Everything Will Be Ok… Or Will It?

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It’s a sentiment we’ve all heard at some point in our lives. I’m sure it’s something a lot of us have even said. Probably to someone in great pain or suffering. In a time of anguish.

Thing is, if it is said to you, the thought, the question, that probably went through your head was ‘Will it?’, ‘Is it ever going to be?’.

When you hear those words your state of mind is probably such that things being ‘ok’ couldn’t be further from the truth. Either you are not ‘ok’, or the situation isn’t, and at that time, in that place, you might feel that the only way things would be ‘ok’ were if you weren’t there. That you were somewhere, anywhere, far away from all that pain and suffering.

The good news is that sentiment is actually true. The bad news is that it will take two things. Something that you can do something about…and something you can’t. Those things are time and effort.

Of course this isn’t what you want to hear, especially in the moment those words are said to you. Why should you care about time and effort when your heart is on the floor, trampled by a thousand hooves, shredded into multiple pieces, and then dumped into an abyss. Causing you nothing but pain.

Time, (oh how much we despise this one), as the cliché goes, is a great healer. Not the best, but it works. But how much time? When will you feel better? No one can answer that. It sucks. Trust me I know.

The thing you can do something about is effort. Any effort is good enough. In the beginning maybe it’s just getting out of bed and facing your day. That’s great. It’s the biggest most important step of all. In time (oh no that again) you can build on that. Any movement will help.

It might just mean putting effort into acceptance. Cultivating the right attitude towards your problem. Accepting what you can’t change, or accepting that it is your responsibility to change that which you can.

Look, as harsh as this sounds, if you are in the position that someone is telling you everything will be ok. I am truly sorry for the terrible position you feel yourself to be in. But there is no escaping it. There’s no secret door to an easy way out. No free pass. You have to live with it, and continue to do so. Things will never be the same, but when are they anyway? The world is constantly changing, as are the people that inhabit it.

You will probably feel a hole in yourself so big you’ll wish it could swallow you. There might be a tightness in your chest that makes it almost impossible to breathe. A tightness that physically hurts. Tears will flow, uncontrollably. You will feel lost, alone, like on a single ship in a storm. And in that time all you can do is tie yourself to the mast. Strap in and hold on tight. Hold on for all your worth.

It will pass. It will get easier. It will get better. The storm will subside, the pain lessen. Little by little, bit by bit. Over time (its a persistent so and so). But again, the reality is a mark will be left. A deep cut always leaves a scar. But it’s a scar from a wound that has been healed.

I guess I’m just trying to let you know what I see and have experienced as truth. Sometimes life really isn’t easy, or fair. Sometimes we have to endure things we don’t want to. Sometimes it is just too much and all you can do is crumble, be broken.

But please, hold on, grab whatever good you can see with both hands. Put yourself together again. Rebuild yourself stronger than before. Have a little faith in yourself if no one else.

Look, anyone who ever read any of my posts will tell you. Yes, I am always trying to be better, improve upon myself, shine a little light into the dark, inspire, elevate, grow. But I am not always that way. I’m not one of these people that constantly wears a smile. I’m not the type of person to hide behind a facade of false positivity. Yes, when I am feeling it and the way seems clear, I will be shouting it from the rooftops, but likewise, when I am low and struggling, I will show you that to. That’s reality. No one is ‘on’ all the time and if they say otherwise I would assume they are lying. We all have our yin and yang, or light and dark sides. Can be positive and negative.

But I am telling you this now because I believe it to be true. And I am not just saying it to you, but to myself as well. It’s what the title of this post really should have been. Everything will be ok!

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Wasted Love

You might not have guessed it, but I have written 3 blog posts this week. They are 3 posts dealing with inspiration, growth, finding time and not excuses. Three posts you may, or may not, see.

You might think why? To that I would answer there is one reason, and one reason only. It’s the reason I feel a bit deflated, the reason why I feel a bit low, the reason I am struggling to think the thoughts that I know are best for me. Thing is, I can’t write or post things I don’t feel at that moment. That would be untrue. The reason then? It’s best summed up in 4 words. I miss my wife.

This simple fact has been troubling me for days. I have seen her almost every day since last Thursday. I have even been dreaming about her just as much. I cannot avoid her in life or in sleep. And I am finding that very hard.

I know she’s gone. Never coming back. I know I’ve only myself to blame. There is no resentment, no hate. I just can’t stop thinking about her.

Every piece of advice I read or listen to about getting over a break up all say the same thing. You need distance. Stop calling them, stop texting. Cut them out of your life.

That’s not an option for me. Not when I know I’m the one who can help her with the fractured relationship she has with our son. He needs her. She needs him. I need them both to be whole. A son needs his mother. But it doesn’t help me.

Right now I am being consumed. As it’s the school holidays she is coming to the house to look after him while I go to work. She’s here in the morning when I leave. Here when I return. And even though our boy may be away out playing with his friends she still hangs around. Just talking about things like she would with any friend.

I am keenly aware that the path to improvement is far from smooth. Inspiration, elevation, can falter. Dealing with separation on top of that means deep lonely thoughts can come flickering through. This time I just can’t stop them. My head is sore from the strain. Low from the loneliness.

The reason I am telling you this is so you can see that no matter your best intentions, sometimes it is a struggle. The path isn’t always clear, the skies not always blue. And I’m maybe hoping that by writing this down it will help me let go. Maybe a day will come where I’ll be embarrassed about how I felt. How I let her unknowingly affect me so. Maybe that day isn’t too far away. Who knows?

I guess I’m really missing love. The love only a partner can provide. The love that makes you feel you are not alone. The love that makes your house a home.

The worst of it is I don’t think I will ever have that again. I don’t think I can ever let my heart be so open to exposure, give it to another single soul. Oh I have love for other people, and of course my son. But I don’t think I can give myself to just one person. At this time I don’t even want to.

True love is a rare, beautiful thing. I’ve had my chance. Through ignorance and selfish stupidity I let it go to waste. I have to live with that. Be more accepting in time.

But today, right now, I’m even finding the words difficult to write. I miss my wife.

Milestone (A Weight Around Your Neck?)

Milestone. The Oxford dictionary defines milestone as ‘a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place’ or ‘a significant stage or event in the development of something’.

People use them all the time, drug addicts (ahem), alcoholics,  basically people trying to quit things. They are used as a benchmark. Marking that point in time where you’ve said enough is enough. This stops here. And we usually look upon them as some sort of positive thing. But are they really something to remember or just an unneccesary weight around your neck? Even the word itself sounds heavy.

Of course they are also used in remembrance of something good like how long you’ve been married, or that first time you met a loved one, or a birthday. But as this journey is about being better, which obviously implies letting go of bad habits, bad attitudes, I am going to focus on the former.

You see, given the week that it was, I have unfortunately been pondering a certain milestone that is arriving next month. The 1 year anniversary of the day my wife left. The day when all this really began.

The thing is I actually don’t know what date it was. Of course I could figure it out if I wanted to. It was a couple of weeks before our 10th anniversary, near my father’s birthday. But I don’t want to. I don’t want that milestone to remember. It’s bad enough knowing what month it happened in. I don’t need it to be anymore concrete than that. I don’t want to be going to bed the night before worrying about the day that was coming or waking up that morning to that depressive thought.

That set me thinking. When anyone is trying to quit something, be it drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, they like to mark their journey and when they hit a certain milestone it gives them cause for celebration. I understand that. It’s the celebration of a goal. A badge of honour.

At the same time however if they falter, if they fail, even once, that clock, that measurement, has been reset. Now how hard would that be to deal with? Especially if it was after one week, one month, one year. In fact, the longer and greater the milestone the greater the fall.

So what if the answer was to not have any milestones at all? People in recovery are often told to ‘live one day at a time’. It’s a saying attributed to the Alcoholics Anonymous and their ‘Big Book’. Often told to help a person through a specifically bad day. To be present in that moment and not worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Some would argue that true recovery takes much more than that and you must look ahead also.

For example. Similar to not knowing what specific date my ‘wife’ left on, I do not know what date I stopped smoking marijuana. After 20 odd years, I just stopped. I didn’t want to turn it into a big event. I don’t even want to remember when it was. It’s good enough for me to know I just don’t need that in my life anymore.

If I think about smoking again, I will just let that thought go. But if I did slip, and that is a massive if, I wouldn’t beat myself up too much about it. I wouldn’t be worried about the fact I was ‘clean’ for so long. I wouldn’t worry about whatever milestone I had achieved. It would only be one day, almost the same as any other day, with its challenges, trials and tribulations. A day that would pass and be followed by me setting out to try my best again.

It’s not just the negative things I have taken this approach to. I haven’t made a record of when I started exercising regularly either, when I started on this journey of being better. I don’t even want to. The reason being I actually think it’s pointless. I don’t need to know when I started to improve. I’m just glad I did and will continue to do so.

The way I see it is, yes, one day at a time is the way to go. But it’s not one day more where you muddle through, just get by. It’s one day where you try that little bit harder, be a little bit better, improve on who you were the day before. It’s not an extra day of stagnation or backward movement. It’s a day of forward movement, of progression.

And if you have setback, or lose your way slightly, then it’s only one day. No big event, no big disaster, no big letdown. It’s just one day that will be followed by another. Another fresh new day at that.

So if you are happy with your milestones, good for you. It’s whatever works after all and that’s the most important thing. If that goal, that measurement, keeps you going, keeps you pushing forward. Great. Hold onto that.

But for me, I don’t need them. I don’t need these reminders (Unlike others. See: A Reminder). They are just a heavy burden to bear. It’s enough for me to know I’m still travelling, still moving, on this path to being better.

And if I have a set back, so be it, it’s no big deal. I just make sure I’ll try that bit harder the next day and not worry about an extra weight around my neck, a greater sense of failure, just for having some notion over a date in time.

 

Why It’s Never Too Late

We often hear or read the sentiment that ‘it’s never too late’. It was the first thing I mentioned in the first post of this blog detailing my path towards being better (See From Loser To Legend). I had actually said that I was hoping it wasn’t too late. My reasoning being that obviously there are some things a 43-year-old cannot achieve, primarily things of a physical nature. Like a reformed pothead is not going to win the olympics for example, unless there’s an olympics for joint rolling :/

But this post, which now may seem slightly hypocritical to some but which I view as a sign of growth, is going to tell you that indeed it is never too late. But more importantly, I’m going to tell you why.

Look, technically, if everyone lived to old age, I am closer to death than you. I have less time left to achieve my goals, my dreams. I have less time than you. Especially if you are in your teens, 20s or 30s, and feeling like you’ve missed your chance, or never had one, or don’t think you ever will.

I, like a lot of people, am doing a job I would rather not be doing in a small factory, bending aluminium to make aircraft seats. (But which I still do to the best of my ability. Reason being whatever you are currently doing you must put your best effort into it. It helps cultivate the right attitude. The infamous boxer Muhammad Ali once said: “If I were a garbage man, I’d be the world’s greatest garbage man! I’d pick up more garbage and faster than anyone else has ever seen.” He was telling us something important about attitude).

My ‘wife’ left me almost a year ago. My son is suffering from emotional turmoil because of that. I am hanging on by a thread financially. I’m reaping what I’ve sown.

Truthfully I have never really achieved anything. The reason being as I always took the easy path. Easy doesn’t get you anywhere by the way and never will.

Thing is, despite all this, despite the fact that on paper there are plenty of people who would view me as a bit of a loser. I have never been happier. Oh I have some real tough moments in my life, some real challenges, with no doubt more to come. But now I am ready for them. I have dedicated myself to being better in an all-round sense. A better father, a better friend, a better employee. I am constantly working on my physical and mental well-being. Working on achieving the things I want to achieve. I am still a long way off but that’s ok.

But the reason why I now believe that it is definitely never too late is because that ‘lateness’ doesn’t necessarily apply to your goals. What you want to achieve? Where you want to be in your life? It’s about getting yourself in that right state of mind. The state of mind that puts you, and keeps you, on the right path.

Look, goals and achievements are good things, great things. It’s important to have something to strive for, to move towards. But they are not the be all and end all. The reality is you can only ever live in the here and now. And in the here and now, with the right frame of mind, the right attitude, you can be a positive force for good. An inspiration to yourself and the people you meet.

So if you’re out there and you’re feeling lost, feeling that it is too late, I’m begging you, I implore you, find your strength, find your courage, realise what you want to achieve and start working towards it. Because it’s all about being on the right road, having the right frame of mind. Attitude can be developed, persistence grown. No one is more important to this world than yourself. Why sell yourself short?

So I’ll repeat this one more time. It’s simple. There’s no hoping this time. It’s a statement of fact that is true for each and every one of us. It’s never too late.

 

 

 

 

 

A Reminder

Anyone out there trying to deal with difficulties, whether self-inflicted or not, can attest to just how difficult it can sometimes be. Especially when your emotions are driving you more than your mind. In those times it helps to have a few reminders.

Reminders can put you back on the right path, make you realise why you have chosen that path in the first place, and why you wanted off the one you used to tread. They can come from anywhere. Yourself, family, friends, or even strangers on the internet! It doesn’t matter because once they get to you, trigger that impulse in your mind. They will have done the job you needed them to do.

I was fortunate today to have had such a reminder. It helped me to remember why I started my quest for self-improvement in the first place, why I have to persevere no matter what, and the attitude I must employ to keep that reality, well, real.

For anybody who read the mess I, and my son, were in (See: Torn Asunder) yesterday you will see it was a most difficult day. I was losing sight, blinded by emotions, not thinking straight, and just wishing for a change and the day to end. That change came this morning thanks to a friendly insight. And from someone I don’t even know. It provided the reminder I needed.

The lovely Gina (Blog: Singledust  alifelesslivedblog.wordpress.com) had told me in a comment that her family had went through something similar and that her kids later confided in her that they felt they could cope better if she was happy and in control of things. This sparked a memory.

The initial months after my ‘wife’ had left my household was very sombre. My boy and I were desperately sad and we were missing his mother so much. It was a dull, depressing atmosphere.

I realised one day that whilst my boy was suffering, I was making it worse. We were feeding off each other, dragging each other down. I’m his father, the one he looks to for comfort, security, happiness, love. And I wasn’t providing enough of it. I determined to myself that this had to change. I had to change. I had to be strong, be positive, lift him up. And I have, for the most part.

Reading Gina’s comment this morning as I was having my breakfast gave me the reminder I needed. It wasn’t long after that my son and I were both running around the house, carrying on, play fighting. The smile was back on his face. His sadness forgotten, at least for that moment.

Even writing this now is bringing a tear to my eye. Gina, if you are reading this, you will never know how eternally grateful I am that you shared that with me. I wish I could look you in the eye and thank you in person. You helped me get back on track, get where I needed to be for my son. There is no greater gift I could receive. Thank you!

That first reminder lifted the fog and as my day passed my own reminders came flooding through. The clarity of why I am doing all this, why I am trying to be better. The steps I must continue to make for the benefit of my son, and his relationship with his mother.

I reminded myself of how far I’ve come. How that even though I struggled yesterday I didn’t even think of smoking dope. I reminded myself that I still did the things a parent must do.

Sometimes all we need is a little kick-start. A little reminder of why we do what we do. I hope that anyone out there who is having their own struggles is fortunate to get their reminders too.

 

Torn Asunder

As we all know life can be filled with wonder. There are times of joy and bliss. Times when the way is all too clear. This is not one of those times.

If you’ve read any of my posts you will see I am all about trying to be positive, trying to improve, trying to find the best way forward. Trying to be better.

Right now, however, my emotions are running high. Fuelled with hurt, frustration and anger. I’m desperately trying to find the right path to take, the right approach to a problem. But my heart and my mind are being torn asunder. Even trying to write this post I feel disjointed, uneasy. Like trying to drive through a thick red fog.

In my last post (Corners and Curveballs) I talked about my son being ill and I unwell, and the possible ramifications we might face because of that. Well, that was yesterday. Today has been much worse.

It started quite normal. I had to visit a dentist at 8:50am so I had to take my son with me. I phoned his school and my work to inform them we would be running late. That was fine. The visit went well. My boy was even laughing after as one side of my face was wrinkle free and my smile lopsided.

When we got home and I got changed for work his demeanor darkened. He still wasn’t 100 percent from the bug he had but I knew that wasn’t it. In fact, I knew all too well what it was as I’ve seen that change in him many times over the past 10 months. He was missing his mum. Thinking about his hurt. How he feels she has left him.

As soon as we got into the car he burst into tears. I tried to console him, feeling helpless, whilst at the same time being oh so conscious of how we can’t be missing this day at school or work. We sat in the car for over 45 mins with his sobs going from mild to uncontrollable. Even though it was cutting through me and my heart was breaking I knew we couldn’t do this, not again. The risks it presents growing ever so much larger.

Then his mum was on the phone: “Has he went to school?”. Once told, I got the same reactions as always, the same obvious statements that I am keenly aware off: “He has to go in”, “The Educational Welfare Officer must be called”, “I’m coming to take him in”. When he heard this it only exasperated the situation and made him more frantic. (A few weeks ago he had said he never wants her to take him to, or pick him up from, school). I tried to remain calm, the stresses still building. I said I would call later and hung up the phone.

I spoke calmly to my boy. I needed him to be strong. We would walk in together across the playground hand in hand. No one will be any the wiser, no one else involved. Mercifully he agreed amidst the sobs. I kept him talking on the way, talked some more as we entered the school. Measuring my words. I could see he was teetering on a verge, but his courage saved us. At least for today.

When I picked him up after and he got in the car the first thing he asked was if mummy was calling this evening. I said that was up to him. The reply was swift. He had decided even before the question was asked. “No”.

We didn’t go straight home. I wanted to treat him. So we drove to an ice-cream place he is fond off, at a seaside town some miles up the road.

When we arrived home there was a text from his mum asking if she could see him this evening. I replied no. Then it was a question of why? At this stage we were doing his homework. So I was trying to help with that as I also tried to be supportive to his obviously saddened mum. As this was happening he then told me how they had to make hearts in school today and how he did his with an angry face on it. Then he showed me a poem he had written (See below). They had to write about love. And it almost broke me.

So I’m feeling upset and sad for my boy. As his mother sends me texts with her woes. How she feels lost and can’t do anything but wrongs. I tell her my heart and my head are fighting a battle, that I’m almost ready to break. Of course I’ll help in trying to fix their relationship. But I cannot make up for her failings. I can’t listen to how she is feeling. My son’s heart is broken and mine too. I can’t make room for the one who cast me aside, cast us aside.

This evening I’ve noticed I have had my face in my hands a lot. A lot of exasperated breaths are being released. I’m fighting with myself. Fighting for control. I have to keep doing what is right. I’m just struggling right now with what that might be. What’s right for him? What’s right for me?

I’m feeling overwhelmed and want to sooth his soul. Let him know it will be alright. But some holes I cannot fill.

So I look at the poem, the word nice purposely misspelt (It’s a meme he likes) and I know to me it is directed. But the last line is the most telling of all.

Thing is, when I am on this quest of being better, and have looked at my failings and failures, and see the steps I must take. That’s easier. I know how to fix me. But when it comes to my boy and his mother I am at a loss.

This is one of those times I just don’t have an answer, and I’m telling you all to show how things don’t always run smooth. Sometimes we don’t know what to do or if there is a right solution? But things always change so I’m holding on for a change right now. Hopefully a change in the right direction.

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Corners And Curveballs

When you make a post and hit publish I would hazard a guess that for most people, including myself, your mind has a little empty moment. All those thoughts that were swirling around got put down, the canvas wiped clean, and that tiny fear of what next comes creeping back in. But then somewhere a spark ignites, a flutter of a butterfly’s wings, and it’s off you go again.

Yesterday was one of those times, and even better. The spark became a fire, the flutter a typhoon, and my head was swimming with inspiration. Ideas were coming to me so fast I was struggling to get them written down, afraid I would forget an important word.

I was looking forward to the chance to get them written up. I had even sneaked out of bed last night when my son was asleep to get a piece written, at least on paper. I was filled with ideas of hope, enthusiasm, inspiration. Moments from my progressive journey that might help others as they have helped myself. How I have seen my mindset changing, and continually so. Even the difference between me now, and me 4 weeks ago.

But, as in this journey of life, a blind corner appeared. Instead of going straight the ball curved away. It reminded me of that infamous, contentious boxer Mike Tyson: “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth”.

See, it’s 9:25am. I am sitting in my work clothes on the sofa in the living room. My boy is currently laying across the rest of it. He wasn’t well all weekend and this morning he had no interest in eating his breakfast. He loves his food, admittedly more than I, and when he doesn’t want any it’s a sure sign something is up. He’s been running a temperature, has a sore throat and an upset tummy. There is a bug going around at the moment so I am not too worried and have taken the appropriate steps. I know he’ll be fine. It’s just one of those things.

The problem is, as I have said in previous posts (See: Don’t Let Your Mind be Your Enemy and From Loser to Legend), his attendance is being very closely monitored and I am on a written warning from work regarding the same issue. This has all been due to the fallout of his mum and I’s separation. We are on a very fine line that only seems to be getting finer.

I am expecting some fallout from this. Unlike before I am not going to concern myself with the unknown, the possible repercussions. They will be dealt with as they are faced. Because right now, I am right where I need to be, where he needs me to be. Right by his side. (Obviously with a pen and paper).

I might be on a path of self-improvement, trying to be better for him and myself, but it would be an empty path if he wasn’t with me. So for now my only concern is my boy getting better. The rest of the world can wait.

P.s.    You wouldn’t have guessed it but I have also been facing my challenges today as I too am dosed to the high heavens. My temperature is up, my head and throat sore, my stomach aches. But like every other single parent out there you must push on. There’s no time to wallow. No one to fall back on except yourself. You have to be your own rock.

I will admit to having a few moments. Moments where I missed the comfort and security from my soon-to-be ex-wife. That bit of extra support. Moments where I too just wanted to lay down and not have to worry and be looked after. Moments where I would read about people talking about love (As it’s that time of year) and feel that empty spot in my heart. Little challenges which have been surmounted.

Thankfully by now (It’s 7:13pm) my boy is well on the mend. His temperature settled, his appetite back. That’s the most important thing after all!