Masochistic Perceptions, Trials and Truths

These are my cyberfied cerebral synapses ricocheting off reality as I perceive it: thoughts, opinions, passions, rants, art and poetry...

Saturday, October 28, 2006


Looking out my window at the snow that’s been falling since yesterday, feeling like my health is returning as I’m mid-way through my second course of antibiotics prescribed for the bronchial infection that’s plagued me for a month now, words from Shakespeare come to mind: “Now is the winter of our discontent”.

I feel like I am at some sort of crossroad in my life. A large part of this is due to my recent career change as I have made the transition from Correctional Officer to Teacher. Being less than two months from my 38th birthday also has something to do with it. Slop onto the pile one of my best friends being operated on for prostate cancer this past week, my Mom’s battle against breast cancer this past year, parenthood, ten years of marriage, the onset of my least favourite season and my usual intense forays into literature, one has the complete pallet from which my mind’s canvass is painted and awaiting interpretation.

My career change is the cause for many emotions. For example, I find myself shying away from many of the activities I began as a Correctional Officer of a pugilistic nature. My interest in Buddhism and a desire to obtain the combative tools necessary for survival in a Maximum Security Prison lead me into the Martial Arts where I trained in Judo, Kali, Taekwondo and finally Boxing (which I am still training in). Then, the other week (as mentioned in a previous entry on my Blog), I was watching the UFC and found myself repulsed by the whole thing – absolutely disgusted. Perhaps it was my state of mind, influenced by being sick, I thought to myself. Yet still, I have no desire to watch UFC and am questioning whether I want to continue on in Boxing. I still enjoy Boxing as most of it is working out with a skipping rope and bags, and it’s great for fitness. Light sparring still appeals as well. In spite of this, I still find myself asking whether or not I care to continue.

My lack of enthusiasm seems to be permeating through training in general. I went with my dogs for an easy 45 minute run through the snow earlier today, but my motivation to do so or even to go to the gym is waning. I think part of my lack of motivation is underlined by the fact that, when I get ill, I tend to get very ill (again, see my earlier missive for the number of times I’ve ended up in the hospital due to flu, etc.). I am so frustrated by the fact that I eat healthy foods, do holistic practises like Yoga and meditation, take supplements for preventative purposes drink in moderation and still get sick more often than most and with considerably more intensity. Further to this, in the past two years two of my friends in their mid 40’s were diagnosed with prostate cancer. My good friend who had surgery this past week is a model of health – non-smoker, tri-athlete, etc. A few years back, another dear friend of mine was treated for breast cancer in her mid 20’s – she was a non-smoker and had no family history of the disease. Honestly, though one can’t deny the logic that things like smoking are harmful, you really have to wonder if our health is more of a predisposition as opposed to a reaction to vice and diet.

Changing careers back into Teaching has been fairly smooth, though it is difficult to do so at my age. The hardest part is dealing with policy makers who are attempting to take the art of Teaching and make it into a science. The main gripe of most teachers is that we are constantly being asked to do more but without being given the resources to do so. Teachers are nothing special in this regard as my colleagues and I in Corrections were asked to do the same, as is the Canadian Military over in Afghanistan. It’s amazing that the government funds a classroom of 30 students for $30,000 per year, yet spends an average of $120,000 per inmate in a federal maximum security prison. In any case, you see the same thing in many professions, so teachers needn’t be the only ones complaining. I guess that my main complaint is that I feel like I’ve been in the trenches and on the front lines for my entire career and have been fighting the battle of balancing the job at hand with the ideologues who constantly trickle down their latest great idea based on what their research shows. Did we not learn anything from Communism – a great policy on paper but, when released upon the masses, results in a monster.

Perhaps I’m weary of jumping through hoops. Certainly, the continuation of my contract is a significant stress upon me, in addition to learning curriculum and dealing with latest idea trickling down from the Superintendent. I guess, by 38, I kind of hoped I would have had most of my dues paid as opposed to be just starting out.

Teaching has caused me to make my way back into my artistic headspace as I find myself being strongly pulled into my desires to pursue the creative. The problem is finding the time and resources to do this. I’m spent after a day of teaching, coupled with the demands of being a husband and a Father. I’m nobody special in this regard, but I am also not the type to be contented in sitting in front of the television with my feet up after a long day. A friend of mine asked me recently what ten things I’d like to do before I die, and I couldn’t answer. Part of this is because I could probably list a multitude of areas, each packed with aspirations: travel, music, writing, reading, sports, etc. Again, time, money and the onset of aging don’t permit most of this. What does that say about life if you can’t find time to live?

The winter of our discontent” indeed.


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