May 12, 2019, Marshfield, Massachusetts
One year later...

It seems a little redundant to confirm that I cannot do it alone. Well, I have done it alone for a very long time and it's been grueling. What's the point in that type of life? They don't give out awards in heaven for whoever's had the hardest life. I certainly wouldn't win if they did. The reward is here and now. It's all around us. All we have to do is get out of our heads and into the moment to see it. If doing it alone is only going to extend suffering for as long as I can bear it then I'm not accomplishing anything. That's becoming more clear and more pointless, but I have to keep trying.

Why does a person care about something that no one else cares about? A person rescues a stray dog or feeds the homeless because they care about animals or other people. If a person drives by a stray or a homeless person and says "Oh, poor thing" and keeps driving, it may sound like this person cares, but they aren't actually doing anything or helping anyone. Caring is an action, not a thought. When I looked around and saw that people around me weren't caring about the things that I cared about, I took action because they weren't. It's one of the reasons why I became a free spirit in the first place whether I realized it in the beginning or not.

I've been back here almost two years, I fixed the flooding problem in the downstairs of my father's house -took a lot of digging, cleaned up all the trees falling over, I clean the bathroom once a week while he's out at a bar, I mow the lawn, take out the trash, etc., but he does not want a relationship with me nor even want to talk to me. Never has, never will. Maybe he doesn't know how, but I can't make him try. I've been very socially active and have met lots of new people, but haven't made any day to day friends, yet, and it's time to accept that it's not going to happen for me here, but I have learned some valuable lessons. One of them is that over time things can get better if I stick to something consistently. It may not happen overnight like I'd prefer, but it will happen. Now, I just need to apply this to something willing to receive my efforts.

The only people I have in my life are in it because I have sought them out. This is just a fact that I need to accept instead of trying to fix the situation I share with people who want nothing to do with me, something I should've accepted a long time ago. I can't fix a problem until I admit I have one. I've tried many times in the past, but without admitting or realizing it fully and as a result I never focused my efforts on the real issue. We all have our own lives and our own battles, but I need to find people who I will matter to everyday, people who will see the value in me and me in them. The best way that I can think to do this is by showing people how wholeheartedly I am willing to try. So yes, I do have a plan.

A major reason other people I've met or gotten to know over the years haven't seen my situation the same way I haven't seen there's is because many of us are taught to keep our personal lives private. We don't go around crying about them. Well, I do, but just here. The other reason is that most people are too busy caring for the things that matter most to them and rightly so. Who could blame them? I'm sure most people have seen a homeless person, but you don't have to look like a homeless person to be completely alone in this world. You could be an honest, hard-working person and still find yourself completely alone. There is something inherently wrong with this, in my opinion. This can be a very scary place to find oneself. I guess the solution is to find something that truly matters to you and put your whole heart into it. Sometimes this is easier said than done, because the first step for the person is to realizing and accepting that they are completely alone and this can be a very hard and scary thing to recognize, let alone accept. It can take years, decades, even a lifetime.

For me, hope is evident in how I spring into action when I know I will be seeing someone during the course of a day. If I find out that a friend is coming to visit or I am going to visit them, I am full of life and motivated to get lots of stuff done before this happens and it lasts for a while after we've seen each other then after a couple of days the life slowly drains out of me until I am dead to the world, again, not knowing when I'll see another person. People are busy with their own lives. I've lived like this my whole life without even realizing it was happening mostly because I believed that this was just part of what came with taking the road less traveled. Even a mere text from someone who I know I will see later is enough to get my ass in gear. For years, decades, I lived relying on personal motivation and happenstance without needing anyone on a regular basis, or so I thought. I had enough solo energy inside me to push through the loneliness because I had faith that eventually I'd reach my destination and not have to be alone anymore, but if a person experiences enough pain this faith can gradually lessen. I'm sure losing a couple people close to me had more of an impact on me then I realized at the time.

I'm not alone because I don't like people or because people don't like me. I love meeting new people. I'm alone for two reasons. My own stubborness and not coming from a close family. That's it. It's not too complicated. I wasn't willing to pass the problems of the world onto the next generation so I've remained alone. This isn't what I mean by stubborness. There's nothing wrong with compromise. It's a necessity of life. It's what we choose to compromise on that makes the bigger picture acceptable or not. Having people in our life to say "Hey man, it's ok. You don't have to try to fix the entire world. You can just do your part. That's good enough" is very crucial necessity. Otherwise, decisions can feel like all or nothing and if a person is arrogant (or good-hearted:) enough to think they can bear it alone, they will continue to try refusing to compromise their beliefs until it finally crushes them. For me, the trade off was too great. What life in these times was asking me to accept was unacceptable. How could I look my future wife and children in the eye knowing what I know and having done nothing about it leaving the day to come for them to be forced to accept the same unacceptable things? I couldn't allow a little piece of them to die inside like it would in me if I did. No way. Not in my life. We are all responsible for what we are aware of.

When I was younger, I was naive enough to think that all I had to do was tell people about the truth that I saw and they'd be like "Oh ya, I didn't realize that. Let's change everything!" What a dork. Having banged my head against a wall long enough, I learned that it's not that other people don't see what I see. Plenty do. Often times, it's that they've already committed to other things like family or a mortgage and can't afford to make any major changes in their life, or so they believe. The other part which took me a long time to realize was that maybe they weren't as lonely as I was. You don't want to save or change the world unless there's something wrong with yours. I couldn't see this. My peers either believed that they could still try to work on these issues while caring for their loved ones or they just accepted that things are the way they are and aren't ever going to change. I refused to do either, but maybe it wasn't as much of a choice as I thought. We, all, live in three worlds, our personal life, the life we share with those close to us, i.e. family and significant others, and the life we share with everyone else in the world. If we don't have this middle intermediate world that we share with others, it can feel like just us against the whole world and this is a lot for one person to carry.

So now I have to figure out how to pull myself out of this hole knowing that the only way I feel better is when I get to see other people, but the reason I'm in this hole is because I don't have any people in my life. It's a tough one. The white-knuckling-it approach sucks. I've exhausted that ability. Having a light at the end of the tunnel helps a little, but it's so far off. Right now, my truck is broken down and I've been working on it for the past four days. Going and getting another job is not the answer. I've done that over and over and I can't keep disappointing people knowing that I'm going to be leaving soon. I should probably go eat and work on my truck some more.

May 24, 2019, Marshfield, Massachusetts
I tend to be hard on myself so I've been wondering why I write here because I don't want to be doing it for the wrong reasons. I've had different attitudes towards it at different times. I hated writing as a kid. It was boring and laborious to me then. But finally in my early twenties, the flood gates were opened. Well actually, they came crashing down. I was an ex-hockey player and construction worker, who secretly discovered he had feelings. My writing was pretty bad back then, but, at least, I was trying. Over the years it became an outlet for me and I got fairly effective at it, eventually. I was never trying to write stylistically. It was always just about whittling things down to the simple basic truth if I could. Then a dark chapter in my life began about 10 years ago and writing became something I was ashamed of as a result of seeing it through the eyes of those who still mattered to me. Though I'm still making my way through that dark chapter, writing, now, is, at least, if nothing else, brutally honest. To me, there's really no point in doing it if I'm not.

Why do I write, now? The shame is still here, but I don't really have a choice. If I don't do it, the pain becomes stronger than the shame and that's not a good place to be. If you were lost in the desert for years, maybe you'd begin to build sand castles, too, just to give your mind something to do. Writing and thoughts are all I have to work with sometimes. Writing is my futile attempt to feel productive or to even get out of bed. A planet is just a rock drifting through space until it falls into orbit around a star. My life is orbit-less . I've been in a tailspin for years and I can't pull out of it. I've tried all the things I usually rely on like taking initiative, becoming more disciplined and, of course, working harder which has always been something I could fall back on. "When in doubt, work harder" has been my motto for my entire life. It has gotten me out of almost every tough situation I've ever been in except this one. For years, I worked harder and harder until finally I had to face the fact that things were not getting better no matter how hard I worked. A lot of situations, and a lot of people, could use a lot more hard work, but even it isn't the answer to everything. I found this out the hard way. Then, I was really lost.

Now what? Still, even writing, now, is a passive version of hard work. I guess I'm still trying to work myself out of this hole with the only tools I have. But, writing while waiting for something to happen then seizing the moment when it does feels too much like being lazy which I don't like. I may pull out of this. It's uncertain. If I were to take a harsh look at the situation and make a list of the actual facts, it would be a short list, but first on it would probably be that I am stuck here until my father passes away which is a horrible way to look at the situation. I'm supposed to be here trying to help him, but he doesn't want my help...or anything to do with me, but he's still my father and I can't just leave him to fend for himself at his age. Or, I could keep hanging in here until I succeed at living the life I am suppose to live which is doubtful that I can make this happen here under these circumstances in this area. This is the paradox.

The latest developments in this saga are: I fixed my truck and got yet another new job, two actually, but this time the situation is a little different. They are only part-time and seasonal so I don't have to quit them when it's time for to do something else. Working full-time hasn't been working for years and neither has completely working for myself. I've got too much ambition and too much experience to be working full-time for someone else, but working by myself all day alone is not healthy here either so maybe a part-time driving gig might work combined with enough free time to do other work for myself will be the right mix. The driving gig is for a company based out of Vermont that works with a number of farms up there and out in western Mass. I'll be meeting one of their trucks west of the city, loading up a van and making deliveries in the Boston area. I've already worked a couple days and liked it. I get along well with the owner and the other people working for her. They all seem to be farm people. I'd much rather be driving around the country side delivering hay and heavy bags of grain than driving around in the city delivering weightless boxes of produce, but it is part of the farm movement which I believe in and, at least, I'm getting a little exercise. I'm going to look for ways to make the boxes heavier. My other part-time gig is on an actual farm and I can call the owner whenever I want to work and he's always got plenty for me to do.

There's many other missing pieces to my puzzle, but it's good to have a little potential with one of them. Ya gotta start somewhere.

May 26, 2019, Fitchburg, Massachusetts
Grabbed my back-pack and took off for a couple days. Picked a town on the outskirts of the commuter rail system that I've never been to, took the train out to it, hopped off and started walking. I was mostly motivated by wanting to avoid the familiar feeling of a holiday arriving and having no place to go, in this case, Memorial Day. Might as well do something than sit around and do nothing. I needed the exercise anyways and definitely got some. Next time I'll try another town that I've never been to. My birthday's coming up.

May 28, 2019, Marshfield, Massachusetts
It's better to think of people as blossoms or buds on a tree branch. If we are not connected to the trunk, we will struggle, starve and eventually wither and die. My parents moved away from their families to start their own. My brother and I were born in Boston, but my parents drove us out of the city to raise us. My mother had 6 brothers and sisters. My father had 3. Along with all their aunts, uncles, cousins and, of course, their parents, my mother and father grew up much more connected to our family tree than my brother and I. It seems contradictory to think that he and I were more on our own out here in the suburbs than my parents were growing up in the city. It was prettier here than in the city and safer. Where cities have many more other children to play with, my brother and I had more nature to be in, but suburban living isn't the same as country living. There were other kids in our neighborhood, too, so we were able to make some friends. But, being far from our families, our roots, whatever friendships we did find seemed to come and go lacking that biological bond of family. My parents must have believed that they could make it on their own without their families, but what they didn't realize is that children need to feel like they are part of something bigger than just their immediate family especially one as small as ours. I don't know why my parents chose not to stay connected to their families other than seeing them once or twice a year during the holidays, but it created a much different environment for us to grow up in than they had. Again, I'm not sure why, but they didn't connect with anyone out here either. Growing up, all of us only know what we know and this is normal to us. We can be lacking in many things, but never realize it because how could we? We may feel certain feelings yet we're unable to understand them if we don't know we're not supposed to feel them. Human beings are survivors and adapt to whatever circumstances they find themselves in. This is what my brother and I did, in very different ways. This certainly isn't a complaint. We were lucky to have two hardworking responsible parents while growing up in such a nice area of the New England coast.

Looking back on it, now, there is no judgment; just a better understanding of what shaped my patterns of behavior and survival tactics. We were deceivingly alone. My parents did their best, but they weren't talkers. They had their reasons. I'm sure they never reflected on these matters like I have. My father lost his father when he was just 9 years old and I suspect there was some type of falling out between my mother and her family. I don't know a lot about my parents' childhoods. I never realized this during my own childhood for many reasons, but, now, that I have it helps me understand why I've felt so disconnected and alone most of my life. My parents and I were not very close, nor my brother and I even though I wished we all were. When I think of the other families in the neighborhood where I grew up which I've, now, returned to in order to look after my father since my mother has passed away I could probably trace invisible lines all stretching out in many directions connecting them to their families and friends they stay connected to. I'm sure a lot of these invisible lines would stretch back to Boston, a big city with lots of people living in it. Many people who live around here travel into the city to work everyday so there are countless invisible lines stretching out of it like a myriad of tiny branches. Whether they have family there or not, it holds many resources, financial and otherwise, for many people. Rather than connect myself to a city, I chose to connect myself more to nature because it was what I had the most of growing up. Though I did go to college because that's what's expected of a suburban kid, I've made a living working on farms and fishing boats maybe subconsciously because I could feel my connection to nature more than I could to any type of career. A connection was more important to me than anything else.

I'm sure there are many people who have felt this same disconnection in their own lives. We all have a way of deliberately or subconsciously coping with whatever's going on around us as we grow up. Many people opt to stay very close to their immediate families. Many others don't, but start families of their own. I very much looked forward to starting one, too, but not until I had more answers so that I wouldn't repeat the same mistakes as those who came before me while encountering even more problems in the world created during my generation. It's a lonely feeling when all those invisible lines stretch so thin that they break and a person finds him or herself drifting through life untethered. It can be very confusing to even realize that this has happened to them when it hasn't happened to everyone around them. These lines are invisible and we cannot see what is helping others to stay grounded nor can they see that we are not. Maybe I just need to get another dog. Definitely miss having one, but I'm not going to get one until I have land where he can run free. It's very crowded here, my father's next door neighbors don't like dogs and there's a leash law in Marshfield.

The last component of this situation for me, and maybe for many others, if they choose to believe it, is that we are all connected to another type of tree of life and it's this one that I have to do my best to stay connected to...even when....especially when I don't feel connected to anything else. Spring got off to a slow start, but it's getting under way, now, so work will be picking up soon which will definitely help me do this.


This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are the product of the author's imagination and are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.