Subj: Re:Am I crazy?
Date: 3/17/99 2:25:22 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Dennis W. The Whitehouse)
To: (Butch)

Spring is coming - another birthday will be here soon (two weeks from this - I'll be 46) - I've been feeling an emotional shift (sort of a ‘tugging') that I'm pretty sure happens every year, just seems more noticeable this time. I understand that there were 3 full moons in the first quarter of this year, too. Strong tidal forces appear to be at work here. As I grow older, things are quite different than I think I imagined they would be. By that I mean that things are actually more the same than I think I thought they would be, if you can understand what I'm trying to say, except that I seem to have developed more of a connection with my emotions. Not control, just more of a recognition or awareness or something (I think I'm emotionally retarded, but that's another diatribe).The knee-jerk response is: Do it. Now.
But if you go jerkin' yer knee around you might hurt somebody, so let's talk about it. I'm thinking in spirals here. I don't believe in the concept of using labels for things like “mid-life-crisis” and stuff. It's life.., well, its the human condition anyway. Its a process. It brings to mind the stuff I was talking to you about regarding the existential concept of existence being a constant state of becoming, so labels like “age” are meaningless. When I was 35 was when I freaked the most (so far). I know I've recounted the story before and I'm trying, here in what you might call the Late Summer of my Becoming <g>, to repeat myself as little as absolutely possible (possible). I guess what I'm talking about here is that your age should not be the major factor in your decision. Of course you can't wait until you're too old to physically DO the things you want to do, but I think that focusing on the age issue introduces an emotional, almost panicky, variable that needs to be separated out if possible - there really is no “now or never” ultimatum here. For the sake of argument, then, I would say you've made the decision, right? So I'm saying, strip the black & white “it's either this or that" ideas away and just move in the direction you go. Escapism. There goes that labeling thing again (I guess all words are just labels, after all). You seem to say it with a negative connotation, though. Try as you might, I don't think its an attainable goal, ya know, as they say, everywhere you go... there you are. And you have Gretchen to be there with you. Oops, my thought-bubble-image just exploded. You say she's a “willing partner”, but what does that mean, exactly'?... a willing Escapism-ist?... it can mean a lot of different things to different people…and some of those things might go unspoken and even unrecognized by a person who thinks they know what they want... so that's not a fair assessment, really. I doubt if you are really in possession of the same mind. Both of you will continue to have constant changes of heart, different interpretations of the same feelings, new feelings with the same interpretations. Life is change: anything's possible: shit happens (back to that constant change of life idea, if you will - lord knows I've done a lot of 180s - even a bunch of 90s!) and when it involves two individual human beings, the possibilities expand exponentially - and it could really fuck everything up. The concept of escapism is like the concept of anarchy in that it works great for one person - two is difficult and rare, three and it starts to not work at all. I think it's good that you mention sort of ‘lesser alternatives to the “trade-in our life” scenario - relocating to a place that would allow you to sail just about as often as you want and to take extended vacations and stuff. You would be moving together in the direction that you (plural) go - and continuing to define what that is. I know you've talked to each other, but I don't know Gretchen at all, really, and so cannot comment on this as it pertains to you two - but I think I've hit the psycho-global-truism-nail on the head here. This decision, since it IS (with a capital “IS”) both of your lives, might be better made in the stages to which you alluded. You can still get the gratification of (thanks NIKE) “just doing it' by allowing yourself to make the choices that move you in the direction that you go (sorry, but it seems to be my theme tonight - it's all about those tidal forces, man) then again… you two might be the perfect partners to pull this off - I guess I'm being cynical, but I think it's great if you can be that optimistic. After all, you took just about the same risk in just being married.
You know I romanticize this whole thing to the max and I'm trying really hard to be Mr. Rational about it - but, man, if you could do this... legendary tales of epic proportions would be woven about “... the guy who got out”. I don't know what keeps people in one place in spite of all the life forces tugging at them - well, I guess we all know, but it would fill pages - so many psychological/sociological issues here - some people don't feel them at all, still more probably, I believe, feel them from time to time in their lives - people are bizarre, aren't we - most of us like frightened little rabbits huddling together in a quivering mass, biting and scratching each other while we compete violently for air and crumbs of scraps, but are too scared to leave the security of the hole in the ground. Excuse me while I vomit all over myself.
I admire you for the fact that you are driven and that you know, and have known, the direction you want to go. I know these things will happen for you because you are responding to the force and maintaining some focus. The degree to which they happen is now a function of you and Gretchen. I wish you all the happiness (and luck) in the world. I totally believe in luck as the most important force in nature, so I wasn't being sarcastic there - we all create our luck to a certain degree by positioning ourselves with our lifetime of choice-making, but there is still that mysterious element that is beyond any human control - intersecting paths that can cause you to win the lottery or suffer a shark attack - I think I'm taking about chaos theory - but I was trying not to be pessimistic about it. Keep me informed of what's going on - I think I'd like to live your life vicariously for a while....

“The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has
limits.” — Albert Einstein

“Beware the lollipop of mediocrity...
lick it once and you suck forever.”
“Moof' — Clarus the dogcow

Subj: PS
Date: 3/17/99 2:43:06 AM Eastern Standard lime
From: (The Whitehouse)
To: (Butch)

in answer to your question... yes, you are crazy

Subj: Re: Am I crazy?
Date: 3/19/99 8:29:05 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Randy D)

You're right, I can't adequately answer your question. I do know you and I are a lot alike when it comes to adventure and taking chances. I'm not a careful person, I'm one who likes to take chances. Even though I appear fairly conservative, my thinking is usually geared toward freedom, fulfilling future goals and being able to teach Stephen things like scuba diving (done that!), parachuting (done that!), and snow-skiing when he's ready.
A big part of my concern (and most peoples) is funding these adventures. The risk to you -future financial health- is minimal, really. Your combined incomes allow you a certain degree of personal freedom that most of us can only dream about. And, unfortunately, most people live their lives without having watched the sunset over a campfire in the mountains, or hiking rim-to-rim in the Grand Canyon with their son (haven't done that—yet!) or looking up from your sailboat while out in the Atlantic and seeing how numerous and how bright the stars are. 95% of the population can only see these things on television or in photographs in Outdoor magazine.
We've briefly touched on savings and investments before. I firmly believe that a person can invest wisely for his own future and his children's and be content with what it has grown to in 20 years. The secret is to start now, have a plan and stick to it. It sounds like you have already taken steps in this direction so no problem here.
The escapism thing, I dunno. My nagging concerns with my own personal situation is am I doing enough to help those around me in this world. I give at church but probably not as much as I should. Andrea has certain charities that we give to regularly but it's probably not as much as we should give. I know it's reaching, but this kind of relates to your
thoughts. The question for both of us and a whole slew of other Americans is am I being selfish. I think balance is probably the key here, do as much for yourself as necessary to be a healthy, pleasant, functioning human being and don't hesitate to give the rest of your time, money, or sweat to he those in our society who aren't as fortunate as ourselves. I hope that doesn't sound too socialistic because I'm a red-blooded, card carrying capitalist. A person has to take things from life in order to have something to give back to others and to their own spouses and children. The cool thing about Gretchen is that she wants to do this with you. You're a stud and she's a studette. I don't see a problem here, you two have thought this through.
Look, how many people have you met that regret taking that memorable vacation even though it cost a lot of money? How many people when their old and retired have you heard complain that they should have worked more? When you look back on your life what are you going to regret? Taking a chance and marrying Gretchen and leaving Lawrence? Not! Pursuing your dream of sailing on the ocean and fulfilling it? I think not. Being a XXX-rated movie star and making love to a different woman every day. Oops, sorry that's my dream. Seriously, those of us who don't chase our dreams no matter how farfetched are the ones with regrets. I haven't made any life changing decisions lately but when Andrea and I decided that I would go to pharmacy school, that was a taking a major chance for us. No regrets here, the price of oil is still below $15 and I know what those guys back home are going though. The ones with a job anyway.
Well, anyway you probably got bored and stopped reading my ramblings way back on the page but I think if you plan carefully you will have many great stories to e-mail to me and to tell your kids. The wonderful thing about the Pharmacy profession is that you can find a job anytime anywhere. That alone allows you to even consider sailing for the New World. What
are you going to name your ship, The Nina, Pinta or Santa Maria?

Subj: Re: Am I Crazy?
Date: 3/16/99 4:59:43 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Deb B.)

Butch....., heavy duty thinking going on I see smiles u know every since me and Max have know u butch... .u have been a risk taker u moved mountains u went into full speed ahead mode, laughs... .its one of your most endearing qualities.. .it truly is one of the things i have always admired about u the most your sense of adventure, your zest for life you know u would just have the best stories to tell and u lived it not many get to do that or can do that obviously u have given this a great deal of thought the real question is do I follow my heart or do i follow my head not an easy decision course all this comes in from a person who has always followed her head smiles... I think u can always fall back on your job that's what i think if worst came to worst so I would have to say follow your dream bet u would have some experiences second to none but ohhhh the wonderful memories . . . .all the what ifs... see that is what is so special about u u don't have a lot of what ifs max and me would think with our heads no question of that u go for it smiles hopes this makes sense to ya get to ramblin laughs.. ..but u get my drift pun intended hugs tell gretchen we said hello

Subj: Of course you're crazy
Date: 3/17/99 12:18:10 AM Eastern Standard Time
From: Taurgon
To: Tropic4644

For some reason that letter sounded like you were trying to justify sailing to yourself. If I were in your position, and in the freedom part, l am, I would carefully map out a financial plan that would let you do it then I would run like the wind to the nearest dock, jump on a boat, and go. You asked, “Is it stupid to throw away all we have now, and go sailing?” Stupid, maybe. Worth doing? Absolutely. I guess you have to ask yourself, will you, in 20 years, be sitting around with your comfortable retirement drinking margaritas and watching beautiful sunsets, wishing that you had seen one from a beach in the middle of somewhere exotic, or will you be somewhere exotic, watching the beautiful native girls frolic nude (Out of the corner of your eye, of course, Gretchen will be there) as the sun sets on a perfect azure ocean. Also, you're not really throwing anything away, if you get tired of the boat, you can always become a landlubber again. You have marketable talents, in any place in the world people need drugs.
I haven't heard you this excited about anything in a long lime, we both know this isn't just a passing fancy. You have the means, the desire, and the ability to make this happen. You said that you wanted to be sure that you were trying to live life at it's fullest, not just trying to escape. Who gives a damn if you are just trying to escape? Why, pray tell, is that a bad thing? I've been “Escaping” my whole life, in a way. I don't have a house, a wife, kids, ect , but damn, the people I've met along the way. I figured it up once, and I've put 180,000 miles on that green van, and probably that again in other vehicles. I have a lot of road under my belt, and a lot of friends to show for it. It was a trade off, but well worth anything I might have missed.
Basically, my advice is this. Get in the damn boat, raise the sail, and head east.


Subj: Actually I can
Date: 3/16/99 6:09:42 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: mrbs@gtnet (Marcella B-S)

answer the question.
For the past several years I've seen two sides of life through people
- those who have taken the risk and don't succeed vs. the ones who
don't take the risk and don't succeed. (No one succeeds without taking risk; and the ones who take the risk and succeed - well - keep reading).
By succeed I mean achieve happiness and satisfaction.
It appears to me that we are what we were when.
It seems that as we grow older we become more what we felt like and dreamed of when we were young. If your dream is from youth it may be the “real” you, and not a reaction at all.
Our memories come from our experiences and relationships.
For those “corporate” CEO's who have experienced risk and success but never had a relationship or burned their relationships in building success never really “experienced” the elation of the risk.
Those who fail, but live through the relationship (memories, friends, etc.) always have something to relive or share- the memories and experiences.
That is our heaven and hell. The feelings and experiences recorded in our being are either those that give us peace, or those that torment us because we were angry and hostile at having been denied. The anger and hostility can come from either alienating people around us, dwelling on our shortcomings and failures or resenting opportunities we could have had but either passed up or someone else “restricted” us with “the rules.”
Remember our conversation about looking at the stars when we were young and wondering what was “out there?”
Resentfulness is born of feeling that we are bound by our surroundings. Whether or not Gretchen shares your dreams or is able to look for the same experience may not be a serious issue. The search is yours.
I can have long, long conversations with people that verge on spiritual exploration (virtual foreplay?) and this is what I have learned when they describe what motivates them.
The people I see waiting to die are those who have encapsulated themselves in the form of their house, annual vacations, and family dinners. Although I have always wished my family was close enough for those “weekends together” and it sure would have been nice to have an occasional babysitter, I sometimes think it was better for me that my family did not “share” my life. That has left me to risk lots of failures and my successes and experiences are my own, I never have to say anything came by “luck” or that I should thank someone else for where I am or what I do. Will you be happy saying “thank you, Kroger" for allowing you to own a house and have security from your Lazy-Boy while you watch 40 channels on your television set? Some people are forever grateful for the opportunity “not” to be challenged. My mother (at 81) is disturbed when cablevision changes the weather station. Change is her enemy - definitely not me.
One of my recent conversations was with a man who had a large construction business that had big problems and he wonders now, if, instead of going to law school, he could have built a bigger business. He had to financially dig the business out and then give it up. He doesn't “feel” the success of finishing law school, or teaching business law at K.U. or building a law practice. He feels the loss of not knowing “if” he could have. . . (so he has to tell everyone about what maybe he could have done .... hmmmm...)
There's my answer. There will always be jobs, especially for positions like pharmacists. But - will you be able to live this part of your life over, or in the future? If you were to remember yourself as you were when - what part do you like most and from what experiences do you derive the most pleasure and satisfaction? Live life for those experiences and not for recognition for having bypassed fantasy and serving your duty. I know some really unhappy people who can't get the opportunity back. I also know men who tell me (now when they're 60) about riding their motorcycle all the way to Alaska. They'll tell you that about the time they reached Oregon they realized they were doing something “foolish” but at least we can sit and laugh.
Those are also the men who have later achieved financial security because they never questioned whether purchases equate to satisfaction.