Monday, December 17, 2012

Managing backwards...

Winter in Chicago is probably not the best time to start dreaming of a vacation in the Bahamas, in fact, it is probably the worst time to start dreaming of anything, with the exception of making through the winter. Every step of my walk to the elevated stop at Damen is usually magically transformed into a step closer to making it to a heated train car, making it to the CVS for some gum and cigarettes, making it to the coffee shop where the barista doesn’t know my name, but knows I travel back and forth to Seattle or Florida at every chance I get. I always wanted to try the big city, and always thought that I would make it in the big city – and making it has different levels of complexity and accomplishment – but right now, that’s about the extent of what I am doing – I am making it because that’s all I really have as an option right now. Having a fourteen year old son puts things in perspective. Having a fourteen year old brain makes that even closer to the truth. Outwardly, folks would think that I am living the dream, and if I could see through my somewhat distorted lenses, I probably would think the same thing. Unfortunately, clarity of vision was never really one of my strong points – it was more or less a challenge to manage myself effectively enough to make forward progress without inevitably cracking under the weight of my past decisions. I constantly reinforce that to my son – but have a difficult time reinforcing to myself that those decisions are no longer there – they have been made, the actions have been done, and that I should not make those again. I make them again – just like a crackhead to a pipe – you can bet that odds are I am going to choose to not manage forwards, and manage backwards. Self help books are not useful when you don’t pay attention to what you read – neither or doctors, or counselors, or programs, or thinking about it – none of those are any good unless you actually choose to manage things around you. It’s really easy to give up – exceptionally easy to give up – trust me on that one – I have always found a way to give up, and just manage from crisis to crisis – instead of taking the route of the most resistance – and managing the way I look forward. There are beautiful things about Chicago – where I live, it is a quiet street, not too busy, with single family homes – they are decorated in the seasonal finery – summer decorations for summer, Chicago Bears flags on Sunday, Christmas lights shortly after Thanksgiving. There is a little grocery down the street where they know I want milk and two packs of cigarettes, there is Bobbie’s Runaway on the corner where I know I can go to hide, and not be a part of anything other than a cold Miller beer and some conversation about the weather – there are a million things to do, and a million places to see, and a world of history at every stop on the Brown Line. The truth is that Chicago is an open and friendly city – and as much as I try to take advantage of it, I also seem to be falling behind on taking advantage of it. I get plenty of time to think about it – and plenty of time to do something about it – but so far – not so good. Until next time.

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