My Story (Part 4)

Mark and Nuala, 2009

I was 25 when I first arrived in Japan after an epic land journey. That’s an age by which manhood should, in theory, be fully attained and embraced, and indeed the journey had included romantic encounters and adventures that seemed to fit the narrative of my now being an adult, properly grown up. But looking back at it now, even including the last few decades, the entire structure of my so-called adult life has been built on somewhat shaky psychological foundations.

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Happy New Year! (PS. Dad, I love you)

Dad, I love you!

First of all, I’d like to wish anyone reading this a very Happy New Year. I hope the year ahead will be one filled with love, laughter, challenges well met and opportunities seized.

It feels a bit trite to be writing that kind of standard new year’s message when we are surrounded and bombarded daily with crises of all sorts, but I think it’s important to remember that just because the world seems to be going to hell in a handbasket, that’s no excuse not to focus on making our own little corner of the world a better place.

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Where was I?

Five Rhythms

Life’s big distractions come in many shapes and forms. Some of them are challenging, like a change of job; some are joyful, like a new addition to the family; and some are grim, like a medical emergency or a death in the family. In my case, the distractions haven’t been anything too dramatic, and in various ways they have been both difficult and pleasant.

The less pleasant issue has been a second bout of adhesive capsulitis, more commonly known as frozen shoulder. Having had it in my right shoulder a few years ago, I’m familiar with how it progresses and how long it usually takes to heal. So, while I know that it most likely will eventually heal, the constant nagging ache and occasional excruciating stabs of pain have just worn me down over the last few months. Even with pain killers and heat patches, it’s disturbed my sleep, made me wary of even simple things like getting dressed or reaching for the salt with my left hand. It’s interrupted what had become a steady, regular practice of daily exercise. It’s been a bummer.

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My Story (Part 3)

With my father at The Enterprise pub, 1986

I ended the last “episode” with a reference to my immaturity at the time that I went to college in my late teens, and that sense of not having properly, formally grown up has stayed with me ever since. I’ll sometimes have a vague feeling, something like what is these days called imposter syndrome, as if I’m a child who has somehow managed to wangle a seat at the adult’s table. Over the years, I’ve put it down to the idea of never having experienced the rite of passage from childhood into adulthood, the initiation and transition from boy to man.

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My Story (Part 2)

I have a terrible memory for most things. I marvel at friends who can remember every day, date and detail of events from decades ago, when I can barely remember what I did last week. What bothers me in particular is the extent to which I seem to have forgotten about my youth. I have certain episodes that I “remember,” but more in the repeated telling of them than in actual, clear, playback-in-my-head memories. When I meet up with old friends whose memories are more reliable, I find myself being corrected on how things really happened.

So, with that caveat out of the way, here’s how I remember my early teenage years.

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