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» Hatrack River Forum » Archives » Landmark Threads » How I Fashioned The Walls Of My Own Prison OR My Landmark Thread...

   
Author Topic: How I Fashioned The Walls Of My Own Prison OR My Landmark Thread...
Alucard...
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Life has meaning only if one barters it day by day for something other than itself.
-Antoine de Saint-Exupery

I was born at 9:15AM on a Tuesday. My mother's doctor told her I was a miracle because she should never have been able to get pregnant, let alone carry a child due to a series of medical conditions she had at the time. She was 99 pounds soaking wet when she did get pregnant, and women were not encouraged to gain much weight during pregnancy by the best minds in medicine at the time. (I'm surprised they didn't slap a leach or two on her while they were at it).

I was a very loved and pampered child. We were not rich, in fact, we were rather poor, but I was never hungry and had no wants as a child (except this watering can that I insisted my mother buy for me one day when I was 2, which she did not because of my temper tantrum). My mother was a teacher with dual degrees in Reading and English, as well as a specialty in teaching children with reading disablities, a program called Chapter 1. This was the early 1970s, and she was required to take time off due to her pregnancy, so she stayed at home with me until I was old enough for preschool. My father was a hairdresser/barber, and we lived on his income for the first 4 years of my life.

He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.
-Freidrich Nietzsche

The history of my parents is very dear to me because we have some rich family history. My parents grew up in a VERY small town of about 500 in a very rural area of Northwestern Pennsylvania. The locals call it "Little Europe" because time seems to stand still, with very nearly all of the inhabitants being Swiss and German Catholic immigrants. They hold on to their customs and old wives' tales and strangely, the area reminds me of a hybridization of the Lusitania Colony of Speaker and the Northeastern states that OSC vividly describes in Seventh Son .

I had a wonderful childhood! I was tall, strong, lean and full of life. I wanted to experience anything and everything life had to offer and drink deeply of whatever I was trying to learn and master! These were exciting times! I was always trying to please my parents and did whatever I could to succeed: basically an overachiever.

The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits
-Albert Einstein

My first realization of this was 7th grade, the grade that my mother taught. I was so paranoid about not excelling that I aced every class. When they had award ceremonies for graduation, my mother had to round-table with the other teachers on her team. She taught Reading, and there was Math, Social Studies, Science, and English. The teachers would name their student with the hightest grade and then decide for an all-around best student. I had the highest percentage in every class. My mother could not have been more proud. So yes, I got the all-around award. She later explained the significance of this because I was not really into accolades or awards, even though I had this burning desire to excel.

I was so sick and tired of trying so hard to please that I stopped studying the way I had been. In 8th grade, I even got a B, in Accelerated Algebra that I had to take with the 9th graders. But it was liberating to learn what I wanted to learn on my terms and not be concerned with the grade so much as the material I was trying to assimilate.

This liberated feeling stays with me to this day. I am not afraid to fail. But I don't. I can't. I do anything to prevent failure!

The Teflon Man

If I had only known, I would have been a locksmith.
-Albert Einstein

Not only was I successful in my endeavors, I was lucky as well. Whenever danger would approach, I would miraculously emerge from a situation unscathed. I bobbed and weaved in and out of nearly every social clique in high school, whether it was the jocks, the preps, the nerds, the band nerds, the techies, the stoners, the headbangers, or the shy geisha girls (well, maybe not the geisha girls). I was the biggest band nerd of them all, AND I had connections, further protecting our way of life and the sanctimonity of our little corner of the high school.

(We once rewired the alarm bell with our own interface that signaled the end of a period or the end of a day and would let classes out early, especially the last period of the day. The principal went nuts, the buses went nuts, and my fellow associate in crime nearly got expelled. Naturally, I was never implicated in the crime. Sigh)

So at this point in life, I felt like Ferris Beuler or Van Wilder to try to associate with a few movie characters. I was never consciously conceited or snobbish, either. In fact, I made it a point to be a modest and humble as possible. Still, I made enemies.

Now at this point, imagine my surprise as my long-term girlfriend decides to dump me. Naturally, I was devastated. I would have given up everything to have made this work. I was too smart and too mature for my own good! Looking back, this was the first major life event that I did not succeed at. I failed. I didn't try hard enough. Even though it nearly killed me trying to win her back, there was something more I could have done. I was a loser. Everything I had done up to this point was shit. It didn't matter anymore. If I could not make this one thing work, then how was I supposed to keep making the other thousand things I had to do keep working? I was the yearbook editor, band president, played in 4 bands, studied music outside of high school 2 nights a week, was trying to gain entrance into the Naval Academy, and was in other countless organizations as well.

I still do not understand it completely, but I gave up on everything. I detail this in another Landmark post in the archives that I wrote last fall. There was the culmination of many things in my life and I felt compelled to share it then.

ak said to me in Parachat one day that she was troubled by my Landmark. It sounded as if my life were perfect, I hit a snag, and then it was perfect again. She was right. That has been my life, but I wanted to explain in this Landmark why one thing caused my entire life (at least up until the 12th grade in high school) to collapse.

I had never failed. Ever.

I had reached a crossroads in my life. I once again had realized that I was doing all these things in my life not for me so much as I was to please others. Things changed. I changed. I started to put myself first. I started doing what I wanted to do, not what others would think was the best, most intelligent and responsible decision.

I had also reached a crossroads in what I wanted to do with my life. Since my childhood and numerous trips to the ER, I had always wanted to practice medicine, to be a doctor, to be in control and to have the ability to heal others. It was and still is a very ideological and lofty goal. I also did not get in to Annapolis, but I was chosen to attend West Point instead. I told my superiors and my congressman that I did not want to go to West Point. This man in an Army uniform with a Southern accent said "Why the hell not son? You're goin' to WEST POINT! You can fly helicoptors for crissakes!" I explained to him that I planned on studying medicine while at Annapolis, and wanted to choose it as a profession within the Navy and, eventually, in the private sector when the time came. West Point offered no education in medicine. But still they guaranteed me a seat as their fully approved primary delegate to attend West Point. All I had to do was sign the form.

Now in my world of high school, I was past the sorrow and sadness stage of depression, and I was mad, as in REALLY REALLY PISSED OFF!

I sat there and concentrated on my future and had two major career paths in front of me:

1. I could go to college like some of my friends and major in pre-med. OR

2. I could go to West Point and make sure that I became the very best I could be at killing people, all in the name of war.

At the time, the second choice was very appealing, because I was so angry. But inside, I was still "me" and knew the anger was just temporary. But I was rebelling against my parents. My mother tried in vain to lift me out of my depression, trying all too hard, and my father did and said nothing. I remember one day when things were coming to a head for me emotionally I collapsed and just cried very hard and could not stop. I had hit rock bottom. It hurt to live. It hurt to breathe! My dad just stood behind me and said nothing. His way to handle problems was to let them blow over. I understand that better today, but at the time I was angry with everyone, even him. I ran out of the house and I ran and ran Forest Gump style and ended up across town. To my dad's credit, he came looking for me and did aske me to get in the car. Not why I should, just to get in. I was too stubborn and walked home. I have realized some of the mistakes I made back then and they have helped me so much. Today, I'm so glad I chose the first choice.

So why am I the Teflon Man? Because nothing sticks. I had been through an emotionally- draining growing-up phase. I had to choose how I was going to plan the rest of my life. I was good. I was bad. I was ornery, I was sneaky. I was never evil or malicious, but no matter what I did, I never got in trouble.

All the stupid juevenile things I did as a teenager, all the ornery things I did as a child, I was always able to weasel my way out of getting punished, even if I did get caught.

This, unfortunately gave me the preconceived notion that I was bulletproof.

Its times like these, you learn to love again
-The Foo Fighters

So I decided I was going to college. I will speed up through college and pharmacy school for brevity. (this is already longer and in more detail than I intended). I was afraid to fall in love and did not have one girlfriend through college. I did have the revelation though that I wanted to have a relationship. This was profound enough to include the fact that I wanted to one day get married and have children and help them grow. At that point, I knew medicine was not for me. Sure I could do both, but I knew with my sick level of excellence, I would aspire to be a great doctor, but would be a lousy husband and father.

Pharmacy was a compromise, and the only compromise I think I have ever enjoyed. You see, once a wise man once told me that no one wins in a compromise. Naturally, being very competitive and wanting to excel, I then labelled a compromise as a losing proposition. However, pharmacy is a blend of many facets of healthcare, plus, I (thought) I would have the time to nurture a family.

I started dating again in pharmacy school. I was 22 and had put my love life on hold for 4 years. I met my wife in pharmacy school. We had gone to school for 2 years together, become friends and had never dated, until my final year of school. One day, I walked by her desk, and I don't know if she changed her makeup or her hair, but she was beautiful to me, and I said "Hello!" So yes of course she looked at me oddly as if I just got dropped off by the mother ship, but I had a new challenge: her.

For many reasons, we decided to stay in the Chicagoland area and I practiced pharmacy there for almost 4 years. It nearly killed me. I was on the fast track: the one that gets you a corporate job where you take the reins and climb the ladder of success one sleazy rung at a time. I was trained in all aspects of my future position and had all sorts of fun projects that got me out of my pharmacy and into the "office". Again, to shorten the story, I once again woke up and realized that I was doing what a responsible perfectionist would do and not what was best for me or my family.

I gave it all up. I ran away. I told my wife that if I did not get out of my current job path it would consume me and I would go insane, and I meant it. Again, I do not like to fail, but I also developed this distaste for being an unethical person. I believe that my corporate career path would put me on the wrong side eithically where a patients' wellbeing is secondary to profits.

Success is like death: The more successful you become, the higher the houses in the hills get and the higher the fences get.
-Kevin Spacey

So I dragged my wife and family kicking and screaming to what I knew was safe. My hometown. I explained that the cost of living is much less than Chicago and how this would be an excellent move financially. My parents were most willing to watch our children, so we could work full-time and get ahead financially etc...

So I sold by idea to my wife and we took the plunge. I purposefully took a job as a "floater". This is a pharmacist who travels from site to site to fill in for vacations, maternity leaves, personal leave of absences etc...but I did all the staffing with the pharmacy chain I am currently employed with. I did this for 4 years, mainly because my day-to-day tasks were minimal, I had no pharmacy to look after, and traveling was fun, but time consuming! Even though some of my stores I covered had drive times upwards of 2 and 1/2 hours one way, I never complained. My wife understood it helped me to maintain my sanity as long as the pressure of work did not reignite my drive to outmanuver the pressure and TO EXCEL! TO WIN!

Well something unexpected happened. I was also floating for so long waiting for a pharmacy to open up close to home. It did. Very close, as a matter of fact. In my home town. The pharmacist that left was my mentor, my Mazer Rackham. He had 40 years with the company when he left. I was nervous, I was afraid of what might happen. I took the job anyway...

Its times like these, time and time again...
-The Foo Fighters

So yes my job consumed me once again. I complain on here occasionally that working 6 days a week and 55 hours plus a week is hard to stomach, but I do it anyway. You see, my wife and I had been looking to move. We had shot down 2 or 3 choices and then stumbled upon our dream house times 1 million!

This house was amazing inside and out, and most unnerving of all, we could afford it, barely . We took another plunge, and a good friend of mine mentioned that buying a home takes a year off of your life. I disagree, buying a home took a year, and 5 years off my life subjectively! It was so stressful to be so economically shackled to this HUGE investment, especially after living well below our means for nearly 5 years. So I did what comes naturally:

I resurrected the sick level of excellence, hard work and determination that burns me out. I have been doing it for 2 years now. Last time, I lasted 3 years, and I don't know how long I will hold out this time. Please understand, I made this prison, I held my own hand while I cemented myself in, all the while laughing like a madman, knowing what this would bring. I have been hard on my wife, I have been hard on my children, and there is not one day that goes by that I do not regret my behavior towards them.

But even though I sit here at work while I tell you this story, I do not despair. I only have myself to blame. Fortunately for The Teflon Man, there is an end in sight. My intern (Intern of the Year for our entire company) has listened to her mentor (me, the Pharmacy Preceptor of the Year of our company) and is going to be my wife's partner sometime this summer. Since there is a severe pharmacist shortage, my wife has been without a partner for nearly 2 years. So floaters have been filling the gaps in scheduling which has affected our quality time drastically. Even worse, I feel compelled to work overtime in her store so that she does not have to.

So the best of us are all aligning ourselves as if there is some looming battle ahead, as if the black gate itself is about to spill the bowels of hell upon us. But again, I am not afraid. I cannot fail, I will not fail. I will find and must find a way to make everything work. I quit on myself once, and I will never do that again.

Sure you say, just do your part! Stop working like a slave to the detriment of your family and friends! Stop coming home exhausted after a 12-hour shift with nothing left emotionally for your family night after night!

But I cannot. I cannot stand to see my company fail to meet the needs of the very persons I choose to take care of professionally and personally. My patients are family, whether they like me or not (and they do like me, after all I am the Teflon Man). I would stand my post, all day and night if necessary, to make sure the job is done, and done right. That is what a responsible perfectionist does.

But a small part of me yearns to work my fair share, and just that. To be a better father, husband, friend, Jatraquero.

And I have a feeling, that as usual, things just might fall into place.

Thanks for reading.

[ June 12, 2004, 05:01 PM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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TomDavidson
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Man, dude, you're an overworked pharmacist who's married to another pharmacist. Leaving aside all the hyperbole, that's what the big dilemma boils down to.

Don't look at it as a black hole of perfectionism that's looming up to swallow your all-too-wonderful life; just look at it as what it IS -- a bit more work than you can handle happily -- and roll with it.

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Alucard...
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Thanks Tom I do hear your advice and take it to heart, and believe me, I am rolling.

My wife and I had a huge hurtle to jump when we both talked in earnest about her career and how she wanted to balance work and life at home, primarily the children. For her to keep working and give up some of that home life to afford this silly-assed mansion we live in was a HUGE decision for her to make. I just pray that she does not regret that decision...

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Icarus
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(((Alucard)))

Be careful, okay?

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mackillian
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wow.
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Alucard...
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Ick,

I forgot to mention that "Careful" is my middle name.

So I guess that makes me the Careful Teflon Man? But then again, that makes Careful my first name...oh well.

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Dagonee
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OK, instead of waiting until I can think of something meaningful to say, I'll just say I enjoyed that landmark very much and have faced very similar issues. I walked away from my job that consumed me, but I can see the new one consuming me for very different reasons. Be careful out there.

Dagonee

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Alucard...
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Thanks Dagonee.

To give up my prior career track has truly turned out for the best for me personally as well as for my family (the family being my more important consideration). But at the time, it sure felt like another failure, sort of like I could not cope with the stress associated with the process of climbing the ladder.

Fortunately, I got high enough for a peek, and didn't like what I saw. Never in a million years though would I have imagined the sad state of affairs here in PA. 70% of my county gets some sort of financial assistance, whether federal or state funding. No one wants to relocate here, unfortunately.

Don't even get me started on the real estate market. If I tried to unload my house, I would most definitely go bankrupt.

It is quite a web I have ensnared myself in. Even stranger that I wove it as well. But then again, that's the point of the post.

I must admit, the irony is delicious.

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fallow
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teflon's man-made, dude.

nice post.

fallow

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Shigosei
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Being a perfectionist is hard because it tends to steal the time you want to spend with the people who matter. I'm glad that you're aware of that, and I hope that things will work out for you in the future. And I hope you'll be able to let yourself work your fair share, because your family needs you just as much or more than your company does.
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Alucard...
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Thanks Shig, I keep telling myself that, but it is just too damned easy to fall back into the same pattern.. Not only that but like the classic line from The Godfather III

"Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in."

If I don't find work, it inevitably finds me. The beauty is that I never have to bring work home with me, I just stay there.

[ June 12, 2004, 08:01 PM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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ak
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So, your house owns you, huh? That sounds dreadful. And you work so many hours that you barely have time to live in it?

I take it back, what I said last time about your life being perfect but for one snag. Now it sounds like it's really messed up. [Frown] I hope you find a way out of your prison. People matter more than things. Houses are for us, not we for them.

[Frown] I hope you get things worked out better. [Frown] This has been one of the saddest landmarks ever.

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beverly
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Alucard, I know what it feels like to know that something in your life really ought to change but to not be ready to change it yet. It sounds like despite how much you need the money, you really think you ought to spend more time with your family. I hope that you can find a balancing point that allows you to feel at peace with yourself about it.
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Elizabeth
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Alucard,
This is what I would have said if I had picked you for the compliment thread:

Yours is the kind of mind that connects strongly with others. You are very funny, and very sweet, and you have aways made me feel welcome here. I feel like I could sit around and say silly things to you. It makes me happy to know that you are in this giant world with me.

A friend asked me for advice for turning forty. I thought about it,and I guess what I would say is this: Since I have turned forty, I have stopped trying to live up to my potential. I realize that I have already reached my potential, it just changed.

Accept yourself, forgive yourself, and make the best choices you can.

I am thinking of you tonight, my friend. Prayers and meditations coming your way.

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twinky
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I'm glad that there's a light at the end of the proverbial tunnel. [Smile]
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tt&t
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quote:
P.S. From my post count, you can see that I am due for a Landmark, but I have no intentions of trying to outdo this one. Your story is just so much more gripping than the one I might tell!
You lie, my friend, you lie. That was... wow. Dude. All I can say is, glad to know you. Thank you. [Smile]
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pooka
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(((Alucard))) My husband warned me he might turn out like you, and decided not to. I'm having a real hard time forgiving him, but this helps.
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ClaudiaTherese
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Alucard, sounds like you've already done a lot of thinking about our life. Do you think ak is correct that the house owns you? (If she's right, that would be sad. [Frown] )

Excellent landmark.

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Armoth
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Alu, My best friends, my older brother and sister, made almost identical decisions to yours. They and their spouses enslaved themselves to their houses, and to their families - but it wasnt slavery. Fortunately for them, they went through those five years, and its quite bright at the end of the tunnel. Keep going strong, its worth it in the end.
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Alucard...
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This is what I was hoping to convey to the impressionable Jatraqueros out there still in school.

You can live your life, study hard, and do everything "right"; right meaning acceptable to a certain mindset or set of values and choices, and still be miserable. In other words, you can lose. I was watching Bruce Almighty on cable the other day and Morgan Freeman as God says to Bruce (Jim Carrey) that some of the most happy people in the world go home sweaty and smelly from doing just simple, honest-to-goodness hard work, i.e. mopping floors (like God, in this movie).

I would love nothing more than to stand on a stage in front of you all and tell you firsthand that money DOES NOT buy happiness.

I am not bitter and I am not feeling sorry for myself. I would just caution anyone from letting "the tail wag the dog" and let their job or anything else dictate the way they live their lives. Sadly, with the way our country works, many households have both parents working to earn the living they want to live.

ak,

The average selling price of a home in my rural county of Western PA was $59,000 for 2003. The most expensive home sold for $265,000 in 2003. Let's just say that I will likely hold the record for 2004 and maybe a few more years to come...So yes, in a way, the home owns me, and my wife, and hangs like an albatross from the necks of my children. I have dug quite a hole for myself. My wife is not as decisive as I am and occasionally asks me if we did the right thing. That hurts, because I would have never done the house thing unless it was her dream. And to be honest, it was her idea and she sold her dream to me. However, I had fallen in love with a house much less expensive in an area that I had dreamed of living since I was a kid. That was tough to pass up. We had even made an offer that we eventually pulled, even with the chance of losing our earnest money, which was a few thousand dollars. So, yes the house is a very BIG issue, but it is also ridiculously nice. Therefore, it is quite emotionally confusing.

beverly,

I do not need the money so much as I feel the need to stand my post and serve my community. I work every Sunday and do not go to mass, but the priest understands and we talk whenever he comes in to shop. I could go to Saturday night mass, but I work every Saturday too. However, this is going to change for the better this summer, when we have our new hire coming on board. These 6 months have just been brutal though. And strangely, what you mention about balance is so so very wise.

If I had a dream come true, it would be to find balance in my life. I have every opportunity laid before me, too many in fact and it is overwhelming. I just want balance. I want to sit in a garden and pull weeds with my wife. This has been harder on her than me, for her parents are very much in the middle of post-divorce bitterness.

Liz,

Anyone who knows me would tell you that I am the most non-serious, fun-loving person they know. I work intensely at work, but we all have fun. I tend to internalize my problems, and I am afraid I dumped them all out at once on all of you. I wish I could tell you how much it means for all of you to take the time to relate to my thoughts and concerns. Hatrack is a truly amazing place...

quote:
I feel like I could sit around and say silly things to you. It makes me happy to know that you are in this giant world with me.

That is EXACTLY how I am 99% of the time. I would hope you understand that I took the 1% of my life that I hate and expanded on it in detail here.

twinky,

Yes there is, there always is for the Teflon Man. If anything, I am the luckiest man in the world, and I am so thankful for the good fortune I have been blessed with.

TTT,

I liked reading your post better than mine. [Smile] And I still stand behind my quote. Not only am I a perfectionist, I hate to admit it when I am wrong, or even worse, when I fail.

I think I was wrong once, but I might have been mistaken...

pooka,

If I could save one person the pain of falling into a trap that involves marriage, work, money and just about every other emotionally-taxing aspect of life, then this thread has been a success. I would also clarify and hope that your husband does not repeat the mistakes I made. Actually, deep below all the facades, I am an OK guy. So that would mean that your husband and I might be more similar than different...but I am just being silly and mulling over semantics! [Razz]

CT,

In many ways ak is right. But you are so right. I lay in bed night after night and play chess with the moves I could make in my life. There are always choices, some much more difficult than others, but there are ALWAYS choices to make. So I do have options, they are just very very distasteful at the moment.

Armoth,

Thank you for the encouragement. If I live my life through, not only will I have been a "success", but my children and maybe their children will be set for life. That is one of my goals: To create a place that will always be a gathering place for my family, and that will stay in the family.

[ June 13, 2004, 11:47 AM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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Ela
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That's quite a story, Alucard.

Be careful not to burn yourself out, and remember that people are more important than things. You call yourself the "teflon man" - I guess I worry what would happen if one time the "teflon" didn't work.

I hope for the best for you and your family. Our time with our children in our "nest" is so short, and you can't recover that time once it's gone.

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Alucard...
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Ela,

Thank you for the encouragement!

quote:
You call yourself the "teflon man" - I guess I worry what would happen if one time the "teflon" didn't work.

Although it was subtle, I am joking about being the Teflon Man. I eluded to the fact that sometimes in life we assume we are bulletproof, and life-altering events show us, shockingly sometimes, how fraglie life really is.

I know all too well that I am not bulletproof, and a layer of Teflon keeps just as much inside as it does out.

[ June 13, 2004, 12:53 PM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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Space Opera
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Wow. Thanks for sharing something so personal. I truly hope that one day soon you'll be able to find the balance between work and family. My husband, much like you, was once very devoted to his job. As a matter of fact, he let getting ahead in the professional world become more important than his family. Thankfully, he came to his senses before he lost us. He's still devoted to his work, but is more devoted to being a good husband and father. I sincerely hope that this is what you're striving to do as well. A house is wonderful, but even a wonderful house feels empty without a loving family in it.

space opera

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Alucard...
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Well said Space Opera.

Yes what you described with your husband is what I teeter on the brink of. Hopefully, new hires and additional staff will bring me back from the edge a bit...although I hate to admit it, but sometimes life at work is a little less complex than life at home when my wife and I fight. However, hiding at work is not the answer either. But time and hard work at home will fix much!

[ June 13, 2004, 04:49 PM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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ak
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Alucard, I hope it's not wrong of me that I didn't think of something more positive to say. Your landmark just made me feel so sad. Especially as a contrast to your previous one, in which your life seemed positively idyllic. I understand, I think, about the many conflicting pulls upon you. I hope things work out for you so that you find a way to arrange your life that you can be happy. If you are miserable then you can't be a good anything. Not a good pharmacist to your customers, nor a good husband, a good father, or anything. Best of luck. Whatever you do, do stay in touch with hatrack. We've missed you when you were away.
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Alucard...
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Thanks ak.

One thing I always admire about Hatrack is that we usually tell someone what they need to hear. Often times in person, we tell a person what they might want to hear, or we sugar-coat our comments.

I appreciated the honesty of your previous post. If it helps, I am a good pharmacist, but a mediocre husband and father, and there is plenty of hope. I am an optimistic realist???

As you know, I once had internet access at work, which was restricted company-wide to an intranet site. I sneak my laptop into work and use the fax machine phone line to dial out to my ISP. [Big Grin]

And as far as missing me, I have missed all of you too and try to get on when I can. Nothing bugs me more than when I miss a chance to answer someone's pharmacy-related question.

[ June 14, 2004, 05:29 PM: Message edited by: Alucard... ]

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BlueJacsFan
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Wow. I hardly know how to respond to this. Like ak, I am very saddened by the things you have written, but I can see that you've already put a lot of time into analyzing your situation.

I know you realize that success is not measured by how others see you, but I'm going to say it anyway. If your family is sacrificed for the material things, it's not really success. Do everything in your power to bring balance back into your life.

Make time for your family. Keep the lines of communication open between you and your wife. Make sure she knows you recognize imbalance, and that you're working to fix it. Make sure she knows she and your kids are important to you. Tell her often. Show them often.

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Corwin
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Strange... For the first part of your landmark it seemed like it was about me, although my motivations are not quite the same.

Remember, you little vampire, you: perfection tends to be its own failure.

As for the feeling of everything falling into place, it's not important while it lasts, it's when it deceives us that everything falls... apart. So expect failure; and go on winning !

"Life has a funny way of sneaking up on you,
Life has a funny, funny way of helping you out"
   Alanis Morissette - Ironic

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Alucard...
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Thanks BJF,

One thing I did not mention is that my mother can watch my children when my wife and I are working, so since my children are with family, it is easy for me to heap on more work. But I do take your advice to heart.

Corwin,

Thanks. I do tend to plan for the worst and hope for the best. Plus, as I have eluded to, I am very lucky.

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Farmgirl
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Alucard...

That was a great landmark. Such an insight..

I want to also say that it popped a lightbulb in my mind. When you talked about your teen years and your encounters with your first girlfriend (and breakup) I suddenly realized exactly what my oldest son (18) has been going through. Being an obsessive perfectionist (as you are/were) he has never failed at ANYTHING -- so I now suddenly understand why he is taking it so hard emotionally when it comes to girls...

Thanks for that insight. It might help me to be a better parent.

Farmgirl

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Alucard...
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Farmgirl,

Not only what you mentioned about your son, but I am guessing he is smarter and more mature than his peers, which may make a loss like this a bit harder for him.

For me personally, I realized how immature my adolescent relationships were now that I am thirtysomething, but I still cherish the ones I had and wouldn't change a thing. I realize now that those experiences made me a stronger person.

And for the record, my first girlfriend came into my life when I was 2. I was Raggedy Andy and she was Raggedy Ann, and I have the pics to prove it. [Razz]

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Elizabeth
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"I was Raggedy Andy and she was Raggedy Ann, and I have the pics to prove it."

I think that makes you a Furrie, Alucard. Once you have donned a stuffed animal or doll costume in the name of love, you can never go back. Or so I am told.

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Alucard...
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Well I have never donned the Santa Claus outfit, but I hear that scores major points in the name of erm...love. [Big Grin]
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Bob_Scopatz
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Excellent post. Kind of haunting and yet inspiring at the same time.

In many ways, I think it's all a matter of what one chooses to focus on. Obviously, the move to rural PA made sense on some positive merits, not just running away from burnout in Chicago. Things like having your kids grow up knowing your parents are just worth it, you know.

So, if you focus on that stuff, you may not even notice that your house's walls are closing in on you, slowly, inexorably, squeezing the life from you.

Bwah ha hahahahaha

Anyway, thanks for a great post.

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Ralphie
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btw, Alucard - I think you're the shiznit. In case anyone asks.
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Tammy
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quote:
My patients are family, whether they like me or not
Ahhh, I wish you were my pharmicist.

[Smile]

Edited because I failed to copy and quote you properly.

[ June 19, 2004, 06:59 PM: Message edited by: Tammy ]

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Alucard...
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Bob,

Thank you very much. I know there are the endless debates about serious posts vs fluff, but I confess that your fluff posts are my favorite, and you make me laugh out loud frequently. You truly do have a gift. Thank you again.

Ralphie, (the siren)

You ain't so bad yourself! I promise you will be my first email when I create my ultimate LAN setup in the building I have set aside...

Tammy,

Thanks for that ultimate compliment. I am blessed to be welcomed in the town I grew up in, and I take my responsibilities very seriously. Too seriously, in fact, for my own good. As we speak, I am working on Father's Day, my wife is in tears over some family issues, and my son is laid up with a broken leg, but that is life in my household, and I wouldn't change a thing.

I suppose I needed to get everything out in the open to see that now...thanks for listening everyone.

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Erik Slaine
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What an amazing post--and life! Thanks for being here.
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Shan
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Good story.

Inspirational.

Makes me very, very glad I am applying for a different position in my agency.

Carry on!

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Alucard...
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Erik,

Thanks for reading. Hatrack is quite an amazing place, and I am glad to be here.

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Erik Slaine
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Did you use another SN for a while? Your absence was noticable.
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Alucard...
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I usually do not go on the internet at home, even though I could, so I sneak my laptop into work and post there. The absence was when my employer canned our internet access and I had to go out and get my own connection. The absence also corresponded to the move we made and the fact that we were unpacking for weeks and weeks, so I was off the internet literally for a few months!

Thanks for noticing. Even now, when I am "back" I only post at work, and only if it slows down and time permits. This is very frustrating, but the best I can do at this point, because my wife and I have "flipped" our schedule so that we minimize time our kids are not with us, but means that we never see each other. Computer time at home is very hard indeed!

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