Hit me like a ton of bricks

I’m several weeks into an experiment, or promise to myself, to blog here every day. It’s part of a continuous improvement plan, if you will, that I made to help keep me motivated or something that I’ve been telling myself. Daily habits that have been piling on top of each other. First the intermittent fasting and meditation for 10 minutes. Then no alcohol for thirty days, — going on forty, now — meditation for an hour. Code. And so on it goes.

I’m not sure what I’m doing to myself, or my family. I can’t say I’ve been content for a while. “Happiness is not something you experience, it’s something you remember.” I’ve said it here before. I’m not sure if I’m engaging in a bit of self-sabotage, or trying to protect myself from it. I once heard a man at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting — or read it someone — say that he was a dry drunk. That they were sober, but they were even worse of a person sober than they were when they were drinking. They were easier to be around when they were drinking. Since they were sober they were just a miserable sonofabitch to themselves and everyone around them. I wonder if that’s part of what’s happening to me now.

Maynard from Tool was on Joe Rogan a few weeks ago. Joe was talking about rock stars that have these weird demands for their interviews and Maynard said something like “they want to have control over everything in their life now cause they felt like they didn’t have any control over things when they were younger.” BAM. Hit me like a ton of bricks. I felt like I grew up in an authoritarian household, under my dad, and I rebelled against it with every fucking fiber in my being. Now, I’m the dad, and I’m exercising my authority in the worst way. My wife calls me a ‘bully’. I tell myself otherwise, but usually I’m yelling or barking orders at the kids, or making them do stuff they don’t want to do, eat stuff they don’t want to eat. I think I’m toughening them up, to make them less spoiled, but I feel like an asshole half the time lately. I snap at them when they interrupt me mornings when I’m trying to meditate, –ironic, huh? — in the evening when they’re watching TV when I think they should be outside, or whenever they say ‘no’ to something I’ve asked them to do. I worry about it all the time, but I don’t know how else to act.

But that’s a lie. Number one thing that seniors would tell their younger selves? Don’t be so hard on yourself. Just let shit go, don’t try to control everything. My wife likes to let the kids watch TV a lot more than I would like them to, garbage shows for hours on end. “My mom let me do that when I was younger, and I came out fine.” Like hell we did, I think. Like we haven’t figured out what all that advertising did to our young minds. Like they haven’t refined that model, crafted those shows to be even more potent and damaging than they were 30 years ago? At least with the streaming services we don’t have to watch the breaks. God help me we turn on Disney in a hotel room and be subjected to six minutes of marketing for the most useless, unnecessary garbage made for kids.

Douglas Rushkoff pointed out that marketing is designed to make people feel inadequate, that happy people don’t need to buy crap to make themselves feel better, to feel more desirable. I bought a bottle of wine today, along with rib-eye and crab cakes for some dinner guests tonight. I even told myself that 40 days was a good round number and that it was time to open that bottle of scotch I was gifted. I don’t mind having a drink; I just don’t want to make drinking a habit. I used to tell myself that I didn’t want to give up drinking, cause I like to drink. I just didn’t want to drink too much, or spend so much every week, stopping at the 7-11 every night on the way home. Well, I stay home a lot now. In fact, I don’t go anywhere. I’ve been to dinner or lunch several times now, and only water in my glass. I took the kids to a birthday party today and the adults were drinking. I turned down beer and margaritas. I was a miserable bastard that didn’t look or talk to anyone more than absolutely necessary. I was a hard-ass to my kids.

I spent a hundred dollars at the grocery store, and spent two hours making that rib eye sous vide with the crab cakes and vegetables. I asked if anyone wanted wine with dinner, looking for an excuse to open that bottle. I had fantasised that I wasn’t going to give myself a glass, or that I would pour myself one and not touch it to my lips. But no one wanted wine. After the table was cleared I put out that bottle of scotch, to talk about the gift and the circumstances which I acquired it. I thought about getting the glass, and the whiskey stones.

I didn’t. I put that bottle back on the shelf, thanked my guests for coming over. And as soon as the kids were upstairs for bath I went out and ate two ice cream bars out of the freezer. And a cup of Ben and Jerry’s after the were asleep.

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