The Late Man. An Intermission Post.

I’m late for everything. Dentist, therapy, dinner, lunch and business meetings. I am late on bill payments, bank deposits, email replies, car tune-ups, car-registration and work deadlines. My dogs go several days without food because I am late to buy their food. I am late to buy myself groceries. I am late to getting myself in better physical condition, eating a healthier diet and visiting doctors for general check ups. I am late to watering my plants, cutting my toe nails, doing my dishes, laundering my clothes and filing my car tire (which is almost flat) with air.

I am a late man.

I am late for everything. I am late to wash my car. I am late to floss my teeth. I am late to do all the things that I need to do to have better oral and sexual health. I am late to write a novel. I am late to write anything. I am late to having a career as an author. I am late to becoming the man I want to be. I am late to telling other people that I love them. I am late to getting the dried leaves and dead branches off the roof of my house (the leaves are currently causing the roof shingles to break apart).

I am a late man. Late, late, late, late.

I am late to organizing my life. I am late to keeping a daily journal. I am late to going for long walks every morning. I am late to finishing several projects I have started. I am late to listening to all the records I want to listen to. I am late to finish writing this. It is as if being late is a fundamental part of my biology. Being late seems to be imbedded in my neural operating system. A way of being that I was born into. I was late to being born. Doomed from day one. My mother says I took 15 hours longer than expected to show up. Is it true that the way in which we are born determines our fundamental behaviors for the rest of our lives? I think so.

With my therapist we discuss lateness. My therapist also struggles with being late. I have been working with her for almost a decade and I do not think that she has ever been on time to one of our sessions. This is ok because neither have I. Because my therapist is late, I can tell that she is hesitant to really talk about what it means to be late. She fears exposing too much about herself to me. I understand. She fears that I would see her as a flawed human and thus no longer trust and desire her psychological guidance. She doesn’t know that the more flawed she reveals herself to be, the more I trust and desire her psychological guidance. She is late to knowing this.

Most humans are late to everything. Everything important at least. Even the ones who are on time to appointments and meetings are late to almost everything else. They are late to knowing themselves. Late to achieving authentic human happiness. Late to love. Late to figuring out their life’s meaning. Late to learning how to appreciate the people in their lives. Late to knowing how they hurt others. Late to realizing that taking care of themselves is being kind to others. Late to not being so deeply self-absorbed. Late to knowing how to properly floss their teeth. Late to being sexually comfortable. Late to taking care of their bodies. Late to feeling comfortable in the nude when around other people. Late to being the directors of their own lives. Late to spiritual understandings. Late to not feeling bad after masturbating or having non-traditional sexual experiences. With medical improvements, most people these days are even late to their own deaths.

Everyone is late.

Knowing that everyone else is late makes me feel better about being a late man. The difference between myself and other on time people is that the ways in which I am late make my struggle to be on time, more transparent. Being late to meetings and appointments gives me away as being a person who struggles with showing up on time in every other aspect of my life. People assume that if I am late to appointments and meetings, I must be late to learning what it means to be a healthy and responsible human being. I think they are wrong. People who show up on time to meetings and appointments are just better able to hide how they are late for everything else in their life. Even though everyone struggles with being late for most things (especially the important things like love, health, flossing, guilt free sexual fulfillment, generosity, kindness, being naked and happiness) those who are on time to appointments and meetings get to appear like they “have their shit together.” Obviously, this appearance could not be further from the truth.

I am late to buying new underwear and socks. I am late to career development. I am late to committing to a career. I am late to being financially independent. I am late to having a hairstyle that I am comfortable with. I am late to being comfortable with my physical appearance. I am late to being able to be vulnerable with another human being. I am late to authentically being a nice person who is not sometimes faking being a nice person. I am late to being able to turn to a stranger who is sitting at the table next to mine while talking really loudly and eating with mouth open and being able to let her know that she is talking really loudly and being really obnoxious. I am late to accepting the conditions of my life as they are. I am late to not feeling guilty. I am late to giving before getting. I am late to inner peace. I am late to transparency. I am late to telling people what I really think. I am late to not caring what other people think. Obviously, I am late to all the important stuff.

My therapist tells me to be patient. That I have made massive improvements over the past ten years. My therapist tells me that gradually I will be more and more on time. That being on time is not something that happens on time. Being on time takes time and happens in stages. My therapist tells me that because I am working on my inner self so diligently, everything will gradually fall in line. These are the fruits of long-term psychotherapeutic labor, she tells me. I trust her. I am on time to more things in my life now than ever before. Especially love, inner peace, kindness and sexual fulfillment. Also economic independence and not caring what other people think. More and more I am on time for these things, no longer as late as I once was. But I am still late to appointments and meetings. I don’t know if I will ever be on time for these things. Maybe it is a fundamnetal genetic flaw which escapes all attempts at correction. What is important is that I try. That I keep trying to be on time. That I do not retire until there is nothing left in me but bones, blood and an empty space where my will once was. This is what my therapist tells me. This she says is how I will be an older man who is more on time in life.

No longer late.

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How To Endure The Life Of A Writer. Conversation #27.

“Talent is extremely common. What is rare is the willingness to endure the life of the writer.” -Kurt Vonnegut

You see, I do this thing, I live this life, but it is hard for me to feel happy about it.

Why is that?

Because I am not doing what I love (for money). You read about and see people all over talking about how lucky they are to wake up and do the thing they love to do. “It is not work because I love doing it!” I hear this a lot. Lucky bastards. I don’t have this. I don’t feel this.

But you get to help people as a psychotherapist. As a meditation teacher you get to help people be more present and find healthier ways of living. The work that you do bleeds out into the world in so many ways that you are unaware of. You help countless people. You have such a deep influence in so many people’s lives.

This is great. I am happy about this. But I am not a fan of other people. “I want to be of service to others.” This has never resonated with me. “Let others fend for themselves.” This resonates with me. I do not love helping other people learn how to better deal with their problems. I am not even sure any of it works in the long term. A part of me feels like psychotherapy and meditation is just a scam. Neither work in the long term.

So you do not really believe in the work that you do?

Only a bit. I think these things can help people but only in very subtle ways. The truth is that I am just not that interested in the work I do. I do not think it is very interesting. I am bored by it. Other people bore me. The money I am able to make is good, but is this really the point? To make good money but feel unhappy all the time? You feel like something is missing. Like you are not doing what you are supposed to be doing. I try to get into the work that I do. I try to love it but it doesn’t seem to work. I am just not a people person. I don’t love people and I am in the people business.

How has this happened to you?

Just taking the easy way out. Just doing what I thought I was supposed to do. Wanting to make money. Following the rules. Too afraid to take big risks. Playing it safe. This is how this sort of thing happens. Plus I have never really had the ambition and/or energy to really apply towards doing the thing I love at a larger level. I have been too timid. Too held back. I haven’t applied myself enough because of a fear of failing I suppose. It is much easier to take a path others have created for you (professions) but there is a big price to pay if you don’t love it.

So now you are stuck. You have bills. You are in debt. You own a home. You have a career that you do not love. Your work feels like work. When you are not working you feel this hole and this envy for others who get to do the thing they love. You try and figure out how to get there but you do not know how. You are getting older. You have less energy. You feel like time is running out. You feel like you should just learn to be happy with what you got.

Yes. I just don’t know if I am going to be able to make it doing the thing I love. Not enough energy and will to apply toward it anymore. I don’t think it is good enough.

What do you love? What do you want to do?

Writing and making art (drawing/illustration).

But you don’t think it is good enough. You don’t really have the will to apply to it anymore?

Yes. I feel stuck. My career drains me of most of my energy. I am being pulled by the outside world to just settle into being a therapist and meditation teacher. This is where things seem to be happening for me. This is what I am good at and what people are willing to pay me for.

I see.

No one cares about my writing or art. No one would be willing to pay me for these things. I can’t even give my writing away for free.

Maybe you sell yourself short? You work hard at writing these conversations between you and I. You post them on-line and give them away for free. You don’t do anything with it. You don’t try and publish your writings. You don’t try and advertise your blog. You don’t do anything to get more publicity!

I know.

Why?

I just don’t have the energy and I suppose I do not think it is good enough.

I know! But the only difference between artists and writers who make a living from their work is not the talent or the quality, it is that the ones who make money from their work believe that it is good enough. They don’t give it away for free. They don’t sell themselves short.

I do.

Yes. You always sell yourself short. This is why you work a job you don’t love. You sell yourself short. You settle. You take money from people for doing a service you do not really want to be doing. You give your writing and art away for free. You continually sell yourself short. Others walk all over you. This prevents your from really doing the work you would need to do to make a living as a writer/artist. So you are pissed off. Makes sense.

I don’t know what to do about this problem!

Stop selling yourself short. Start really applying yourself to the work you want to do. Take risks. Work hard at it!

I am too tired. I am 45 years old and just want to read my books, do my thing and not have to work so hard anymore.

I know. But then you will just have to keep doing something to make money that you do not love doing.

Maybe I will just have to learn how to love doing the thing that I don’t love doing. Become more selfless. Embrace what is. Transcend my own ego and accept my fate. Make peace with it and apply myself to it. Let go of the desire to be an artist and writer.

This is called selling out.

Or it is called growing up.

Maybe. Give it a try. I don’t know if it will work. I don’t know if it is possible to feel happy this way. I don’t know if you can make yourself love something that you don’t love. I just don’t know.

Neither do I.

Well just keep doing the things you love in your off time. Keep reading, drawing, writing, living. Maybe if you keep doing these things enough eventually it will pay off. Maybe because you are a slower worker, maybe because it takes you a lot more time than say someone who is ambitious, you will not get to do the thing you love for money until a lot later in life.

Possibly. I can only hope this is true.

Just keep doing the things you love. Stick with it. Don’t give up.

Ok.

You are tearing up. Does this make you sad?

I guess a bit. It has just been a long, lonely, frustrating road. But I will not give up.

Stick with it. Keep at the things you love to do.

Ok. Well thanks for your support.

Sure. Hope you have an enjoyable Sunday.

Thanks. You as well.