Another Step in the Right Direction

Yesterday I received my first pay cheque in 2 months. Almost exactly 2 months.

I had been out of work since the beginning of February and had been struggling looking for employment. The economy may be on its way up, but it is a very tight job market right now and there is fierce competition. And because of everything else that has been going on, I haven’t been in the right head space to truly focus on that career path.

Three weeks ago I ended up settling and taking a low level job that is nothing more than a means to an end and have been slaving away.

The work is unglamorous and difficult, but It feels good to be back contributing to society, even though I don’t truly respect the position or the work.

But getting that pay cheque yesterday has made me feel so much better. I am being recognized for my sacrifices. Even though it is meagre, I am being rewarded for my toiling, and it feels good.

Another step in the right direction.

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1000 Questions and Answers

I have had to deal with a lot of fall out because of my actions. I hurt a lot of people because of what I had done. But the biggest consequence of my bad decision making was losing her respect and trust. When we started dating, she had opened up to me so quickly and had not a single doubt that we were perfect for each other and meant to be together. And I completely agreed. We were perfect for each other, loved each other unquestionably, and life finally just made sense.

But I was lying to her.

Every day we were together, I was keeping information away from her. I wasn’t sharing with her things about myself. Things I had done, and things I was doing. She was completely in the dark about everything negative that was going on, and when it all finally came out, it was like our life together exploded. She explained it to me best by describing it like we had a terrible car accident. Life was just fine, and suddenly it was a big mess, and it was all my doing.

When she first found out what had been happening (I wasn’t even the one that told her, someone else had to), she calmly broke things off with me. And I completely understood why she had to. It was better for her, and I deserved it. I don’t know why I thought I would have been able to keep everything that was going on from her, eventually it was going to come out anyway and no matter how hard I tried to hide it, it would start affecting us and our relationship. It was almost as bad as my actual misdeeds.

For a month, we had absolutely no contact. I had figured I’d never see her or hear from her again, which again, I understood why. But if you have been keeping up with my posts, you’ll know that about two weeks ago we reconnected and have been talking a bit and trying to repair what has been done.

Despite everything I put this woman through, despite everything she is dealing with now as a result, she still wants to maintain a connection with me and build a relationship. She is the most understanding person I have ever met. I have never seen a level of dedication and commitment to someone like I have with her. She is willing to stick by me as I deal with the remainder of this fall out and is willing to rebuild what I had destroyed. I don’t know what she is thinking long term with us right now (eventually we’ll talk about that, but now is not the time) but from where I stand, this girl is my end. I won’t ever want another woman in my life. I have never felt this strongly for anyone ever before. She is the one and I will do anything I can to make sure she has a happy, secure life. I am going to marry this girl.

Before I do though, we have a lot to work on. The biggest obstacle we have to overcome is building trust. Because I spent so much time keeping the truth from her, she has a hard time believing what I say to be true. I have been guilty of being very selective with answers when she asked me questions and only provided pieces of stories to keep the full truth from her. It is a psychological problem that I am now currently getting treatment for and it is because I am getting this help and actively bettering myself, that she is willing to move forward with me.

One activity she has asked me to take on, is to provide more detailed information about who I am and what I believe. The method is an interesting one. A few months back, she had approached me with a book, entitled “1000 Questions For Couples” A book that is designed to help couples strengthen communication and better understand their partners by answering questions that reveal parts of your personality, and view points on a wide variety of topics. At the time, I scoffed at her, and brushed it off. I felt that this activity was creating too much structure in the courting process and took away a lot of the mystery and excitement in slowly finding out things about each other. She disagreed, but didn’t push the issue.

This time, when she approached me with this book, I had a different view. I had broken our trust, and had been so careful in what I shared with her, that I felt this would be a great way to be able to share who I truly am with her and at the same time, learn more about her. I was scared at first that I would give her answers that I thought she would want to hear, but I was committed to start telling the truth at all times, and provide all bits of information rather then “just enough.”

She sent me the book, and after reading through the questions, I committed to sending her the answers to at least 2 questions a day via email and discussing them and other questions when we would see each other.

The first day was a little tough. As I wrote, the urge to edit my words and tweak my thoughts was very strong. I wanted to send her clean, concise answers that put me in a positive light and would help explain why I was in the situation I was currently in. However, I fought the urge, and continued to write, and I started opening up more and giving more information than was being asked. I didn’t go back and read my post for any reason, and would even leave spelling and grammatical errors, which normally drives me crazy. I didn’t want to be tempted, so I didn’t read back at all until the answers were already sent out to her.

Even after the first day, I felt great about what I was embarking upon, and she felt great reading the answers because she could perceive the honesty in my writing and was learning a lot about me not just through the specific answers I provided, but also the stories and context I would include as well. She was proud of me for taking this task on and treating it with this level of dedication.

As this week progressed, I answered more questions, and found that my answers had been getting more and more detailed and would quickly develop into long stories explaining every nuance of a situation. I would remember things while I wrote as well, things I completely forgot about that until particular moment when I wrote about it. Entire memories were surfacing and I was channelling  them directly into my words for her.

It has been a week now since I started this activity, and I have never felt more free and open. I have been very surprised by how some of my answers formed, and discovered a few things about myself while I had been writing. I actually had a few realizations about myself while answering some of the questions. I’ve noticed as well, that when we met up this past weekend, I have  been able to share more with her, and am finding myself asking her more questions. I want to know everything about her and I want to share everything with her. I don’t want a single secret between us.

It is still difficult in person to share exactly what is on my mind, I don’t like talking about myself and sharing my past, but this exercise is teaching me, and I am able to catch myself when I am only providing part of a thought. This is part of the process though, and I am definitely much better at sharing then I was just one week ago. I’ll chalk up this accomplishment as a combination of therapy and this 1000 Question activity, but if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t see as much progress as I have already as well, I wouldn’t have been able to find the strength to endure any of the consequences of my ordeal. I feel this activity is going to reveal a lot and I am going to learn more about myself during this activity then I probably ever could through years of contemplative thought.

If you are in a committed relationship, I highly recommend that you check out this book and discuss a few of the questions with your partner. You will be amazed at what is revealed.

Lost that Running Feeling

I really miss running first thing in the morning. Where I reluctantly crawl out of bed, grumble while I put on my running gear in the dark, fumble with my MP3 player to find the right song to start my day, shiver when I open the front door and am faced with the morning breeze, wince when I take first hard step out of the door, wheeze when I don’t pace myself and run too fast, focus when I catch my breath and find my pace, smirk when I’ve run several kilometers, grin when I push myself and run 2 more, ache because I’ve pushed myself, slow as I approach my house, pant as I walk through my front door, sigh after I drink some water, smile because I accomplished the run and be proud of myself for beginning my day on a high note.

I wish this “spring” weather would shape up so I could start running outside again.

Creating The To Do List

This blog is all about my journey to get my life back together. To discover the root cause of why I allowed things to get as bad as they did, and ensure that I never let this happen again going forward.

The high level plan was devised a while ago and is reflected by The List. This is a list of my goals that I must achieve in order to call myself a man again. This list of goals I much achieve in order to know that I’ve corrected my mistakes and am building my life the right way.

These goals came to mind fairly easily. In societal terms these are typical goals for anyone. And their execution for success is fairly simple.

For “Finding an Apartment” my actions include: looking for apartments, viewing apartments, applying for apartments, accepting an apartment agreement, and moving into an apartment.

As I work through these goals and I start to add new ones, I am noticing that they are becoming more personal and specific to me. And the more specific or personal the goal, the more detailed the process becomes to achieving it.

Now that I am about to wrap up my list of basic goals, I need to start thinking about how I want to accomplish the next level of goals.

With finding an apartment, the process was essentially a template that everyone uses to find a place to live. However many of my next goals don’t come with a societal template, and the responsibility to build a process falls on me. It is no longer a simple input/output process, I need to figure out what needs to be done for each goal, and outline what actions I’ll need to take.

It is a higher of level of personal organization.

This next step is going to require the preparation of a “To-Do List.” Many people shudder at the thought of such a list because it implies that there is a large amount of work involved. And there is. I can’t half ass this list and really need to put effort into building the smaller steps needed to achieve these next goals. It will be time consuming but it is necessary.

My main concern is whether I am organized enough to start planning these new goals properly. If I am still working through my difficulty with organization, which brought me to the point where my life fell apart to begin with, will my list be effective? I feel like even while I write this post, that my thoughts are jumbled and disjointed.

There is no sense wasting time on worrying though. I should just start the list and improve it as I go along. Action is required.

Rumble in My Tummy

There are so many different things I want to write about. The last few days have been very interesting but I’ve been unable to write because of a lack of time. However, I decided to take a short break from something else I am working on right now to write this post.

I am hungry.

You might think that this is pretty unremarkable, because as people, we kind of need to eat all the time to keep living. Being hungry just means we haven’t had enough people fuel to sustain our level of activity.

It is meaningful to me though, because for the past two months, after everything fell apart, I have had almost no appetite whatsoever. I have been too stressed out and unlike most people, when I am stressed, I can’t eat. It makes me feel sick. For the past two months I have tried and tried to regain my appetite, but have had to force myself to eat. And when I did, they would be small meals at best. Many plates of food were picked at and then wrapped up for future meals. I’ve noticeably lost a substantial amount of weight, and although I am happy that I am more trim, this was not the way I wanted to go about it.

Tonight though, as I work away on some business, I found that my stomach had a little rumble going on. I ignored it for a little while and continued to drink my coffee and water as I usually do when I work. But now, the rumbling is getting stronger and I am feeling the desire to eat something substantial. This, to me, is progress. If I am starting to feel hungry again, then that means my stress level is down. I must be doing something right.

I’ll certainly be writing more this evening. I am in a mood to write. But until then, I’ll be rooting through my kitchen for something tasty.

Tough Things A Man Must Do

The other day I came across an article from AskMen entitled “100 Tough Things Every Man Must Do.” As the name obviously suggests, the article provides a list of 100 things that it is expected that a true man be able to do at least once in their lifetime. Everyone will face challenges in their life time and of course facing tough challenges will always improve you as a person. This list intrigued me because I am on a journey to once again call myself a man, and I wanted to see what items on this list I had already accomplished, and which one’s I might have been avoiding. Some of the items on this list made a lot of sense, such as “Asking your Girlfriend’s Father Permission To Marry” and “Start and Finish a Race”, other items were not so sensible such as “Fire a Gun” or “Get In a Fist Fight.”

Regardless, I read through the whole list and there were a few particular ones that jumped out at me.

Just Jump Already

Although the article is using the literal meaning of the word Jump with this, the message has a wider reach. When something should be done, needs to be done, there is no sense delaying it and staring out over the precipice. You just need to suck it up, face your fear and take the leap already. Yes, it will be scary, and your survival instincts are telling you otherwise, but by taking the jump you are making a definite action that can’t be taken back. Life is more exciting, and more in your control, when you decide to stop just thinking and delaying and finally just act.

Have that weird conversation where you tell your parents you appreciate them

I have had a weird relationship with my parents. It hasn’t been very good over the last 15 years and has actually had some very bad times that even now, haunt our relationship and prevent us from acting like a normal family. But honestly, as I go through this journey and reflect on pretty much everything in my life, I am starting to realize that even though my parents did some horrible things in the past that have most likely contributed to my current situation, it was never their intention. They always meant to do the best for me and actually did a great job teaching me some of the lessons I needed to learn. I am proud of myself for a lot of things I’ve done in my life and I do have my parents to thank for that. I’ve never told them that I truly appreciate them and reading this makes me feel like I should reach out to them and let them know.

Work, No Matter What

Losing my job was just one of the challenges I had to face when everything fell apart. Ever since I was 13 I have been working. It’s been ingrained in me that I always need to be contributing and earning a living, no matter what. When I lost my job, my immediate focus was to find work, any work. I didn’t care what I had to be doing, but I needed to be doing something. I’ve never understood people who have been able to enjoy when they’ve been unemployed because without some form of contribution to your family or society, what are you doing? Although my current job is not glamorous, it is a job, and is producing an income, and is allowing me to put my life back together. For that I am grateful. Even in your darkest hours, if you have work to do, you can create your own sense of accomplishment. And that feeling can go a long way to motivating you do continue to achieve greatness.

I recommend you check out the entire article and see how many you feel help define you as a man person. The full article can be found on the AskMen website.