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12/30/1999 -- "got plans for New Years?"

My divorce is over now; really, it's pretty much been over for a year or so, with minor uphevals as time went on, but it didn't feel over because of the anticipation of something worse to come. The something worse hasn't happenned.

Now that New Years Eve is here, I notice the result of part of the divorce fallout that had gone unnoticed, covered up by fears of mistreatment of my daughter at my ex's hands, worries about how to afford living expenses, and the general driving forces in my life, moving me from day to day as best I can.

I don't have any friends.

It sounds tragic, and you may imagine me saying it while getting teary, turning away to act like I have something in my eye, but it's not that bad. The reasons that it happened are completely valid, and is part of how I got to where I am.

Without trying to sound full of myself, I believe I have grown beyond the people I used to hang out with. My circle of friends was littered with starving artists, pagans, drug users, and much of the other dregs of society. My friends moved from low-paying job to another, bitching about it all the time, and complaining even worse if they managed to take a step upwards in responsibility. They spent their spare time "having fun", going to movies, drinking, having sex, carousing, and doing little worthwhile. My ex-wife lived that way, and hated the fact that I was a damper on her ability to live that lifestyle. She refused to learn to drive, nver knew how out money situation was, so needed me to go have fun. I was losing interest in that lifestyle. I had good jobs, a daughter to care for, valuable posessions which I loved, a wife and family, and I was beginning to see the things that my parents got out of life.

I actually had gone through a lot of the steps of removing myself from that lifestyle, but I kept getting dragged back in. My ex kept contact with those friends, and other attempts to connect myself with a different type of people only resulted in connections back to the same cliques that I was becoming detatched from.

What finally resulted with the final disconnection was the divorce. Those people weren't drawn back by my wife, or they sided with her since she was more fun than me anyways. I had a few friends left, but they turned out to still have the same character as the rest of the people that bothered me.

The more difficult thing at this time is figuring out exactly what that "same character" is. I hate to say that it's alternative forms of thought, but I like to think that I'm a free-mind, and that would be self-defeating. I think the problem may delve more into activity vs. passivity. Cases where I take action or give way were far different than the people I considered friends. When it came to life decisions, I just 'did.' I avoided bitching as best I could, when something needed to be done, I did it, all in the interest of moving forward. I was interesting in making a life for myself, whereas the free spirits that I hung out with were more interested in having a good time. They did things only if it benefited them. If they asked for something from me, out of kindness I would help as best I could, but things weren't reciprocated if it wasn't a good time or interfered with having fun. Pride was taken in being different, and that difference was emphasized whenever possible. Disdain for society at large was a tenet, and artistic expression was self-gratuitous. The self was the main focus, and anything beyond that was expendable.

But, there are still significant things that I am attracted to in those types of people. I like piercings, tattoos, angry music, drinking in excess, leather, the color black, and the arts. I have a distrust towards dogmatic religions, I can critique fine art & offer up opinions on alternative art forms. Dark dives appeal to me more than the bar in a hotel, country music offends me, and a working knowledge of technology is always a plus. These sort of things are why I put up with my old friends so long...they were able to fulfill the above needs of mine well enough, that I put up with the other crap as long as it allowed me to be involved in that type of lifestyle.

Today, too much of that lifestyle seems out of place for me. I have bigger and better things going on; parenthood, active involvement in Corporate America, family life, lack of roommates, reading. I've tried hanging out with my coworkers, who also have a similar list of important things in their lives, but where my old friends succeeded to fulfill my needs, my current peers fail. They wear Tommy Hilfiger clothes, look forward to Ashley Judd movies, listen to country music, drive SUVs, know little about technology or the arts, and are exceedingly judgemental of the type of person that I used to outwardly be and still consider myself to be internally. They are Christian, they are homophobic, and their attitudes towards the opposite sex are anachronistic. I may be able to identify with them better, but there isn't an 'attraction' (not neccesarily in the sexual sense, but in just an emotional sense) to them or their lifestyle.

I'm often asked what I'm doing for new year's eve, and I say, "I dunno...nothing planned yet." It'd be nice to have someone to hang out with. My daughter is with her mother on New Years Eve, and I don't have to pick her up until the next morning, so I'm pretty much free to do whatever I want. The Bowler, one of the more popular hangouts these days, is a short walking distance from my home. It is rather appealling to walk down there, have some drinks, meet people, flirt, watch the band play, and count down the new year while the ball drops on a TV suspended from the ceiling. It just doesn't overly appeal to me. There is a cavern dividing the things that I need superficially and the things I need in a deeper sense. The other people out carousing at the Bowler may fit the general mold of the type of person that I identify with, but inside they are still kids. They are interested more in who is sleeping with who than how stocks are doing, they could care less how interest on their credit card works, just as long as the card works when they want to buy something, and their lives are made up of connecting points from a fun time to the things you need to do to have a fun time (you must work to earn money to afford to go out with friends). However, the people that _do_ understand those things have a different presence to themselves. They live based on public opinion, they blindly trust the machinery of society, and they don't find fulfillment in doing anything artistic. Both have a certain emptiness, and that emptiness is what I'm trying to avoid.

Somewhere in the world there must be a type of person who meets these yins and yangs in the middle; I don't think I'm perfectly balanced, and I'm not holding my breath for perfectly balanced people. There has to be the type of person out there that I am looking for -- a person who makes their own decisions, has original thoughts, and considers form & function alike. The superficial is an aspect of the whole, and it is all dealt with evenly. Each person's place in society isn't something to be cynical about, but can be taken and used to it's full advantage. I hate to generalize, but I am looking for the place in the middle where Gen X of the 90s and the Yuppies of the 80s meet. You can still have 'upward mobility' without taking yourself so seriously, but if you don't take things seriously and take action, you end up with Gen X cynicism forever.

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