Monday, April 27, 2015

Questions to Myself.

Life has become much like the Bill Murray film “Groundhog Day”.  Things bleed into one another from one to the next.  It becomes a routine, déjà vu almost.  One task to the next has become like the ticking of a clock.  Wake the boys, make breakfast, greet Laura when she arrives home, talk with Laura for a few minutes before she goes to bed and then it’s a cavalcade of task.  I look at the daily “job boards”, pick-up the house, do laundry, make lunch for the boys, make dinner and lunch for Laura if she must work that day and if the weather is nice enough take the boys outside to play.  The afternoon and night is the same, routine, déjà vu. 

The monotony of it all has given me a chance to contemplate many things once the boys go to sleep.  I think about; politics, social problems in America, sports, movies and most recently wondering just why I have so many “friends” on Facebook or "connections" on LinkedIn.  I have thought about that for the last couple of weeks and have come to the conclusion that I don’t have a clue.  I enjoy reading some of the updates, seeking the photos and I get a laugh from the videos that some post.  I guess being honest I also enjoy seeing the new things in former co-workers lives on LinkedIn but it’s when I close the laptop for the day that I realize just how much I truthfully question if I care anymore and  wonder just why do I have so many “friends” and “connections”. 

Social media can be a good thing but it can also be an amazing falsehood that serves only to make one feel better or more important than they actually are.  I think about my Mother and Father when I was growing up and somehow feel like they were more “grounded” then much of my generation, maybe even including me, as they seemed to grasp just what was and wasn't important.  We share our meals, our child’s daily lives, what conferences or training's we have completed, what new motivational speaker or sayings we like but do we or rather I, actually have ourselves rooted in what is truly important?  I have no clue.  Some days I think I do but other days, yeah, not so much.   

I know that I am guilty of posting the same things as others on Facebook (kid’s photos, stupid videos and so on) and oftentimes after doing it I wonder to myself “why”.  I have learned to justify it by saying that I tagged the kids Grandparents or Aunts in the post so that they can be informed with what is happening with the kids but really, I could do the same thing with an email even if it would take a couple of extra steps.  LinkedIn has become a little like a CD player for me, it’s around I just don’t use it.  As I started to sit down and write this I checked my last “update” and smiled when I realized that it was more than a month ago.   There was a time when I would check it every single day and make sure that I “congratulated” folks with a work anniversary, new job or title and of course birthday but now, not so much.  I sent out an email through LinkedIn to a little more than one-hundred of my “connections” back in January 2013 and again in November 2014 as I continued to search for employment and to be honest I received a grand total of seven replies and all but one was the “I wish I could help” condolence.  I think about that and I wonder, “what’s the point?” 

It’s hard to be honest.  Actually it’s (without being offensive) fucking soul crushing.  The day to day monotony that never changes in appearance and rarely changes in activity or function.  I have now been unemployed for the majority of time since October 2012.  Thirty months.  21,914.5 hours.  Damn. 

I think about it and I no longer have a clue as to what I should do, honestly, I don’t.  I think about my past and know that there was a time that I was employed not only full time but a time when I held two full time jobs at once.  I worked hard.  After spending four years on active duty in the Military I was able to graduate from college in exactly four years and one month from the date of my discharge.  Hell, by the time I was thirty-five I had been hired to be the Executive Director of a Non-Profit.   Now today at the age of 47 I can’t get a call back for even the most menial of jobs.  Damn. 

All of the “changes” have in many ways worn me down.  My credit score was once over 800 and I owned two homes.  Today, whew, I don’t even want to know.  Back in 2004 I cashed out a retirement plan to purchase a home and then with everything ended up losing that home.  I figured I was young and to be honest at the time felt like I had just taken what would be the last job I ever held because in truth, I loved it that much.   Then after a few surprises get dropped it forces change.  I found I no longer had a “social work” license in Michigan.  Not because I did anything wrong but because the fee to renew the license was never sent in and as my degree is in “Corrections and Juvenile Services” I am not actually “grandfathered in” for the new licensing requirements in Michigan so after 15 years working in that field you get closed out.  Then you find the surprise of a court order that demands back taxes from the City of Toledo.  The downside is that since you never knew you were supposed to go to court you have a default judgment against you.  Thankfully I was able to cash out another retirement plan and settle with them but in the end that’s just a short term gain long term loss to be honest.  It’s all frustrating. 

The good things are all thanks to Laura.  She is and has been amazing.  The truth is that I know I don’t deserve her and oftentimes feel like I am a drain on her.  She likes to tell me that I am getting the chance to be with the boys and to take care of them and I know that’s true but it's not what I want to be doing as a man.  I don’t have anything against a guy that wants to stay at home and raise his kids if that’s his choice.  For me it’s not a choice but something that has been forced upon me.  It makes me feel daily that I don’t contribute to the home and that I don’t do anything to truly be a father. 

Father, that’s another thing that annoys me.  Honestly, I am so tired of hearing from family and some friends on Facebook about how I am a “good Dad”.  I don’t feel like it and honestly hearing it doesn't change my thoughts and feelings.  I try to be respectful to people and I listen to them but in the end what my “mind” is telling me is that I am not really a good Dad.  While I am with Ethan and Ian daily and I see Jacob, Hannah and Knoah every other weekend, I contribute minimally to them through child support because of my job situation and when I am with them I feel guilty that I can do little for them or with them.  It’s debilitating to be honest.

Some days I will look at what people share and want to scream.  Look, I know that work can suck and that co-workers can be a pain in the ass but guess what - if that's really the worse problem you have things are going pretty damn good, ya know.

The thing is that I am not looking for sympathy or understanding or even for folks to relate to what I am going through.  We have all been in this position at one point or another I know that.  It's just that the question I have to ponder is if I really need to have just one more reminder of the unending repetition that is Monday - Sunday.  It's basically rinse, wash, repeat.  

So I wonder what the point of social media is for me.  I used to enjoy posting on a local bulletin board about politics, sports and so on but a little more than a year ago I left that board because one of the regular posters thought it was “cool” to accuse another poster of being a suspect in the killing of a child.  My reason for leaving the board was that if the moderators were not going to address behavior like that then did I really want to associate with a board that allowed such reckless accusations. (I should point out that the person being accused was not anonymous).  I am now thinking that with all things considered, social media is no longer for me.  I don’t see the point, to be honest.  Sure it has given me a chance to be happy for others and to enjoy seeing folks children as they get bigger but it’s also made me question the “value” of such connections for me.  Maybe right now it’s just me and I won’t discount that at all.  I know that I am in a rut, I get it, I accept it.  I don’t want to sound like I have embraced my “groundhog days” but I don’t see an alternative.  I was ran down recently on social media by Jacob, Hannah and Knoah’s Mother about the size of my contribution and as bad as I feel the reality is that my only defense is that I have applied for more than 2,180 jobs since Oct '12 and have went to interviews from as close to Dundee to as far away as Virginia in the hope of gaining a job!  Hell, in truth I have never been one to ask for help but as I said earlier I have sent out more than 200 emails requesting assistance and still here I am.  Groundhog Day.  It’s tiring.  It’s taxing.  It’s frustrating.  It’s angering.  It’s my life and I just don’t know if I want to share it on social media any longer.  Maybe someday things will be different but for now, I have a lot to think about and I certainly have the time to do so.  

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