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5:21 p.m. - March 08, 2003
It's time to go, he says, but not quite yet
Cried earlier and if it was good, I donít know. Feeling the descent gain speed and mind over matter as effective as everything else I do to occupy my thoughts, which is to say momentarily successful but short-changed in the long run. Iím happy, Iím happy, Iím happy I can repeat and occasionally fool myself. Regardless, this upswing was a scam, one of those futile efforts like sending in a late bill but predating the check: No one is fooled and the late fees still apply.

Today I worked with people who have known me for my entire life, was specially requested by the recipient of an award to interpret for her acceptance speech at a fancy gala and so many people came up to me and said You look so good or Howís Stanford? or Remember when you and my son would fight or Weíve always been proud of you, one of our own becoming famous. And I can laugh like the devil, I can play the part well and fit in, I can clap people on the back and tell quick, funny stories, I can be the center of attention, I can belong. But itís all fake, itís me saying you must and I do, but itís not authentic, itís not me. The real me is the guy sitting at the computer now, indecisive and sad for no reason, the one who cannot devise a list of goals short- and long-term beyond Be happy. I want so much more for and from my life than what I have now and the rub is that I have what many want but not what I want. I own a home, soon to buy another, I have plenty of money in the bank, I am debt-free (other than my mortgage, which is paid through until December 2003), I have a job I enjoy, I attend one of the finest universities in the world and am highly regarded there by colleagues and professors, Iíve written a book and all this doesnít satisfy. It doesnít make me happy, doesnít make me think I have cause to smile and let loose a bit.

I feel like Iím dying of loneliness. Of all things that stand out in my musings, itís this sudden realization that I want people in my life. Ever since I was a child it was the opposite; I would shield myself behind arrogance and aloofness and feel safe knowing I only depended on myself, nobody knew how to cause disarray. How easy to write people off, dismiss interest, discourage attempts to get to know me. And how well I mastered the skill of being a condescending jerk, make you feel my inferior. What I wanted was to be impervious and that is what Iíve got and it is only now that I see the end of the road before me and it is lonely. Itís as if Iíve just learned the word and seen how it applies to me and dislike what I see.

I have no idea how to be friendly and open and genuine. How absurd is that? But itís true. I donít know how to be me. I donít know who the hell I am anymore.

The impulse is to run and it is a strong one. To stop writing in this journal because frankly, my writing sucks and I dislike being reminded that I donít walk on water. To discontinue what limited correspondence I have with readers because truly, how pathetic is this online connection when in real life these conversations would never occur? To go on a road trip. To dive back into work and writing and research, write more articles and take pleasure in being fully automated. Write books. Deliver presentations or keynote addresses at conferences. How easy to hide again and amid doing everything, forget that Iím ill at ease.

How did things deteriorate to this?

How did this happen?

 

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