjoying this two-month trial quite a bit, and on this day — as in the past few days — I’ve been enjoying listening to the 60s station. It brings back such nice memories of my childhood (yes, I really am that old!) and the ‘calm’ of my youth. I remember my mother playing so many of these songs, or hearing them on the AM radio in our old station wagon.

So there I was, basking in my dreamscape of vacation beginning in a mere four hours, when I see this black shiny Corvette go zipping by, and it made me think — why do people buy such fancy luxury cars, when you can’t even take advantage of their high-end performance! Most often, it is some middle-aged man in his 40s or 50s. I thought, “What is with these cars?”. Sure, sometimes you see men in this age group driving luxury cars as a sign of success and having “made it”, but more often than not, you see men driving fancy sports cars like Porsches or Corvettes. You don’t see 50-something men driving suped-up 4×4 pick-up trucks. Why? Because they don’t appeal to the inner youth of speed and high performance. They don’t “rev up” the male ego over-flowing with testosterone and all that male-ness!

So why do men get such fancy cars, or big yachts? Maybe it isn’t a so-called mid-life crisis after all? Maybe it is depression that yes, you really are in your 50s now, and you have less life ahead of you than you do behind you. Not to be morbid, but you are past your mid-life. So isn’t the “crisis” over?

I rather to think that the best years for myself are yet ahead of me, when I do not have to deal with the day-to-day toils of politics at work and can spend my days reading and walking. I long for the days when I can spend the days with my lovely wife and discovering new things together. I long for “day trips” when I can enjoy mountainous scenery or amazing beaches or state parks. But alas, we must work for now.

So where did this begin….. listening to the radio. Ahhh, the 60s …..