Being A Gentleman

One of the many different blogs I have come across to help find motivation and guidance during my journey has been The Fierce Gentleman. Its a blog dedicated to helping men become real, honest to goodness gentleman. And provides a thorough, and quite impressive, Fierce Gentleman Manifesto to help keep their vision on track.

There was one post this morning that I read that really stuck with me. Talking about the 10 Qualities that Make a Fierce Gentleman, this post provided a detailed list of just what it takes to be a Gentleman. All of the items were bang on with what a Gentleman is comprised of, and most of these I am working on, or planning to work on after the priorities are taken care of.

They were all great, but the one that impacted me the most was number 5:  “He has done, and is doing, his work.” 

Summarily, this item mentions that a Fierce Gentleman is always improving himself in every aspect of his life, whether it be physical, mental, emotional, financial, social, sexual, or spiritual. It mentions that a Fierce Gentleman should not be afraid to consult experts and seek help when pursuing these improvements. I couldn’t agree more.

This is the journey I am on now, and although I felt right when I started pursuing it, it is always good to find qualification on my plan from another source.

I am continuing my journey, making it a part of each and every day. I feel that something has changed today. There is something new, that wasn’t inside of me before. Something that has recommitted me to my journey and motivated me to tackle every aspect of myself that I am not happy with. I feel I can do this.

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Home is where the Heart Is

For the past 8 years I have moved around a lot. For the past 8 years I have moved my belongings in and out of different places. For the past 8 years, I’ve lived with many different people. For the past 8 years, I have not felt like I have had a home.

Constantly changing circumstances in my life over the last 8 years kept me in a state of shelter flux. Where I would find a place to live that suited my current lifestyle, then usually before the year was out, I’d need or want to move on to something else that better suited my new situation. Even before I started living out on my own, my family would move regularly, almost once a year as well, as financial situations changed. I guess I just got used to moving regularly. It continued for so long that I completely lost the feeling of being “home.” I could never plant my feet and start growing roots anywhere because I was never sure what would be happening in the near future.

It made me feel anxious and disconnected all the time. It was like a piece of my identity was missing. I always had a place to live and keep my stuff, but it never felt completely safe, never felt like it was my place, just a temporary spot to sleep until the next thing came along. With every new place I moved in to, I wondered if this might finally be the place where I get to rest and understand what it means to be home again. But every time, just when I thought I was getting comfortable, things would change, and I’d be moving somewhere else.

Near the beginning of this year, I experienced what it meant to truly be homeless. To actually not have a place to keep my own things or even sleep. It was terrible, and after that night, I knew that things had to change. My desire for home became stronger than ever.

I’ve already talked about staying at my friend’s house during the most difficult part of this past year, and although it was shelter, it was not home. I swore to myself that I would find a place, but even when searching for an apartment, I was still looking for a temporary solution, for something that would just get me out of my friend’s house. All that would have changed was that I would be staying with strangers instead of a friend. I thought about moving back in with my parents, several times, but the idea was just too humiliating. I couldn’t regress that much on my journey. Not if I wanted to be able to find myself back on the right path.

When I contemplated leaving this city for a job (and potential career), I envisioned a life there, with my own place, building my identity again, all because I had a place to call my home. Those plans of course changed when her and I started seeing each other again. Then, I started to envision a different life, with a home closer to my love, with thoughts of one day, perhaps building our lives together and merging them into one.

However, that seemed like a pipe dream at that point. I was just fortunate enough that she wanted to talk to me again, let alone think about planning a life with me.

Life has a funny way of working though. After some time, we actually did start planning a life together again and focusing on our future, together. Though I didn’t expect things to move as quickly as they have, I never imagined I would be today where I am now.

For the past 3 weeks, her and I have been living together, officially, and it has been wonderful. She has been terrific in opening up her house to me and sharing her space. Slowly, I am bringing more of myself into her house, and we are building a home together.  Day by day, I am feeling more comfortable living under the same roof, taking care of things that need to be taken care of, feeling more responsible for my surroundings, knowing that this is my living space too. The fear of having to move some place else is fading with each night that we go to bed together and the joy of planting roots greets me every morning when I wake up beside her.

After countless years, I am starting to regain that feeling of warmth and safety of a home. But it is more than the four walls and the roof that make me feel the way I do. It is not the couch that I can sit down on and and relax, nor the bookshelf that holds all of my books. It is not the closet where we hang our clothes, or the bathroom where I make myself pretty every day. She has played a big part in helping me find what I have been missing for so many years. Today I can cross off another item on my list.

She is what is making me feel home.

Last Nail Out of the Coffin

As I was going through all of the issues I had brought upon myself over the previous years, I imagined each one as a nail in my eventual coffin. Each nail representing all the stress and hardship I had put on myself because of my past actions. The end result being, quite literally, my death. Fortunately, I was saved before going that far, and I have been working hard at removing each one of those nails from that pine box in my mind.

Today, I tackled the final nail that was holding the coffin closed. I made steps today to settle the last issue of my previous misdeeds. This issue has been hanging over my head the longest and to be completely honest, was probably the catalyst for everything else that I’ve done wrong over the past 3 years. This issue shouldn’t have been left as long as it had, but fortunately, those involved were patient and it allowed me to tackle the more pressing matters first. I still have work to do to clear this up, but I made a very big step and implemented the plan that will settle this matter once and for all.

I feel much lighter than I did yesterday, and I have renewed sense of purpose and motivation to continue improving myself. I am happy that I am stepping up and doing what needs to be done.

We all make mistakes, its what we do after that defines us.

Feel Good to Look Good

One of the things I know that have slipped during my downfall and my present journey to becoming a man, has been a lapse in my focus towards my appearance. I used to always take meticulous care with my hygiene, always wore fresh, pressed, crisp clothing, clean shaven, and and perfect (in my opinion) hair.

Over the past few months, my attention to detail with myself has definitely been lacklustre. I’ve put of shaving for 3, sometimes 4 days until I look scruffy, I don’t seem to care about what I wear anymore, just throwing on whatever clothing I can reach in my closet, or from the top of my laundry pile, which may or may not have been done that week, I shower every other day now, and my hair has been a disaster.

To be blunt, I look like crap compared to myself a year ago. I compared a picture of myself from one year ago to what I look like today and I was very surprised by the result. I looked tired, older, slightly dishevelled,  and clearly disorganized.

I mentioned before that one of the first things to go when you are going through depression and rough patches in your life is your fitness. Well, I just realized that your appearance follows suit as well. I’ve been neglecting my outward image and although it isn’t a priority at the moment, it does take a toll on my personality and overall wellbeing.

I need to look good to feel good. I don’t need others to comment on my appearance to sustain my confidence, but I do need to be impressed by what I see in the mirror to feel confident, and right now I don’t.

I’ve got the tools, I’ve got the experience, I’ve got the skills. I just need to get back into it. I need to get back into paying more attention to my outward appearance and let it slowly sink into my inward feelings.

Look the part to feel the part.

Writing My Own Eulogy

As part of my journey to help find myself, it was suggested to me, by more than a few sources, that the best way to find out what you truly want in life, those long, long, long term goals that we spend our entire lives striving to achieve, is to write what you hope to be said about you at your own funeral. The idea creeped me out at first. Thinking that far ahead (I hope) about my life and what I had (want) to have achieved. I’ve always had long term goals in mind, but never have I ever thought of them in this type of context. I figured I’d give it a try though, and see what the end result was.

To begin, I imagined a great hall, beautifully decorated, in my favourite style and colours. Dim lights, save for a spotlight on a modest lectern and of course, my personal box housing me. As I visualized the room, I looked around to see all of my friends, family, business associates, acquaintances, past lovers, future family, and even those who didn’t like me very much, all out in the crowd, sitting, waiting to hear about the summary of my life.

At first, as I hovered my hands over the keyboard, I froze. I had absolutely no idea what to write. But I really started thinking about the future, and envisioned what I thought I would be like and what I would have done in 60 years from now. Despite any mistakes I had made up to my current point in life, 60 years later is a long time to fill and as I sat there, an entire life started to unfold around me. Almost to the point where I couldn’t keep my typing up with my thoughts.

I wrote about my successes and failures, my relationships, and the family I had built, the organizations I aided and developed. I found that I could visualize all of my triumphs, and even the sadness I might expect in those 6 decades. I touched on the mistakes I had already made and how they shaped me into the man I was on my deathbed. The one that was well respected, and loved by many. I wrote about my children that have not yet been born, and their grandchildren. I talked about my wife and the love we shared for so many years and how it helped me find my way.

It was a cathartic release to open up to myself about what I envisioned my life to be. For many things I wrote, I didn’t even know I wanted to do, or I didn’t really have an idea I wanted to go that far with it. When I was done, I had in front of me a summary of a life I would be proud to have lived. But also, I had a set of goals, of primary aims that I wanted to achieve in my life time.

I’ve since written these primary aims down, and now, I begin the work of building plans on how to achieve these life long goals. I’ve never looked this far out in my life before, but it feels good, and I look forward to building the life that I have had only a glimpse of so far. I am looking forward to continuing this journey, a little less blind than I have been, to be the man that I want to be.