The Beginning of a New Journey

This morning I woke up with tears in my eyes. I had awoken from a very intense dream, the details of which I’ll be attempting to figure out for weeks, but the ending will be one I shall never forget. The dream ended with me holding my newborn baby girl for the first time. She had dark hair, wore a pink onzie, and still had her hospital bracelet on and couldn’t quite keep her eyes open at the late hour. For some reason she could talk. She told me she loved me and gave me little kisses on my cheek while I held her close to me.

This is the first time I’ve dreamt something like this before, and certainly the first time since I heard the beautiful news that I felt the true reality that I am going to be a father. 10 weeks ago my wife and I found out that we were pregnant, after we just started trying. It was a powerful and emotional time for both of us. For her, she had been waiting for this for a long time now. She was meant to be a mother and the look in her eyes on the day we found out filled me with so much love and hope for our future. Myself, I can’t believe I am here in this life where I am now.

Not less than 2 years ago, when I first started this blog, my life seemed completely hopeless. And although I was determined to get back on track and make something of my life, I would never have imagined that I’d be where I am now. My future is bright and I am looking forward to being a father. Yes, it’s been a while since I last wrote a post and a lot of things have happened on my journey. I feel like I’ve become a new man for a while now.

When I first started out to change my life by fighting off my immature tendencies, forgiving my past, and doing what it takes to become a real man, I thought I was doing it for myself. I thought I was doing it so she’d (my wife) would be able to look at me and respect me. Now, almost two years since I began my new path, I’ve realized that my changes were meant so that I can be a better man that my child can depend on.

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Finding Home

Of all of the items still outstanding on The List, this is probably one of the first that I should have already crossed off. Almost a year ago, her and I started living together. If you recall from the previous post, I had already moved in with her and things were looking good in the journey to repair the damage I was responsible for in our relationship.  Our relationship grew from there and we found ourselves again, further to that, when I finally brought up the nerve to propose marriage, she said yes and we had a whirlwind of a time laying the foundation for our marriage which will carry us in to the future.

Obviously, when you are married, it is expected that a husband and wife live together, so that proposal to share our lives together also solidified our intentions to always live with each other too. I’ve always had little issue finding places to live, and by moving in with my love, that task was considered completed,  however my focus has always been to find a home, and although we did live together for several months before we were married, it took some work to change our shared living arrangements in to a home that we share.

We share many of the responsibilities associated with keeping a happy and healthy home. We share the cleaning, cooking (some of it anyway), making repairs and planning maintenance and improvements, and having overall pride in in our living space. We are also very mindful that this building that keeps us protected from the elements, is more than just walls and a place for our stuff, it is a safe, nurturing place, where no matter what may happen with life, we have a place to go to that makes us feel welcome, that makes worries subside, not because of a couch, or a paint colour, but because we know that at home we can be together. This place is potential, with what we can do, and what we will do with our future years and future family.

For my entire life, I had just lived in places and kept my stuff out of the rain. Always unsure when something might happen and I would have to pack everything up again and nomadicly find another place to keep my stuff. But now, I don’t look over my shoulder, I don’t hold on to boxes in case I might need them in 6 months. I have found a place where I can feel free and sure of myself. Not the building, but the concept. Home. Home truly is where the heart is.

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.

Ob La Di, Ob La Da

They say that the only constant thing in life is change. On a daily basis, we are too close to the action to see the small things that are different to notice. But take a step back and see what has happened over a period of time and the changes pop out and smack you in the face! The important part is to not forget to step back and see what has been happening.

I’ve been on a role lately for doing what I am supposed to be doing at this point, working away, saving money, living a better life, but I’ve been a little stagnant when it comes to change. I haven’t been trying to improve anything else, getting stuck in to a routine that is figuratively death for those that are dedicated to change themselves. There should not be a time when you stop the process. Getting in to a routine is easy for humans, habits drive us, but they also get us into trouble as we forget why we were doing something in the first place and just do it.

I have been incredibly happy with my life and proud of myself for making this far already with my change, but there is still plenty of work to be done and I need to be more accountable to myself then I have the last few weeks.  I need to crack that proverbial whip to get back into things and make sure my journey continues.

It is nice to stop and smell the roses, and just enjoy the moment, but I need to stay focused on the big picture. Let’s keep going!!

A Tale of Two Cities

Now that I’ve accepted a new job in a great new city, I need to decide what my next steps are. Fortunately, this new job is not as far as the other offer I was considering so it makes the decision a little less urgent. This new career path is taking me to a very large city but is only about an hour away from me. I know I need to find my own place, but the question is which city do I choose?

I can stay in my current city, where I have a small group of friends and connections, but I also have the anxiety and constant memory of everything that has happened to me over this past year. There are still times where I am afraid to walk around this city in fear of who I might run into. Last night I avoided an establishment I was going to go write at, however I saw that someone I knew was there and I wanted to avoid them. By leaving, I am admitting that I cannot repair the damage I’ve done to my life and I feel like I am quitting. I’ve been here for 8 years and this city feels like my home, even though I am currently isolated.

I can move to the new city, where I will essentially start things fresh. I know a few people that live there already, and there is much more opportunity for building a full happy life. There are plenty of exciting new things to get involved in and many more people I can connect with. No one will know of me when I arrive and I can build myself the way I want to build myself when I am there. I won’t have to take the train every morning, which will give me an additional 4 hours per day to do what I’d like. I’d also be able to better connect with my co-workers by spending time with them outside of work without having to worry about the train schedule.

Cost is not an issue here. Rent in the new city is much higher, but is equal to the cost of rent in my current city with a transit pass. I really just have to decide where I want to call home. My mind right now is siding with the new city. I think it is the best move for me. When I was going over this decision with the other job offer, I decided to move to the new city because I really need that fresh start. I think this will be the same case.

I keep saying to people that I am starting the next chapter of my life, my environment should change too if I am looking to really live a new chapter.

A Fresh Start

After much thought and planning, I’ve decided to go ahead and take the new job in the new city far away from here. It feels like the right move for me. I am giving up on a lot of the challenge of rebuilding here and I am foregoing the opportunity to build my life with her, but there is just too many positives that come with this move that I can’t ignore it. It feels like I am taking the easy way with this but perhaps that’s the whole idea. The right decision should be an easy one to make. There is a whole new world of possibility ahead of me by taking this job and this move will truly give me the fresh start I need to become a man again.

I am terrified about this change of course, this is a very big move for me. I’ve gone to school and lived in this area for almost 8 years now. I’ve had some big ups and obviously some serious downs, so many memories and people that I’ve connected with. But my life has become stagnant here, there seems to be no where else to go, to grow. I’m nothing but a shadow in this city now. In this new city, I can be anything I want to be.

I am excited for this change. I really feel good about it. This is truly a new beginning. I am starting to feel better already.