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Turning Leaves

A lot of things in my life are just not working for me right now so I'm doing what I can, where I can to change what is not working.

1. Our Corporation about 6 years ago adopted a casual business dress policy for men. Khaki pants and golf shirts instead of the button down shirt and tie look we had when I was first hired 10 years ago. The casualty was Casual Fridays. The division of the company I work for has never been a stickler for the dress code within reason. I was getting away with pretty casual shirts and Dockers and white running shoes and jeans on Fridays. Plus I have long hair down to my lower back and wear it in a pretty sloppy pony tail. But the effect on my overall psyche has been that I've come to feel sloppy about the way I'm dressing and that has reflected in my preparedness and organization in my job as well. Also, when I first hired to this division, I was coming to work at 9 am. I have a boss who understands that Chicago traffic can often make you late and she didn't say anything to me as my arrival time gradually slipped to 9:15 then 9:30 and lately sometime between 9:30 and 10 am. I've actually missed a few morning meetings because I just wasn't getting up on time and getting on the road. So I'm at my desk by 10 and then it's suddenly lunch time and the day slips away from there. I'd always work late to make up for it but that shortens the time I can spend at home with Deb or getting personal projects done.

Solution: I've set a goal to get in to work between 8:30 and 9 but absolutely by 9 and leave by 5. We rarely have meetings before 9 and if we do, I'll work it out. I'm back to wearing a button down shirt and ties, Dockers and my wing-tip shoes nearly every day. I braid my hair to make it look much neater. This is much to the pleasant surprise of my bosses and the consternation of fellow male employees who doubtless are getting compared to me. One actually jokingly asked me if I was trying to make them look bad. No, son only you can do that. I've got a closet full of ties that I never get to wear and dang it, some of these are really cool ties. I have however taken a ration of shit from certain friends in Texas over the recent wearing of the "fish tie". But they don't have to be living in my head.

The dress and the schedule and resulting effect on personal organization have made a significant difference in my attitude about my job and getting work done in general. And this has been noticed as well.

2. Weight. I weigh 270 pounds. I'm 6'3" and 43 years old. My Mom has heart issues and my Dad has type II diabetes. You don't have to be a genius to figure out what's in my future if I don't get in better shape. My back hurts constantly. I see a massage therapist every two weeks for this at a cost of $130 per month. I've developed heel spurs. My joints ache and I wake up feeling tired even after 8 hours of sleep. If feel like a 75 year old. I work a desk job in a cube and behind a computer monitor all day and get very little exercise except what I do at the farm on the weekends. When I started with this company 10 years ago, I weighed 200 pounds and felt really good all the time. I want to get back to that.

Solution. At the recommendation of others, I'm starting the Abs Diet. I'll post before and after pix as I go along. I've read the book and agree with the tenets of the eating and exercise plan and I think it's something I can start and stick to for good. I'm going to start it after I get back from my vacation next week because I didn't think trying to start it on vacation would be feasible.

3. Relationship. Deb and I have, as of July 4, been together 13 years. Living together 12 of those years. We love each other. But some days I think we just exist in the same place and nothing more. We don't see each other that much due in part to my work schedule and in part to her health issues which have screwed up her metabolism to the point that she can't sleep unless she goes to bed at 9 pm at the latest and is out of bed by 5 am. She's depressed for several reasons. Her health for one (menopause which started at age 33 for her and a recent cancer scare). Lack of long-term employment in the field she is best in. Lack of friends or other associates since we moved to Joliet. She feels trapped because she's not making much money freelancing so the things she really wants to do are out of her reach unless I help her out. She really doesn't want to be a housewife. I put a lot of energy into helping her not be depressed and that also takes away from the time we should just be working on our relationship. Our sex life is non-existent. I think I could claim to be a virgin again at this point. It's almost been a year since the last time we made love. We cuddle and we kiss but the passion has been gone for awhile. While I realize sex isn't everything in a long term relationship, the lack of it at all certainly points to a breakdown of other vital things in a relationship, not to mention my overall feelings toward the relationship and her. We also tend to go through days of being annoyed with each other and getting mad at the slightest deviation from what either of us thinks should be the right way to do things. We don't fight all the time and we make up easily but the overall mood is one of mediocrity rather than contentment.

Solution: I think that by helping to raise her self esteem, Deb will move past her depression. I've tried to suggest ways of meeting new friends and maintaining relationships with old ones. I've also agreed to pay for 2 community college classes in any subject she is interested in. Since I work in the industry she wants to once again be a part of, I've made an effort to open some doors for her and get her some more work with the goal of at some point returning full time to work in the publishing field. Today, I talked to one of our senior editors about her and passed on her resume. The editor was very pleased and asked Deb to contact her individually. Sometimes you have to call in a favor.

I'm thinking that a move towards greater independence will help her self-esteem to the point that we can start having the discussion about what else is wrong in our relationship. Right now, things are just broken and I don't see the point in trying to address a symptom before trying to address the root problem.

This probably sounds a bit selfish in that I'm laying all the blame on her. I realize that's not all of it. I certainly bear some responsibility. I'm not the easiest person in the world to live with. But I also know that fixing the other things I perceive to be wrong with myself will contribute positively to the overall mood of our relationship. Once both our attitudes start to turn around, then it will be time to open a discussion about more intimate issues.

I'm also not discarding the possibility that we've just grown apart from each other in which case it might be time to end the relationship. But I think we owe it to each other to try and salvage the relationship if we can.




( 54 comments — Leave a comment )
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Jun. 4th, 2008 08:16 pm (UTC)
i know exactly how you feel. sometimes it's hard to decipher if a relationship is past its time and you're just stagnanting with one another. this leads to a lot of messy feelings and forcing yourself to be vulnerable. it seems to me the less happy i am with myself the less happy i am in my relationship. this is clearly a duh moment. however, what i've also figured out, not that i can always do it, is that making your partner aware you're unhappy without doing it in a way that involves the safe-bet of blaming them, (something i had a bad habit of doing)the communication goes a lot easier. well not easier but it keeps both from feeling on the defense. there is no way to be truly happy in love without first being aware of yourself and admitting we're all constantly on a journey of discovery. that's the best part of life. it is so impt to be honest about these discoveries, though, in our relationships...be they romantic or friends. andy and i have a hard time admitting our discoveries for fear we might hurt one another. hurt, however, is not knowing who your partner is and is becoming. it's perfectly ok to say i just don't know who i am or what i want...just keep the other person in the loop.

(hopefully i am not projecting too much of my own relationship on yours. i don't intend to.)

sorry i wrote a gigantic response to your post but i always appreciate
honesty and self-revelation in people.

Jun. 4th, 2008 08:33 pm (UTC)
Write however much you want. I wouldn't put the post out there for comment if I didn't expect it back. I appreciate your thoughts on this.

Jun. 4th, 2008 10:32 pm (UTC)
Kudos to you for trying to help Deb and your relationship! I can relate to that more then I've written. I haven't told the complete story of just how and why my marriage is back and up and running. But I know how much it meant to me to have Jim step up, and I hope things will work out for you two.
Jun. 4th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
Thanks my friend.

Jun. 4th, 2008 11:45 pm (UTC)
Sounds like you're working out some pretty difficult life issues. I wish you the best of luck on your journey, and i do believe that many things that seem huge when you first confront them become much more manageable if you work, consciously, each day. And you're stubborn as hell :)
Jun. 4th, 2008 11:48 pm (UTC)
I've got the stubborn as hell part down. It's the each day part that takes the most concentration. Thanks!

Jun. 4th, 2008 11:54 pm (UTC)
It takes two to make a relationship work so I hope she is as open as you are to revive it.

I'm glad to hear you plan to make changes for the better before it is too late... especially with your health as that is something that you have to live with. ;) I have heard that it really helps to plan what you eat every day as opposed to being spontaneous about it all.

I sincerely hope things get better for you (and Deb).
Jun. 5th, 2008 02:09 am (UTC)
Thank you my friend. Things will progress and that will be for the better no matter what happens in the relationship.

Jun. 5th, 2008 12:20 am (UTC)
I'm the last person to have any advice on a relationship. I will add a hearty "How you doin'?" for the picture. Nice tie.
Jun. 5th, 2008 02:10 am (UTC)
Actually people with failed relationships are often better at advice because they can tell you what went wrong. I'm getting better, thanks and thanks for your continued friendship.

Jun. 5th, 2008 12:30 am (UTC)
I have never seen a photo of you with your hair down. I've seen a photo of your ass, but what is it with you men and pulling your hair back? ;)

I think you have some good goals, here. I know you and Deb have had some tough times, I hope you can work out a solution that is helpful to both of you.

As for the weight...I quit dieting and started trying to move more. Apparently it's been working as my pants no longer fit.

Good luck my friend, and keep us updated. *hugs*

Jun. 5th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
This is probably the closest photo you've seen of me with my hair down.

It's just easier to maintain in a pony tail but next time I see you, I'll wear it down.

The Abs Diet is a 6 meals a day eating and exercise plan that I think I can stick with even past the point of my weight goal so I'm at least going to give it a try.

Thanks for your support!

(no subject) - kimboburly - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:23 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beautyofgrey - Jun. 5th, 2008 03:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 5th, 2008 05:58 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - green_noise - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beautyofgrey - Jun. 5th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - green_noise - Jun. 5th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 5th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 5th, 2008 12:39 am (UTC)
I don't know you well enough to comment but can nod to many things that have passed in common to you in my life.

Depression is one damn hard thing for a spouse, ask my wife about me.

No libido here for over 10 years. The Doc has approved tetosterone I just don't know if 't' shots are the thing.

Ditto on the tie btw,

Rebel without a Cod
Jun. 5th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)
I actually sometimes wish I didn't have the libido I do have. It would make things easier. That is her issue though but we'll see what we can do about that together. I've had sexual issues before that I believed for years were just the hand I was dealt. Then a different perspective showed me much of it was in my head. So I'm hoping that getting her life back on track will at least help her understand that something is missing. Thanks for the comment.

Jun. 5th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
Don't really know what to say....
I'm sending positive energy your way, and lots of it. Everythings going to be alright.
*gives you a great big bear hug*

Jun. 5th, 2008 02:14 am (UTC)
Re: Don't really know what to say....
I'll always take the hugs and the energy.

Thanks my friend.

Jun. 5th, 2008 01:36 am (UTC)
*hugs and love*

All the good juju I can muster...I send your way. :)
Jun. 5th, 2008 02:15 am (UTC)
Thank you love. I haven't forgotten your journey. Just needed to get some cobwebs cleared out first.

(no subject) - kimboburly - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:17 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:26 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kimboburly - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:30 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:35 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - kimboburly - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:44 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 5th, 2008 06:01 am (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 5th, 2008 02:08 am (UTC)
what a insightful and revealing post. makes me love lj all the more. and people like you. thank you for giving us a glimpse of what makes you tick.
Jun. 5th, 2008 02:16 am (UTC)
Lj has been a good confessional for me at times, feels different than any other blog. I'm blessed with a bunch of good LJ friends who often turn into goo life friends. Thanks!

Jun. 5th, 2008 04:40 am (UTC)
Man that's one snazzy tie.


Jun. 5th, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
You should see the Pink elephant tie.

Jun. 5th, 2008 05:11 am (UTC)
Hi Mark,

I know it's been a while since you've heard from me, but I read your post and my heart goes out to you. My problems are obviously different from yours, but I empathize because I am at the point where I need to make changes now also, for my health and for my soul.

If the Abs diet doesn't work out for you...or you feel like it's too restricting, may I suggest Weight Watchers? If you don't have one near you, they have this online thing called E-Tools. I love it. I'm on the Points System, and actually--I feel way more satisfied on it than I do when I eat as I normally do. The greatest thing about WW (aside from weight loss) that I have experienced is MUCH more energy. Just a suggestion. It's the only "diet" I've tried that doesn't make me feel deprived, tired, and weird. And it's something I can see myself sticking to, as long as I discipline myself.

I wish you luck and good vibes for you and your lady.
Jun. 5th, 2008 06:04 am (UTC)
Thank you dear and I read you all the time even if I don't comment. I've read Weight Watchers philosophy and agree with it as well. I've had good friends who've had success with it. I think I'll be OK with Abs because the theory of six meals a day was working for me a couple years ago. Just some life stuff got in the way. But thanks for the suggestion! and the luck!

(no subject) - sweetsongstress - Jun. 5th, 2008 07:08 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 5th, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 9th, 2008 05:25 pm (UTC)
Welcome to the "Wednesday" of your life. No longer climbing the mountain..not ready to fall down the other side...just sorta sitting there thinking about things. One of those times when great revelations hit us...like..."This SUCKS!" or "What the heck did I bother to grow up for in the first place"...or "I GOTTA get outta this place". I have come to the realization that my job sucks...but they pay me a STUuupppiddd amount of money for what I do..so I don't have any room to complain right. Then there is that little niggling voice that keeps whispering...self-fulfillment...money is not what it's all about....this isn't where you planned to be...what happened to your dreams...that NEVER-EVER-EVER shuts up.

This isn't where I planned on being. I sorta fell into this job, along with the preceeding jobs. There was no grand life plan or long term goal other than not starving to death and I just ended up here. I am really, really tired of just being here. But, I have a family to help support so here I sit, tied down by responsibility and everyones expectations.

I don't dream much anymore.
Jun. 10th, 2008 02:54 am (UTC)
Lets start a commune at Cape Hatteras!
(no subject) - tomyris_beat - Jun. 10th, 2008 06:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 18th, 2008 05:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tomyris_beat - Jun. 20th, 2008 01:50 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - wander - Jun. 20th, 2008 03:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tomyris_beat - Jun. 20th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
Jun. 12th, 2008 12:29 pm (UTC)
Just so you know...
You wanted to know when I start posting again. I think I've started..

Jun. 12th, 2008 09:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Just so you know...
Good to know. Thanks!

Jun. 12th, 2008 09:59 pm (UTC)
I don't know squat about weight loss and relationships, but the dress code thing? That's a sign that the economy is going South. I saw it before in the late 80's and we just got stuck with it too at Lockheed. First time in 12 years as a software engineer that I've had to put on a tie for work (software engineer std dress code: blue jeans and hiking boots).

- EtV
Jun. 12th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
I was reading a small bit of my work email while on vacation today and noticed we are going to a 4 day work week this summer. I petitioned for this last month. So maybe the trend is heading to working from home more. If that is so then the whole dress code issue will be moot.

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( 54 comments — Leave a comment )