Page 25 of 29

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Fri Jul 26, 2019 10:25 am
by 7Wannabe5
...and on some level increases resentment of the kids (if only they weren't there, I could be as big an asshole as I wanted!!!).
lol- This Summer-of-George syndrome applies no matter which vices are best correlated with your personality type. One of the reasons I agreed to move back in with The Cowboy was that when I said "I am an old women who just wants a serene environment and if that means being by myself, so be it.", he responded with "Of course the environment is serene when you are by yourself, because you are drinking your own kool-aid." I don't know. I still think I might be better off trying to find a male peer INTP with a high sex drive to putter about with in my old age. I am about cooked on trading T for F or P for J or S for N.

Some disparate thoughts at the end of summer

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:42 pm
by suomalainen
1) The kids are back in school. Thank god. Back in the day, I used to look at rich people who sent their even young kids to boarding schools or had nannies or the like that did all the parenting work and I thought "What's the point of having kids if you don't want to spend any time with them?" Well, although there may be many answers to that question (yanny vs laurel - the answer is obviously laurel), the answer is obviously that some people just aren't made to deal well with kids. What's got three kids and is one of those people? This guy. I do try, but it is nice that they are someone else's problem for a few hours during the day. (Even though I work and don't deal with them all day in the summer either, the wife does deal with them and her exhaustion from them then impacts me.)

2) So, I had this idea. Let's go to Finland for two weeks next summer. Great idea! But, you know...if two weeks is great, FOUR weeks would be fantastic! know...if four weeks is fantastic...EIGHT weeks would be TERRIFIC. So, like an idiot, I decided to ask my boss for eight weeks of unpaid leave next summer before I had a chance to talk myself out of it. I then spoke to three colleagues who would be impacted by it and the reactions ranged from "Cool, I totally support that" to "why would you want to do that" to "eight weeks is a long time" to "does that mean I can't take vacation next summer?" So, stewing on it a few days, I went into my one-on-one with my boss and said "Well, that request seems like it would be pretty disruptive, so how about I just go 80% next year and I take every Friday off?" The reactions to THAT ran the gamut from "I would never do that. What about your career?" to "You're my hero, that's what I want to do. If it goes well for you, maybe I'll try it." It was very interesting how it just blew everyone's minds that I would have the temerity to ask for that. I'm a PROFESSIONAL and PROFESSIONALS JUST DON'T DO THAT SORT OF THING. The boss is thinking about it and I've wavered myself, sometimes wondering just what the hell have I gotten myself into, but I think I just need a sustained break where I have some actual time to myself. Maybe it'd even help me not write stuff like that first paragraph.

3) One of the strange ways that I've learned my anxiety presents is that even though I might feel exhausted, for example at the end of a week, when I feel the slightest breathing space, I immediately and unbidden start to plan something to fill that space. It happened today like this: I get home early from work cuz my boss' boss sent an email that said we could go early and not a second after the email had switched from 'unread' to 'read', I zoomed out the door. I had had several "breathing space" moments during the day when I thought how I was looking forward to having three days of nothing to do and THAT WAS THE PLAN. But literally within 5 minutes of walking in the door and stripping off my work clothes, I catch my brain thinking "well, shit, I gotta do something tomorrow. What am I gonna do?" It reminds me of the time David Foster Wallace noted that many suicides occur by 'shooting the terrible master' in your head. I don't wanna kill myself, nor do I want to get rid of my kids. I just want a little peace. If the (expensive) 80% thing doesn't work, maybe it's time to try some cheap pills. I just dislike the idea of messing with brain chemistry.

edit: 4) I learned this week that 3 people I used to work with at the firm made partner. One was a total surprise, but the other two were well-expected. But especially with that unexpected one, I found myself thinking...I've wasted my life. It's funny. I never wanted to make partner and I obviously didn't want to put in the work to get there, but...I dunno, seeing that marker of success for these other people made me somehow feel less "successful" in my own piddly career. Especially seeing as how I had just asked to go to 80% time because "I can't hack it at full time." Maybe I'm having a little bit of a self-pity party here. I dunno. There have been many times in my life where I wished I was someone or something that I'm not. Accepting who you are, especially when you see it refracted through unexpected prisms...can maybe show you parts of you that, at some perhaps unconscious level, you don't like. I dunno.

edit2: 5) from here ... usal-work/ This sounds very familiar / I am this cliche:
The extreme casualty of this situation is today’s archetypal rushed worker, who commutes home in the dark hours with emails still to answer, feels too drained to engage emotionally with the family, and is disinclined to do very much other than drink wine and watch TV before bed.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 4:17 pm
by 2Birds1Stone
Jason will be here soon to give you a hug, but in the meantime I think it's important to applaud yourself for having the balls to ask for 8 weeks off. I think that would do wonders for you, and maybe it's a much better option than 3 day weekends, since you will end up cramming 5 days of work into 4, just saying.

Enjoy the 3.5 day weekend.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:12 pm
by P_K
For what it's worth, Suo, I think you've built a good life. I respect that you are trying very hard to make your way through this thing we call existence, and to do right by those in your life along the way. So I hope you will take the following ramblings in the spirit I am intending: as some maybe hopefully helpful advice.

Quiet introspection and rumination are both tasks at which we are tremendously accomplished, but it seems to me that they don't offer much value beyond a certain point. Understanding the "why" is fun, and illuminating, and whatever, but I think it pales in value compared to asking "What now?"

The world needs your gift, Suo. It needs your love. What will you offer it? What is your truth? Your purpose? It doesn't seem to be raising your kids (that's fine); it doesn't seem to be lawyering (that's fine). The other lawyers who have made partner that you compare your successes to are irrelevant. Their purpose is not yours. Requesting every Friday off is fantastic; I applaud it. Use that time to find your purpose. You are going to die someday, Suo. I am too. Every day sickeningly, boringly, confirms that our bodies and minds are aging, that we are running out of time. You must not stay as the zombified office worker. You must find the activity that demands your focus and your energy and your love while somehow giving you even more. So much so that you cannot help but give it all and more back to your kids, to your wife, to the world.

This will not be easy. Especially when you are so accustomed to having your time always filled by the demands of a rigorous career and of maintaining and caring for a family. I see the anxiety you feel in the face of free time as signs of a subconscious fear of facing the question "what am I going to do with my life?" Immediately filling that void of time with anything reasonable serves as kicking the can down the road so that eventually you can die without ever having to answer it. It is so easy to fall into this trap but please do not let it happen to you.

One way to rephrase the question of "what am I going to do with my life?" that hopefully takes some of the anxiety out of answering it is to instead ask "What am I going to do with my life right now?" Still an enormously difficult question to answer, but a bit more manageable I think; and, one we must face.

I'm not your therapist, I don't know you, I only have your words on this forum. So if I have misread or misinterpreted I apologise. But from what I see, I think some peace and some rest will help but ultimately I don't think it's the answer. And I don't think pills are the answer. I think purpose is the answer. A day off every week will do wonders to help you find that purpose and dial it in. Good luck. I'm rooting for you.

Re: Some disparate thoughts at the end of summer

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:36 am
by Ego
suomalainen wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:42 pm
It reminds me of the time David Foster Wallace noted that many suicides occur by 'shooting the terrible master' in your head. I don't wanna kill myself, nor do I want to get rid of my kids. I just want a little peace.
As someone who has experienced far too much suicide in life I've learned that people don't innocently say shit like this.

Last night I watched the Chappelle special on netflix. He opened with a bit about Anthony Bourdain who by all accounts had the perfect life where he got paid tons of money to fly around the world, stay in luxury hotels, eat incredible food and interview fascinating people. Then he talked about a friend who was a ghetto genius who made it to medical school but somehow messed up his life and ended up selling shoes at Foot Locker. Referee shirt and all. Chappelle found it perplexing that Bourdain committed suicide and the friend never even contemplated it.

There is a social contagiousness to suicide. One person does it and the idea infects the minds of others.

It got me thinking about that James Clear article BSOG posted.

Many years ago I stopped eating fast food. Over the years I began to see fast food restaurants not as restaurants at all. It just stopped being an option. I no longer thought of the product they sold as food. I became the kind of person who never went into a fast food restaurant. Not that I had to try. It just stopped occurring to me as an option.

I wonder how much of this is habits. Is it possible to convince myself that I am the kind of person who is not susceptible to the mind virus of suicide? Can I just one day decide that I am the kind of person who stops reading the David Foster Wallace story when it turns to suicide? Is it possible to choose to become like Chappelle's friend, the kind of person who never contemplates it? Can I make myself into the kind of person for whom it just never occurs as an option?

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 8:56 am
by Jason
I'm no expert in suicide but there is a reason there are clusters whether geographic, family, social - the idea that it is an option. It's that simple. If your father committed suicide you were informed it is an option. I think the Hemingways are up to seven. What the Kennedy's are to assassinations, that family is to suicide. The Kennedys just the get the bands named after them and the Rolling Stones' song shout outs. My guess it explains the Chappelle bit. I just came back from DC and visited the Holocaust museum. There was no mention of suicide from the Jewish perspective. Just the German. I didn't have time to get to the African American History museum, but my guess is it would be similar. There are factors outside of psychology that play into it. I think.

Suo is obviously an extremely intelligent, successful, individual who occasionally drives his kids to a large body of water and contemplates letting go of the emergency brake. But IMHO, once you wipe of all the Kiergarrdian sand off of those feet, I would classify it under the category of "perfectly fucking normal." And suicide ideation is a protective device. That being said, if anyone is having such thoughts, contact a professional. Don't PM me. I'm going to read and then binge watch Parks and Recreation, which I recommend. Well, starting in season #2.

Re: to the re: to the random thoughts above

Posted: Sat Aug 31, 2019 9:31 pm
by suomalainen
Thanks to everyone for their thoughtful and kind responses. I'm not really suicidal. It's just that there are days when I think that ceasing to exist wouldn't be all that bad. I never went through that period in high school when teens romanticize suicide or whatever. Then again, apparently when I was in the hospital after getting hit by that car, I said to my wife "why couldn't I have just died?" I dunno. I'm still here and have never had any thoughts or desire to deliberately shorten my time here (my diet notwithstanding). I'm also not overjoyed each time I get to experience a traffic jam, but I could certainly have more joy in my life than I currently do.

I think some of this is just a general feeling of aimlessness or perhaps purposelessness as @p_k advocated. The way I think about it is that when I was a kid, I was given a purpose. It's like many young adult fantasy fiction books, like Harry Potter. There's a definite progression or set of concrete steps that one must accomplish. But those books never deal with any sort of nuance or even with the struggle of having to define yourself. Anyway, back to when I was a kid, I was given a purpose. That purpose was to go to high school and get good grades so that I could go to college and get good grades so that I could go to graduate school and get good grades so that I could go to a fancy law firm and get good contacts so that I could get a cushy in-house job. I got that cushy in-house job 7 years ago. When I first got that job, I had, for the first time in years, time to just be, time to think, time to not be running around working or studying or preparing for the next thing. For the first time, I had no "next thing". In my line of work, in my company, there was no career path, unless I completely switched to a different path (different area of law or jumping to the business side). While having this space felt wonderful, it was also extremely challenging. I picture it like this: I was a dam holding back years' worth of accumulated unresolved personal issues (issues for which I never previously had time or maturity to consider - I just put my head down and went to work). Getting that cushy job was really just like a holding basin at the bottom of the dam so that the dam felt like it could open the floodgates to lessen the pressure behind the dam. Working through that shit-pit of a holding basin with a therapist was great and all, but here I am having come to peace with my past, but still unsatisfied with my present and uncertain of my future. TL;DR - educational/vocational purpose was always externally given to me and when I "won the game" and ran out of "next milestones to achieve"...aimlessness / purposelessness was waiting for me.

I also went through a period of time where I definitely felt a deep sense of moral purpose, a deep sense of "being special" when I was a religious person. But, long story short, I feel deceived by religion and by my church in particular. I'm sure it's a fine church as churches go, but let's just say that being a human institution, it falls far short of any expectations that are tied to god's perfection. And more generally, I got to the point where I realized either (a) I'm not special or (b) everyone is special (meaning no one is). So, you get to that point where you essentially become nihilistic and think that nothing matters. I'm not at all certain...hell, I KNOW that "the world" doesn't need my gifts, as @p_k wrote. Only if you define "the world" to be extremely narrow (i.e., my immediate family), can you plausibly use the word "need" to describe the world's relationship to me. Only my kids really need me. Even though I'm a really good lawyer, I can still be easily replaced at work. Even though I am a son (note not a good one), my parents will be fine if I'm dead. My sister and my wife would be fine without me as well, even if it would hit them a little harder than all the rest. Friends would obviously move on pretty easily, even if they remembered me from time to time and poured out a 40 for me. TL;DR - being special or even considering myself a child of god does not save me from this sense of aimlessness / purposelessness, because I see it is just an illusion.

Purpose, being an illusion, is therefore something that is extremely difficult for me to rally behind. This is one reason why I sometimes wish I hadn't become disillusioned with religion and why I don't try to "convert" my religious friends to "the truth". Even if religion is 95% bullshit, that 5% can give believers a rich, full life that may not be replicable through any other means. But my problem is that I can't go back.
P_K wrote:
Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:12 pm
You must find the activity that demands your focus and your energy and your love while somehow giving you even more. So much so that you cannot help but give it all and more back to your kids, to your wife, to the world.
Turning now to a positive consideration of some of the thoughts express above rather than simply explaining away why i don't need to listen to any of it as I did above, I think this quote probably frames the question in a way that doesn't trigger my eye-rolling cynical nihilism.

(1) To the extent I do have a purpose, notwithstanding some of my despairing writings about it, raising my kids properly actually probably is the only real purpose that I feel. I simply cannot let my parenting go to shit. I'm sure it would be very healthy for me on the one hand to let the belt out a little and practice some benign neglect, but I already feel like I'm doing that to the degree that I want to do that. I actually work very hard on keeping up with research, etc. on what kids need and how to raise thoughtful, kind, capable children. And, got damnit, I'm doing a mighty fine job of it, if I do say so myself. The problem is just that it's so exhausting that either (a) I'm doing something wrong and/or (b) my anxiety keeps me in the "on" position way too much and exhausts my limbic system (is that right? sympathetic nervous system? I dunno, whatever).

(2) Speaking of always "being on", I know for a fact that this is one of my major complaints about parenting. I don't know exactly what the problem is or when it started or at least when it started bothering me, but when the kids were young, I mean, I was working a lot, but I'd come home and I wanted to spend time with them and play with them and read to them and snuggle them, etc. It was tiring, but I also got a lot from it. At some point over the last 4 years (maybe more), when my oldest went through middle school and my youngest was starting to be able to take care of some things for himself, I sort of feel like parenting switched from the "caring" model to the "cruise director" model. (a) I stopped getting any emotional return from the work I was putting into it, (b) I started picking up more shit from them (entitlement, bickering, whining, blah blah blah) and (c) they started becoming much more complex creatures. Babies and young kids are FUCKING EASY. Feed 'em, change 'em, pay attention to 'em, put 'em to bed, the end. They're pets. Around middle school...they suddenly become human. I blame the hormones. Anyway. I'm sure there's some sort of complex dynamic here that isn't quite clear to me or perhaps to anyone involved, but somewhere along the line, my wife and I didn't manage the pet-to-human transition very well, either separately or as a combined parental unit. We're just now experimenting with some ways that appear to be helpful where that "always-on cruise director" can be jettisoned. I really don't know what label to apply to this next model. It's probably a "mentor" model, whereby the kids have finished going through that awkward phase where they need you but they hate that they need you but don't know that they need you nor that they hate that they need you so they're just pissy at your for no goddamn reason while expecting you to do stuff for them but hating that you're doing stuff for them and they even hate the thing that you're doing for them that they need and want you to do. It's all very confusing. You know what it feels like? It feels like I'm in a bowel movement. Not my bowel movement. I am the shit. Eventually I'll be ejected from this phase and I'll be so fucking happy that I'm free. In the meantime, I'm Andy Dufresne:ing my way through this most foul smelling stage of life.

(3) I don't feel like I'm scared of facing the question of what am I going to do with my life (i.e., I got over the fear of facing stuff I un- or subconsciously feared when I went to therapy for two years). It's more a combination of exhaustion and this lack of purpose, defined as "an activity that demands your focus and your energy and your love while somehow giving you even more." I sort of feel like I'm parenting and working in a "defensive" mode. Does that make sense? Like, I'm not laughingly, joyously embracing's more like I'm...shoulder-shruggingly setting my face towards this daunting challenge that I'm maybe a little scared of and not too sure that I want to be doing and not at all sure that I'll enjoy, but it just needs to be done. I'm playing the odds; I'm playing it safe. I'm doing the things that "need to be done" in socially acceptable ways. I'm not going out on a limb; I'm not trying to reinvent the wheel; I'm not...I'm not...I'm not playing to win - I'm playing to not lose.

Do I have a good life? Objectively, yes. But something is missing. I can't seem to turn the switch from "not hating my life" to "loving my life"; from "not hating my job" to "loving my job" or at least "finding purpose in my job, even if that purpose is simply to keep myself busy and to provide a ridiculously good life for me and my kids"; from "unable to refrain from thinking how much energy my kids are requiring" to "enjoying the time I spend away from my kids AND enjoying the time I spend with my kids, in each case without thinking about the one while I'm doing the other."

That was a good mind dump. Thanks for the mental stimulants and laxatives, people. Will need to let this simmer a bit and return to it.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Sun Sep 01, 2019 1:05 am
by fingeek
I'm going through a very similar thought pattern this last year or so if it's any consolation. In a big way, the "I've won the game, what's next? Oh there's no next/no need for a next" bit is what's broken me, being historically goals focused. Hoist by our own petard. I've been reading a lot about existential crisis/existential anxiety and this describes it well for me.

The solution? _shrug_. I read too that finding your purpose is the right solution too, so you have something again to aim for, something that isn't easily solveable. Second, being less goals focused - "being" mode rather than "doing" mode. Third, for me at least, I realise I'm missing some sense of broader "belongingness".

Thanks for sharing, it's good to hear another viewpoint on things.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 11:59 am
by suomalainen
Pointer from @fingeek's journal: ... ef-3144580

Health: Maintain your health, and you're maintaining your happiness. Health issues can bring additional stress and can make it difficult for you to do some of the things that bring you happiness and stress relief.
Self-Esteem: Feeling good about who you are isn't just a touchy-feely thing we worry about for our kids; it's important for you to like the person you are right now. Low self-esteem seems to affect many areas of your life.
Goals, Values and Spiritual Life: These are three different things, but they make up an important category that involves an internal, positive focus on something that's greater than who you are right now. These are all things that bring meaning to your life, and this is closely tied to your happiness.
Money: It's true that, beyond a certain point, more money doesn't bring significantly more happiness. It's also true, however, that too little money can bring stress and challenges to your happiness. Having enough money to live comfortably is important.
Work: Having a job that fulfills you is ideal. A job that doesn't make you miserable is a must.
Play: Leisure time, having fun, letting loose--they're all important for your happiness and stress levels. You don't need to play all of the time, but you really need some time for fun in your life.
Learning: Taking on new skills and growing as a person involves gratifications, and can provide you with greater resources in your life--both great for stress and happiness.
Creativity: The same is true for expressing your creativity. In fact, art activities that exercise creativity have been shown to be good for the health and happiness of those who consider themselves to be non-creative types as well.
Helping: It turns out that we as humans really love to be helpful to others, to one degree or another. Finding ways to exercise your altruism
can keep you happy and less stressed.
Love: This is a bit of a no-brainer, but having love in your life is great for keeping yourself feeling joy.
Friends: Maintaining a supportive circle, even if that circle is small, can help you to feel happier in virtually every area of life and can provide an excellent buffer against stress.
Children: Kids bring meaning into our lives, as well as many smiles and belly laughs.
Relatives: Unless you come from a heavily drama-prone family, staying close to relatives can keep your life fun, supportive, and meaningful. Finding low-stress ways to communicate with your family is important for keeping things drama-free, however.
Home: Maintaining a home that acts as a haven from stress is important at the end of the day.
Neighborhood: Living in a neighborhood that's close and supportive, or at least one that doesn't involve feuds or danger, can contribute to happiness and decrease stress by offering support and connection.
Community: Being part of a community, whether it's a physical community like the area where you live or a community of friends based on shared spiritual views, life goals, or things in common.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 12:47 am
by classical_Liberal
Just chiming in to say how great your thoughts are. Outside of the kid stuff, I really could have wrote much of that myself.

Everything from the ceasing to exist (not suicidal), to the run in with religious purpose and my relationship to religion now, the general nihilism, and always needing to be "on". It all rings true to varying degrees at different times in my life.

I know it's cliche these days, but I do enjoy some good old fashion Stoicism to bring my mood up at times. I also find philosophical Absurdity to be very helpful with most of these issues. I mean, why not just try to enjoy our time of consciousness while we have it. The trick is figuring out how to best do that, there are so many conflicting issues in our lives. Just make sure you're still taking enough "off" time, I know I tend to get into trouble when I don't. Then again, I have no frick'en clue how people handle full-time careers, significant others, kids, friends & extended family, etc, and still manage to get any "off" time. It seems for me, at best, I can do well with only one or two of these and still get enough time to myself. Three years ago I was pretty content with career and friends/family. Then I added a significant other to the mix and I got really thrown off, and I still kind'a am. Something had to give for me.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Sun Sep 22, 2019 12:18 pm
by soundboy22
so much consternation over consumerism, like handbags and other wants and not necessarily needs. I get it. This is a country that consumers more per capita than any other in the world and we're bombarded by ads every 5 seconds pressuring us to look, act, and buy the best. What a country.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Tue Oct 01, 2019 4:16 pm
by Nuuka
Great journal.

After digesting your journal I still wonder why you are avoiding management position since you clearly have capacity?

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 1:17 pm
by suomalainen
Easy, no interest.

Edit: I can’t abide idiots. A key management skill appears to be abiding idiots. I can’t do it and have no desire to learn it.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:02 pm
by Nuuka
Please elaborate ”idiot”
Please elaborate ”abide”
Rest I understand.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 3:55 pm
by suomalainen
Hmmm. I work well with smart people who know what they are doing. With them, I enable their goals and maybe even occasionally give them good advice (I’m a lawyer). I don’t work as well with people who don’t know their business, unless they just defer to my advice, which is fine. What I can’t abide, or stand or deal with or respect, is when a dumb person who doesn’t know their business (i.e., an “idiot”) blusters and creates chaos to cover up the fact that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Life, and business, is full of such people. No thank you.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Wed Oct 02, 2019 4:23 pm
by Nuuka
OK, I understand now better. I have also noticed that there are people who create order around them - and people who create disorder or even chaos around them.

Most of disorder people are not very smart, and they are easy to detect and deal with if you just have time to teach them.

But there are some disorder sowing people that create selective chaos intentionally but they are not stupid. I think you may have encountered people with various degree of narcistic or sociopath or even psychopath behaviour charasteristics. These are really difficult to notice and deal with. They can please you in the beginning and show their true face later. Basically their strategy is to create chaos, put the blame on others, then when others beg for help, they stop causing the chaos and continue knowing that they are now in control. Same will happen again if they need boost to their weak self image. Basically this is child needing care from mother and getting always the attention by crying (chaos sowing) and never learned where is the border between self and mother. These peple are ruthless since they have no internal sense of empathy. This is why they can do well in business world (until they are isolated by everyone running out or building shields around).

Do Something

Posted: Mon Oct 07, 2019 8:28 pm
by suomalainen
A phrase I keep stumbling on in my latest ruminations (I know, I know) is “do something”. I had written up some thoughts on this phrase in a political context (where I’d seen a news report of a crowd chanting this at a rally or speech or meeting with a politician), but it ended up feeling too distracting, so that’s deleted. Let’s leave it at this: in political life, as in mine, it seems as if when there is a general, vague sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo, when a specific cause for a problem cannot be reasonably diagnosed and therefore a specific course of treatment cannot be reasonably prescribed, people get anxious or even fed up until the feeling boils over and the basest elements demand that we “do something.”

“Do something!” This is what people say when they have no clue what is going on and therefore have no basis to make an informed judgment on what needs to change - as if any “something” is better than the status quo.

And yet, applied to myself, the siren song of thoughtlessly flailing about for a different something started as a whisper until it grew to an insistent, powerful, beckoning call. I have been incredibly tempted over the last few years to “do something” to mix up the grinding sameness of my vaguely disappointing life. A new car, a new house, a new job, a new state, a new spouse, a new (ere/van-)life - I’ve fantasized about it all. Life-defining choices in high school, college, graduate school, marriage, parenting - I’ve regretted them all.

What does one reasonably and maturely do when one fears that one is losing oneself to, is being institutionalized by, one’s twin jobs of earning money and raising a family? It reminds me of this quote from David Foster Wallace:
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
This vague unsettling feeling I keep having is this constant gnawing sense of fear of having had, and lost, some infinite thing. But when I bring my terrible gaze to bear on this question of what exactly have I lost, the truth of it skirts the edge of the light and hides just outside the reach of my consciousness.

Over the last few weeks (months? years?), I seem to have grasped at identifying some part of this lost “infinite thing” through a series of experiences and conversations with various people. A few threads:

1. thinking about @p_k’s suggestion of finding that thing “that demands your focus and your energy and your love while somehow giving you even more”. You know the only thing that came to mind over these weeks as that thing? Intimacy with other people. I have somehow become a sort of open person, not in groups and not in bullshit schmoozing, but in one-on-ones. When people tell me nothing but negative secrets, I certainly get weighed down - I don’t want to be your emotional toilet. But when they listen to my negative secrets too and we can share our positive, that makes me feel alive.

2. I’ve always struggled with a certain feeling of a lack of intimacy in my marriage. It’s not that we couldn’t or didn’t talk to each other about negative or positive secrets, and it wasn’t that we didn’t share physical intimacy on a normal-ish, regular-ish basis. It was just this vague feeling of something missing, something important. I don't want to get into the specifics too much because it's just too vulnerable to share, even pseudonymously and even for me, but let's just say that there are certain ways that we just don't (can't?) connect. Two ships passing in the night. This was brought into stark contrast by a couple of experiences, one of which was this:
suomalainen wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 8:40 am
Very impressed with how quickly you [@cL] and the gf saw the issue, identified the issue, owned your respective emotions, took responsibility for your own contributions and were able to address the issue, in what appears to be a very efficient and mature-like manner. So not at all what happens in my neck of the woods. You should apparently run some couples-therapy workshops in your newly-found spare time.
The situation @cL described in his journal to which my response is above just does not happen in my relationship and it makes me feel incredibly adrift when even basic understanding of the other's position requires HOURS of conversation, argument and, ultimately, despair.

3. When the kids were younger, there was real intimacy with the kids given their total reliance on you and their desire for your attention and your snuggles. As the kids get older, that type of intimacy completely vanishes, replaced by something more congruent with their own development and individuation. It's a form of intimacy, but I have begun to feel more like a mentor or even observer than a real actor in my kids' lives. And, frankly, I think this is as it should be, notwithstanding the longing in my heart for my cuddly little boys who gleefully greeted me at the door whenever I came home from work.

TL;DR - This vague sense of having lost some infinite thing is at least partly this sense of lacking the intimacy, the deep, real, no bullshit connection to other humans, that I seem to be designed for.

Perhaps the reason for the thing being so hard to detect is that it occurs precisely at the spot of utmost vulnerability. It requires you to accept that the very thing that one has feared for years - that your marriage isn’t what you had hoped it would be, is the irrefutable reality. The mind recoils. And so, a whisper at first, becoming more insistent...”DO SOMETHING.”

Well, I did something. But I did it eyes wide open, not to a vague unsettling feeling, but to a specific identifiable cause. I started a conversational ball rolling that will end in one of two obvious ways. But more importantly, this conversational ball will force this vague, unsettling feeling into the harsh spotlight where it will finally be seen for what it is. Frankly, I'm exhausted just thinking about the series of conversations that will ensue, but...the alternative of living with this vague unsettling feeling (whether I had self-identified it or not) had become unbearable, so I am forced to walk this path, ready or not.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 12:29 am
by Nuuka
To be honest: You may have opened a Pandora box you cannot shut anymore.

I have seen this happen with my wife’s best friend’s marriage. She was hospitalised for depression after the complete loss of her belief system, thanks to her husband’s ”desire for freedom” and she was permanently mentally damaged.

Come on man. Think ahead what you are causing to other people. Stop searching blame from others. The void is in yourself. Take the management job and get your thrill there, not in destroying your family.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:23 am
by Vaikeasti
Your post made me sad and worried for you Suomalainen.

I just had a conversation with a friend of mine that is in a better state with depression and with a partner that's in a worse stage of depression. The worse of was ruminating about why they are my friends because she feels that I don't bring value to their life and my beliefs and situation differs radically from theirs. But this better off friend of mine put a stop to that by asking;" Why not? Why should we not be friends? Just because you're feeling miserable and seeing things black-and white doesn't make it all bad." (I'm not sure if this conveys the idea.)

I feel that is the depression talking. Depression tries to make you throw away everything and drive you to complete inaction. Depression says that you're tired and need to rest when you're really missing on positive emotions. Depression tries to ensure you that only current negative emotions are real and permanent.
I think it is very good that you've identified some things that bring meaning and happiness to your life. I hope you find a person to be fully honest with and share that deeper connection with. But that doesn't mean you have to throw away everything you currently have and burn all bridges. Depression is a disease and can be treated. You are not your depression.

My kids are still in the cuddling stage, but I can tell you that I've reached a new level of closeness with my own parents now that I'm a parent too. We talk about many things and many times on a deeper level than ever before. (And now they get cuddles from my kids.) Of course when you're truly miserable the idea of waiting ten to fifteen years for that might no cheer you up.

Voimia. : /

TLDR; I think that's the depression talking and the basic advise to that is: don't do any drastic changes.

Re: Suomalaisen Päiväkirja

Posted: Tue Oct 08, 2019 8:13 am
by jennypenny
Signs of a Mid-Life Crisis (taken from a marriage counselor’s website)
  • Discontent or bored with life (including people and things) that provided fulfilment beforehand
  • Feeling restless and wanting to do something completely different
  • Anxiety about the future
  • Confusion about who you are or where your life is going
  • Irritability, unexpected anger
  • Persistent sadness
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, food, or other compulsions
  • Sexual affairs, especially with someone younger
  • Fretting about status and the point reached in your career
  • Questioning decisions made years earlier and the meaning of life (he says this is the most telling sign)

I'm not trying to make light of your issues. I'm only pointing out that they are pretty common at your age and most people grow out of them/come to terms with them, so my advice would be* to avoid burning down the house in the meantime.

*If you asked -- which you didn't -- and obviously I don't know any of the details anyway. It's just my gut reaction to what you posted as someone 10 years older.