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.

Getting Those Finances In Order

One of the most disorganized aspects of my life has been my finances. It’s funny, because I used to be very on top of my finances and dedicated to saving and being very prudent with my expenses. In my past I had to deal with a home life where money was always tight and sacrifices were made just so our family could eat. I was terrified about falling into the same traps that my parents fell into when they were younger, and it motivated me to stay organized with my money.

I don’t know when things changed. Possibly when I started making pretty decent money for myself. As my income increased, my urge to spend increased with it. More expensive clothes, more nights out, careless spending on frivolous items. It kept increasing and I never noticed. I just kept making more money so the higher expenses were always covered. Eventually, I had to hit a wall though. I soon discovered that my increased spending habits were disastrous for my future planning. I had dug myself into such a hole that I am now facing and I have no choice but to dig myself out if I want to have a happy and fruitful future.

The finance fix began last night. Although I was aware of a debt or two that had to be covered, I did not have a clear picture of my financial situation and, what I have discovered as a problem for me, if I don’t see it, I don’t deal with it. So to begin things, I ordered my credit reports. Everything that I had neglecting and forgotten showed up and it helped paint a picture of just how much I needed to dig.

It was surprising, and a little sickening, but also a little relieving as now I have something to work with. A number to work down, a goal.  A review of my spending habits over the past year also helped get my mind focused on the right path of getting my finances in order. Although I have been better in controlling my spending over the past year, I still have some of the same issues of trying to reward myself when things are tough by spending when I shouldn’t.

I have a lot of other goals I would like to accomplish. I certainly would like to get married, buy a new car, and of course, have a nice house in my name, but none of those are even possible if I don’t figure out my finances. Neglecting them will do nothing for me but cause more grief down the road. So today it begins. With her help, we are putting together a spending budget, a repayment schedule, a plan to get things back in order. Being a man means being in control of your life. Finances play such a big role in our lives, it is astounding that so many people have issues with it. I am one of them. But not for much longer.

Getting out of debt is not a tricky business, it is all about planning and sacrifice and diligence. I gave her access to all of my finances and I know that will keep me vigilant on my spending. She is my rock and I will do this, thanks to her. Granted, I should have had this taken care of a long time ago, nay, I should never have been in this position to begin with, but what’s done is done, and it’s what I do moving forward that really counts.

The Search For Spiriuality

There are many facets to a complete life. Having family, friends, love, a good job, financial security,and health all contribute to happiness and peace in your life. Although my priorities have shifted over the years, I’ve tried to ensure I had all of these in some proportion in my life. There is one facet though that I personally have ignored for years. Something that others put most of their life energies in to, finding spirituality.

I was raised with a bit of a religious upbringing, but it was never forced upon us and my siblings and I were given the freedom to choose our spiritual direction. The pursuit of knowledge was always mportant to me, so when it came to religion, I looked at it only from an academic perspective and never truly pursueda spiritual path. I never held any ill feelings towards anyone that practiced religion, in fact I celebrated it, though I couldn’t do the same myself. I just didn’t get it and I left it that way for years.

Its funny how the universe provides when you need it most. When I was at my darkest point this year, I found myself looking for direction, for guidance away from the dark path I was walking. I didn’t delve deeply into it, but I did find myself looking for meaning in it all, and it was through religion that I found some solace. I am not going to be admitting here that religion saved my life or that I’ve become horn again or anything, but I will admit that religion has helped me fill a void that I’ve been feeling for a very long time.

I have never been one that likes to blindly follow others, and Ill admit that the rituals and dogma of most organized religions kept me from getting involved in the past. But the words, the teachings, I always found interesting, and the more I immersed myself in them, the more I started to understand. It wasn’t until I went into a church though that I truly started to “get it.”

The first sermon I attended in over 25 years was about redemption, and forgiveness, and that no matter what we have done, if we are truly sorry and repent, we are forgiven. I know most people will say that most sermons are about that and I’m putting too much meaning into it, buy this sermon touched me, the words resonated, without all the religious bloat that turned me off before. I felt that the sermon was meant for me, and it was then that things made more sense.

I am still not a fan of all the rituals and rules of organized religion, but I do enjoy the words and the teachings. I’ve been attending church services now for two months with my girlfriend, and it feels good. I feel whole.

Her

This post has been a long time coming. I’ve had “Get Her Back” on The List since the beginning, and for a long time, I wasn’t sure when to cross it off. In love you never seem to be sure what might happen. You can be as blissful as can be and it can make you blind to things that are around the corner, things that can turn joy in to sadness, happiness in to pain, all at the blink of an eye. Love is a powerful thing. It has turned leaders into beggars, cities into ruins, gold into tin. But it also works the other way.

When I first lost her, I didn’t think I would ever be with her again. I didn’t deserve such a beautiful angel in my life. She was everything, and I was nothing. And worse, I had hurt her. I was not worthy of such an incredible woman. I was devastated beyond belief when we ended our relationship in February, but I accepted it because I felt it was deserving of my actions and behaviour. I wanted to fight so badly to earn her love, respect, and trust back, but I didn’t feel it was my fight to have. But I was wrong.

Love is love. And no matter what happens in life, when you love someone, you love them, no matter what.

Her and I have been on a great path for several months now, and everyday we get stronger. Our lives are quickly forming together and we are planning a future together again. We talk of marriage, of babies, of life 20, 30, 40 years later, and we mean it. I feel secure in our relationship, and I believe in our love for each other.

She has seen me at my worst, and has stood at my side, supporting me, comforting me, loving me.

I am myself in a relationship for the first time ever, and it is her that has brought it out in me. She has been my motivation for many of the changes I have been making. I want to be a better man for her as well as for myself.

Today is an arbitrary day to be doing this, but it is of no matter. I have been feeling this way for quite some time and it is now that I write this post, so today shall be the day. I love her with all of my heart, and her the same, and I feel that we are focused on building a life together and will stick together no matter what comes our way. We are one, love at its best. Love like no other.

Today I cross it off my list, I have earned her love and respect back.

*I also just noticed that this was my 100th post. I am happy it was this one.*