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.