Paradise lost....

Several years ago, when I just graduated from college, I thought I had a pretty good picture of where I would be in the future. It was nothing fancy, just basic expectations. I saw myself practicing the profession I aspired to at the time, married to a loving and caring wife, a few kids, financially comfortable but not necessarily wealthy. This was the paradise that I sought to be in then.

Several years down the line, it can be surprising and disappointing to realize that even such basic expectations would prove quite difficult to achieve.

It's not to say that my current lot in life is dismal. It's pretty okay, though some pieces seem to be missing here and there. Since my failed marriage about eleven years ago and its subsequent annulment, I have remained single. I have a teenage son who shuttles back and forth between his mother and me. While I have not succeeded in entering the profession I so wanted to be a part of in the past, I'm gainfully employed. I may not enjoy my job, but it is relatively financially rewarding, and as a result I have saved a little something for a rainy day, paid off most of my debts, and amassed some personal belongings through the years, though nothing of the expensive sort. I have a lot of friends, but very few close ones, and the number of close ones are even diminishing because I have this habit of falling out of friendships, preferring to be by my lonesome.

But it's weird. I'm not a saint, far from it actually, as I have done my share of indiscretions through the years. Nonetheless, I have lived my life always concerned about being honest, a job well done, doing the right thing, being loyal, keeping my word and being fearful of God's retribution should I stray from the path (or karma, if you will).

To be completely honest about doesn't seem to have helped any. Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating dishonesty, mucking about your work, doing the wrong things, disloyalty or breaking your word. In my case at least, it would seem that I haven't gotten much mileage from my own personal philosophies.

Take the past month for example. About a month ago I learned that I failed again in the bar exams. It's not that I slacked off. In fact, I felt that I was very prepared. I have read and understood virtually everything there is to read on the subject, and then some. In a strange twist of fate, despite my preparations, I found myself grasping at straws for answers during the exams itself, which were even more difficult than projected by most. This led to an overall examination with one of the lowest passing rates in recent years. Needless to say, I was among the casualties. I guess I'm just not as intelligent as I would like to think I am.

A month after that, the girl I was wooing for about six weeks or so finally decided let me go. This was the first time in almost ten years that I actually felt this strong about someone else, so I gave it a go. I tried to do everything I was supposed to do, I was honest and frank, I was communicative, I tried to be helpful, caring and considerate. In the end she decided she was probably better off without me. Not that I'm claiming to be God's gift to women, mind you. I only have average looks, I'm slightly (!) overweight, I'm not wealthy, and I have my own share of character flaws. I do know though, that I'm sincere about the way I feel and I take responsibility for the things I do. Unfortunately, this didn't seem to be enough, well, at least for her. She said she wasn't ready, but that really doesn't help my case any. I guess I may have been more of a burden that I thought I was, since I realize I do have that tendency, but what's done is done. I'd like to say that I'm over it now, but I probably won't be, at least for the foreseeable future. What can I say? I was never really good with women.

Two failures in a span of a month. Sometimes I ask myself just how much of this I can take, when all I want to do is to do the right thing.

Several years have now passed from the time I first thought of what I would be in the future. The future has arrived...and sadly, I don't seem to be anywhere near that vision of personal paradise.

I don't want to give up on life, and indeed there are a lot of things that make life worth living. I'm just disappointed that my best efforts have more often than not proven insufficient to get me out of this rut that I have been in for the longest time. Everyone is going somewhere, everyone is getting somewhere, but me? I'm still here, a relic of perhaps some misplaced idealism that really hasn't gotten me anywhere.

I won't stop trying to find my place under the sun, I've promised that to myself a long time ago, and I'll keep that promise until the day I die. I guess it just can't be helped if the search is very times painful...or if it leads to dead ends.


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