Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Pursuit of Happiness (2)

My last post, "Pursuit of Happiness (1)," is a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert's book "Eat, Pray, Love". It's really a quote within a quote since she herself is quoting her guru regarding happiness.

I think her guru is either wrong or misquoted in saying that "people universally tend to think of happiness as a stroke of luck" but is absolutely correct that "Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it."

America was founded upon, among other things, the notion that happiness must be pursued, and that furthermore every man and woman had a creator-given "inalienable right" to do so. Thomas Jefferson's famous lines from the Declaration of Independence still shine as both a beacon and a challenge:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

I found a fascinating website, pursuit-of-happiness.org, that includes a lot of material on the history of "happiness". I hope to be posting more from it.

Happiness is the meaning and purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.
-- Aristotle

Pursuit of Happiness (1)

People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it, you must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it. If you don't, you will leak away your innate contentment.

-- Elizabeth Gilbert, "Eat Pray Love" page 260, quoting her guru.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

A Day In The Life

So here I am again. A personal crisis. I'm spending a week alone with my wife in a beautiful, romantic location. But this is not really what I want or, truth be told, who I'd really like to be with.

This morning, riding in the car, was especially tense:
her: "Honey are you in love with me?"
me: "I love you, sweetie."

On the one hand, I hope she doesn't notice my dissemblage. "Love" vs. "In love." On the other hand I hope she does notice. I badly want to broach the subject of my decayed feelings for her, but I also don't want to hurt her.

her: "I love you so much. You're my everything. I just couldn't function without you."
me: silence

Well, shit. I don't want to destroy her life. We've been married 28 years, and I do love this woman. But she says things to me like "you're my prisoner." And damn if that isn't just how I feel. Not to mention stifled and smothered. And I'm fucking bored with her taste in books, music and philosophy. If that makes me a shallow asshole then so be it, that's what I am.

her: "I wanted to have sex every day while we're here. Twice a day! Let's have sex when we get back to the room."
me: silence.

Damn. I'm sorry, but the thought of having sex with my wife's 250 lb body does not fill me with passion. In fact most of the time I'm repelled. Again, if that makes me a shallow asshole, then that's what I am.

I don't know how to resolve this. So far I simply cannot bring myself to tell her, "You're still kind of cute, but your weight has made you unattractive to me." Or, "Actually, I'd rather masturbate than have sex with you." Or, "I like you but after 28 years I'm pretty tired of spending time together."

So far I've been kind of hoping she'll get the message. Well, she has gotten the message. And her response has been to step up the frequency of telling me how much she is in love with me, how she's never loved anyone else, how much she needs me, how much she depends on me, how much she wants sex with me.

And those are great things. Who doesn't want to be loved and needed? How many men live their whole lives yearning for that kind of love? And who wants to be known as the shallow asshole who breaks the heart of his loving wife of 28 years?


I read the news today, oh boy.
About a lucky man who made the grade.
And though the news was rather sad,
Well I just had to laugh
I saw the photograph.

Ha-ha. Very funny.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Suddenness of Change

Four Weeks Ago
You let me tie you to the bed and fuck you silly, then, after an elegant dinner, finger you in the front seat of my car parked by the cliff. You sent me flowers with a sweet note.

Three Weeks Ago
We made love for an hour, then went to the spa and made love some more before enjoying a fine dinner together.

Two Weeks Ago
After a beautiful dinner you told me about your new boundaries and returned my token. In the days afterward you sent me kindness and compassion. You broke up with style and grace and there was hope for our friendship.

One Week Ago
We spoke on the phone, you told me you would "nurture the friendship and not the romance". The loss is very hard for me but there was hope for our friendship.

Then ...
I started to write.
You stopped replying to my emails, and finally sent me the shortest possible response.
You deleted every single one of your posts from our blog.
You deleted the account you used to post to our blog.
I've offended you in something I wrote, but I don't know what.

Now
You had spoken often of the inevitability of breaking up. And I knew that it was hard on you that I am married -- you do not relish the role of "The Other Woman". So it did not completely surprise me when that moment came. But the hardest is for you to disappear at the end, without a word.

I can't escape the feeling that I must be cruelly insensitive in some way, to have triggered this in you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Crazy

This is one of those moments
When the only sensible thing
That I can think of is you.

Because I'm very happy
Whenever we are together
And otherwise I'm just blue.

Of course one eas'ly forgets
The trials of everyday living
When you're with the one you love.

But then, that's the point.
I'm crazy for you.

(originally posted in Apollo and Laphrodite)