Welcome to the year 2020!
In retrospect, the year 2019 is, at the moment, remarkably easy for me to look back on. As with other past years, each of us (some more than others) have experienced various degrees of “highs and lows” or, as some may call it, various aspects of positives and negatives in our respective lives. Trumpism, crazy-ass U.S. congressional antics (which, in my view would include all political parties, lobbyists, and interests), and 2020 presidential campaign nonsense aside, in 2019 I got to enjoy some things and endure and/or suffer through a host of other things (such as a short rollercoaster ride of ill health issues).
One of the worst things I endured in 2019 was facing my first year of not having my mom, Helen Mae Tucker around on this plane of existence for me to call to talk and joke with and wish “Happy Mother’s Day”. Mother’s Day 2019 without my mom was both unhappy and unusually weird for me. That special day came the day after my birthday. I remember being bummed out for that entire weekend. Helen… or “Mom”, as I always respectfully called her, had been my fourth and last foster mother. She was a very good and loving person who was deeply loved and highly respected not only by her family, friends, and neighbors, but by countless others in the immediate community in which she lived, in the church in which she served, and throughout many areas in the city of Philadelphia. Helen Tucker… Mom, when she lived, was a widowed mother with three biological kids of her own: two sons – who both had served in Vietnam, and one daughter who was two years older than me when my younger brother Steven (now long since deceased) and I came to live in her peaceful home in mid-summer 1974. Mom had also raised one foster daughter who, at the time when Steven and I arrived, was already grown and about to be married, and several other foster boys between the early 1960s through 1974. Steven and I would be the last two boys she kindly took into her care.
I must note that every foster child Mom raised was a child who was loved, respected, and treated equally as a genuine member of the Tucker Family. In the Tucker home, throughout the large Tucker family of relatives nationwide, by the community, by fellow church members, and certainly by our teachers in the West Philadelphia schools that we kids attended, Mom was well known and respected for raising and having raised a family of sons and daughters (and we kids considered each other siblings of each other) – not a family of foster children. And oh how I dearly felt and treasured that love and respect! In fact, I’m quite certain that I never once heard spoken nor saw the words “foster” or “foster child” used by anyone either in or out of Mom’s house.
When what would have been Mom’s ninety-ninth (99th) birthday this past September 18th, I forced myself to let slide the fact it was her birthday. I did that because I was still in mourning over her passing and knew that very soon after her birthday, the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas, as well as the first anniversary of her transition (December 27, 2019), would soon follow and I’d have to again painfully deal with missing my mom during those periods. If you’ve lost a loving parent – particularly one or both whom you loved deeply and dearly in return, then you completely understand what I was mentally and emotionally going through.
Anyway, moving on ….
The year 2019 was yet another full period of me failing to meet and befriend new people with whom I could become friends and also failing to meet someone special for me. By “someone special for me”, I’m talking about meeting a person who I could see first as a potential friend and, as the weeks and months passed, would get to know and perhaps come to like (with the hope that she or he would come to like me in return), eventually date and perhaps the two of us become emotionally and intimately involved. It’s been twelve years since my divorce and each year – hell, each month, I feel lonelier than the year and the immediate month before. *sigh*
While I’m on the subject of dating, it’s often suggested to me that the “best way” to find people to potentially befriend and date is via some of those online dating apps or dating websites. Ha! Yeah, right. When I consider the number of fickle, fake, and/or superficial people I often encounter on electronic social media, I’m not inclined to chance wasting not only my money but my energy and valuable time too, as I visually rake through the virtual identity profiles of people featured on those dating apps/websites who I happened to find attractive and think interesting. I’m simply concerned that I may find and select someone on a dating app/website whose personal criteria are found to be to my liking but then, upon our first face-to-face meeting, learn that person’s profile is proven to be exaggerated or worse, unreal or untrue.
You see, at my age, having the experience of more than fifty years of pre-internet and pre-electronic social media human-to-human interaction, I’m quite “old school” and particular about meeting people who might become my friends and/or someone to date (and/or have sex) in the immediate so-called “real world” – not in cyberspace. It’s in the so-called real world where that person and me – upon our immediate shared-airspace meeting, can and will develop our respective perceptions and assessments of each other. That’s something that can’t be done easily by one merely looking at a photo or video nor by reading a brief (?) social media dating app/website bio or profile description. And so, as of this writing (because I want to be flexible since my attitude may later change about the matter), I’m not [yet] mentally ready nor am I willing to try online dating apps. I simply cannot see myself using them. I also don’t know anyone who is or who has actually used a dating app or dating website; someone I trust who could help guide me through such things. I also do not know anyone who could share with me their own good and/or bad experiences with dating apps/websites. However, if and when my attitude changes about using dating apps/websites and I decide to “put myself out there” in cyberspace in that sort of way, then perhaps I’ll talk about my experience on this blog. Stay tuned!
Aging for a male adult can be a peculiar thing; at least that’s been my experience during the ten years I’ve spent in my fifties. Perhaps I feel the way I do because I live alone, am single (and have been for twelve years) and I feel… alone. Since passing the age of fifty-five several years ago I’ve noticed how I’ve been becoming increasingly aware of my mortality. Sometimes I actually do indeed feel as if I have – as the expression goes, one foot in the grave, so to speak. I won’t deny how thoughts of getting deathly ill or dying sometimes depress me. The good thing is that I know that I need to change my attitude about turning sixty in the next five months. I also take some comfort in knowing that many men – particularly those who manage well their health and stress levels, happen to live to be well into their sixties, seventies, and eighties. A number of healthy elder men are also living well into their nineties! I’ve often said that if my health stays as well as it is today (meaning, that it remains reasonably well for a middle-aged Black man who doesn’t smoke, rarely drinks, manages well his health, diet, stress levels, sexual proclivities, et al), then I could hope to live to see my nineties too.
I suppose the reason why I fear entering my sixties – and getting older from that point, is because I don’t want to suddenly get terribly ill and/or die alone and unhappy. At the moment and for the past several years, all I’ve felt is mere contentment; I don’t have a sense of full or complete happiness. I haven’t felt fully and truly happy about much of anything in more than twelve years. Sure; there have been and there are certain things which make me happy to some small extent, and there are and have been things or situations which cause me to smile and laugh. Over the years of my middle-aged adult life, I’ve learned not to be so hard on myself (as I used to be during and between my teen years and late forties). I’ve also: learned how to either ignore or reject certain things which I can do nothing about, have gotten much better at saying no to those things I’ve been asked to do but really don’t want to do much less have any involvement with, and saying no to and/or denying things to people who, in my perception or previous experience with them, don’t have my best interest at heart. To this day, I continue having moments when I laugh at myself for saying or doing silly things. I also still often talk out loud to myself when I’m alone. I talk to myself because hearing my thoughts in spoken form rather than keeping them silent in my head is, in its own strange and perhaps crazy way, quite therapeutic for me. (Perhaps a few readers can relate to this.)
Sometimes at the end of a day, when I’m alone in my thoughts, either while driving in my car or am sitting in my quiet humble home, I remember that I am not happy with my life at this point. I simply am not feeling happy the way I used to be and used to feel during my youth. I’m not feeling happy the way I did during the early and mid-years of my then-marriage which lasted only eighteen years. And I’m not feeling happy the way I did during the entire twenty years I spent serving in the U.S. Navy. Anyway, I spent much of the past year (2019) doing certain things and planning how to change my attitude for the better. I have been slowly working on finding ways and doing only those things which will either make me very happy or bring me some permanent degree of happiness and satisfaction. I need happiness and I want to be happy and want to feel happy so badly! I’ve learned that in this life, no matter what anyone says or does for you, no one can actually make you happy per se. Each of us has to seek out or work on that particular aspect of life all on our own; and so, I am.
Let me close this blog article with a statement I posted recently on both Facebook and Twitter:
Mind you, I neither wish to be nor seem negative. I’m simply expressing my truth and being real (as usual on this blog) about how I feel about a possible personal future. I’d say that the word melancholy best describes how I’ve been feeling.
I’m hoping that this year… 2020 – assuming that I live to see all of it, will bring me good health (being the most important), financial prosperity (which is so greatly needed!), and fortune in finding, making, and mutual nurturing new friendships – especially a friendship on the emotionally intimate level; someone for and with whom I can develop, nurture, and have a healthy and strong degree of respect, love, trust, and commitment. I don’t think that’s asking or expecting too much of Fate.
I hope everyone reading this article will have a very safe, prosperous, happy and enjoyable 2020!
– RobFather X