A strategic withdrawal. More and more, I find that I am similar in my line of thinking as I did some 20 years ago, if not more.
It was at that time, as an adolescent in South Carolina, where I learned some hard lessons in life. Perhaps chief among those is life is not fair, and it wasn’t meant to be fair. It is what we make of it. At the time, I was relatively isolated from others. Myself, being a Northern-born kid in the hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I didn’t have the same shared background and experiences of those around me. It also didn’t help that despite sounding fairly similar to those around me with a slight Southern draw, some words simply betrayed my true Northern roots.
It left me isolated, and hardly a soul to confide in. I tried to keep to myself, mostly. I sometimes try to chalk it up to being a typical awkward adolescent. Other times, it was the product of the situation I was living in at the time. Most of the year was spent in the South, little to no friends around and just siblings. There were a few times where I’d be back in Michigan, visiting my other parent, but still isolated. I had no friends.
Now we fast forward to now, and this place. We’re back in my home state – the one I yearned to be a part of when I lived in the South decades ago, even. But it’s different. I find myself resisting the temptation to quarrel, bicker or even make the off-hand snide comment. I really don’t want to argue. I’d rather have good, healthy discussions, if at all. Discussions where both sides give and take and maybe a resolution comes of it.
Frustrations boil up quickly, quicker than what they did in Wisconsin. It’s harder to let things go, and it’s harder not to fly off of the handle when something doesn’t go my way. It’s harder to dismiss some of the bad out there. I thought I had achieved a certain level of being mellow when we were in Wisconsin, but I feel it’s changed.
My chosen profession doesn’t make it any easier. Because I’m in the public eye, I must carry myself with the proper decorum. That means reaching out and talking when I’m finding more and more like I should close things in to myself and close out the rest of the world. Why? Who needs another person’s complaints? What good is that?
And, it is harder to deal with others’ frustrations, their anger, their hang-ups. I’m reaching a point where I will take on everything I need to set my job right and shut out virtually everything else.
It’s something I have given much thought lately. Just how dangerous this line of thinking is, but also realizing that here, much like it was 20-some years ago, all I have is myself, my family and my religious beliefs. This time around, I have a family – my family where I’m the father – but, essentially, I’m seeing a whole other repeat of days decades ago. This time around, really, I may not have a single friend that I trust in life save for my family.
That’s why I sense I am as isolated as I have ever been.
It’s not all bad, really. It isn’t like I haven’t lived this way before.