I’m not sure when it started. I guess it was when I first got to college. Somewhere along the line I stopped making new friends. New people I met became colleagues or acquaintances. Which kind of sucks, because before that I had no problems getting close to people. But the more personal issues I dealt with, the harder it became for me to share and relate. After my dad died of cancer when I was in my late 20’s, it was the final straw. I had my friends that knew me before that, and those people became family. Everyone else, it was just too hard to explain what had changed in me.
I used to have this impenetrable positivity. I believed in the “law of attraction” and that the universe had some sort of plan. But after my dad died and my wife had a miscarriage (in the same year), I was left wondering what went wrong. Did I not believe enough? Did I not ask for help? Was my chakra broken? Was the universe or some god a sadist, trying to see how much pain I could take before I broke? Either way, it was around this time that I decided “fuck the universe, and fuck what people think I should believe”. I decided I would make my own rules, and live by those that made sense within my circumstances.
“Fuck the universe, and fuck what people think I should believe”
Getting out of the darkness
To get myself out of the darkness, I turned to Zen and meditation. I spent my days waking up, and establishing a daily routine, that would hopefully minimize my suffering. The suffering never went away, but I did find ways to dull the pain (that didn't involve alcohol or drugs). I still feel the pain even as I write this. But I’m in a better place now. My life changed. I moved to Japan and live far away from everyone. My friends, my family, all of these things changed.
"Everything changes, nothing remains without change"
I almost lost my wife during the miscarriage, and after losing my dad, I realized that everything around me can be taken away in an instant. This left me for a longing to be around the people I love the most. Instead I did the opposite and pushed everyone away(except for my wife). I decided to put my immediate family first, and moved to Japan so my wife could get affordable infertilty treatment.
Regrets I have but not enough to mention
I don’t regret my decision. Japan has everything my immediate family needs (stable job, healthcare, education). But the trade off is I live in isolation from my close friends and family (cousins,uncles and friends). I still see people, but they will never know the entire story. It’s like they jumped into season 9 of my life, and they can’t seem to figure out what’s going on. I socialize with the people I know in Japan two or three times a year. Everything else has a goal. If I meet someone it’s for work, or martial arts practice. Outside of work and martial arts, the train stops. Everything else is for my wife and daughter. Theres nothing I wouldn't do or sacrifice for them.
Never fully adjusting
My wife was able to adjust to living in Japan because she’s Japanese. But I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing my family every two years, or trying to make close friendships by hanging out twice a year at a Bonenkai(End of year party) or Rainenkai(First of the year party). I know, Japan is busy and I chose to live in isolation (out in the countryside outside of the city). This is part of my path. To anyone reading this thinking this is about you, it isn’t, this is about me. I can’t change my circumstances, and I live a healthy life. I’m grateful that my wife and daughter are taken care of, because of the unique opportunities that Japan has provided me.
I still miss my friends and family. It doesn't help that I went from hanging out with my close friends everyday, to not knowing when I'll see them again. In psychology positive social contact is an important part of mastering your emotions. At the moment I'm living off the other ends of the body budget. I get plenty of the other dimensions of mental health (meditation, exercise, sleep),but I guess I'm selfish and I want the last piece(social interaction and camaraderie). I'm in the process of digging deeper within myself, to get comfortable with what I have, rather than what I have lost. This may take a life time, but it's where I'm at now.
P.S. To my friends in Japan, I appreciate your friendship but this is something I need to deal with myself, and most likely will never be resolved until I go back to California and reunite with my family, nothing can substitute family. To my family you are the world to me, and I am working on slaying my inner demons. Nobody's perfect, even if they studied psychology.
Social Gelo with Angelo
Angelo Ferrer (M.S. Psychology)