In December 2015, I had spent almost a year working for everyone else. At least, I felt I was working for others’ interests, but in truth I guess the reality was I was working to undermine it all.
Why? Many people who I am sure describe themselves as wanting my best interests at heart thought I was in need of serious psychiatric help. One in particular let it be understood I needed almost invasive examination of the functioning of my brain.
In part, it seems this was because I wasn’t prepared to let money do the talking; or maybe I transmitted the idea my price was far too high.
It is now the 28th of June, 2016. In barely six months a man (ie myself) who had stopped driving a car, who had given up on conquering his fear of flying decades ago, who was progressively (ie regressively) retreating into a world where the planet was examined via the screen of a laptop (which never left its desk!), who had spent years without the touch of a woman who might love him as he wanted rather than love him as she needed, whose two main streams of income had disintegrated into a laughable pair of trickles (though not laughable for his long-suffering family and wife), who was gradually escaping even the activities of volunteering which had formerly still given him a degree of self worth … all of this and far more had made of this man a cipher of any former self.
A man without balls, in fact.
A man, not at all.
Today, meanwhile, whilst not entirely there, shows us a man who begins to look and feel like a man should always feel and look.
So OK: the belly is still portly. The hair (mainly the result of epilepsy medication) refuses to hug his scalp any more. The man who was will never be the man who is. But that’s the nature of life, and as long as the new ain’t a going backwards, the fact that we are no longer what we were is all to the good: a wonderful liberation.
I drive with gorgeous love – love of the game that driving involves.
I fly with huge anticipation since my 54th birthday – and I need a bucket list for the first time in my life.
I am beginning to re-encounter delightful, loving, lovable people from my past; one person in particular who surely must know who she is by now. And on the back of my writings, I am pretty sure must be, I am beginning to find that within my existing circle of family and friends there is another rippling, gently approaching other. People I abandoned for decades; people who my circumstances caused me to abandon; people who some of those closest to me encouraged me, whether deliberately or not, to cut myself quite violently away from.
As I’ve already alluded to, I’m not quite there. But part of the reason is that I am now fighting a battle on difficult home fronts. And the decision is taken. I shall be spending the summer away from my partner of almost thirty years; at least the bit of the summer that allows me to prove to myself whether the person I am becoming needs the privacy of singular existence.
I think my ideal way of thriving, of course, would be to live with the woman of my life. But I am also aware I am now a man growing up – thankfully no longer growing old before his time (God forbid that I may continue to promote that cause!); and as a result, growing up does occasionally mean painful things: mainly, that freedom of individual action, belief and movement is far more important than attachments of romantic love.
I am happy, however, that the decision to test my ability to become the man I want to be can be experimented on over the next month or so. I only do the test to convince the people around me: in my heart of hearts and soul of souls I know a properly financed life of independent living, where I was able to pay my family’s way but also live the life I thirst and am ambitious for, would be the very best solution, and resolution for everyone.
Over the past six months or so I have written my entire life on these pages. I’m not sure if I ever had the right to be as indiscreet as I so easily find it to be. On the other hand, the gentle madness such writings have been manifesting are clearly examples of who I am: both as man and writer; both as reader and lover.
And without these indiscretions, the writer would disappear.
I’m not sure that would be appropriate.
Even in the light of the lives I have laid out.
I’m also not sure – really am not – if I have done all the driving here, or if the many good women and sometimes men too who I strongly believe have intervened in the whole process haven’t had a helluva lot more to do with the direction of my actions and the growth of my manhood.
Either way, anyways, all ways and everything, I’m grateful for the outcomes – but more importantly, I’m glad the person who I most have treasured in this world is slowly, gently, on her rightful terms, coming back into the life I am gradually become.
Not in a growing-old way.
Gladly, wonderfully, generously allowing me to grow up.
Gladly, wonderfully, generously …