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.

Annual Progress

With 2014 right around the corner, my excitement is growing as I start to really reflect on the overall progress I’ve made this past year. There have been a lot….A LOT of changes and I am looking forward to comparing my life to where I was on January 1, 2013 and where I will stand on January 1, 2014. I am already amazed at the changes I have been able to make and look forward to continuing this journey.

I am a better person than I was 12 months ago. And the journey continues.

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.

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.