Why being alone is a good thing

Today while taking a brisk walk around the business park where I work, listening to a podcast, I had a thought about being alone.  I realized that when a really big life event such as a break up, divorce, or death occurs being alone can be a GOOD thing.

I’ve come face to face with my strengths, weaknesses, flaws, desires and how I can leverage all of them regardless of whether they’re perceived as “good” or “bad”.

The time you spend with yourself serves as a reminder who you really are.  For me this meant recognizing the little bits of me that I lost, or really just kind of lost focus of.  I’m not saying that I didn’t know who I was, but I absolutely lost sight of my authentic self.  I bent over backwards to try and help someone who seemed lost, to the point where it started to pull me down with them.

At this point you may be wondering what things I’ve re-discovered about myself?

I am a charismatic people person who’s also deeply introspective, empathetic to a fault,  and self deprecating.  (just typing that made me feel douchey…)  I’ve realized that this helps bring people together, but could also be used to convince people to carry out my agenda.  Don’t worry though, I promise I only use my powers for good!!!

I’m an optimist who wants the best for EVERYONE, but I feel it deeply and personally when someone is hurt or fails.  If those people fail, I feel like I’ve failed too.

I ABSOLUTELY LOVE to fix things.  Whether it’s a physically tangible inanimate object, or someone’s emotional/physical/spiritual problems… I just wanna help, but I gotta learn not to take on other people’s baggage.  While it’s great to share most experiences in life, some are better left to yourself.

The inverse of some of these trains is that I can be a little bit of a control freak.  I’m “type A” mixed with a naturally anxious/panicky personality.  This was very bluntly pointed out to me in therapy, but I also recognize how this may have affected my previous marriage.

This desire to plan is a form of control that I’ve used to minimize my anxiety.  A great deal of time after my divorce I learned that a HUGE part of my anxiety was a response to the bad things going on in my relationship.  I’ve always wondered if any of that control and anxiety further contributed to the relationship problems.  Oh well, doesn’t matter now!

At this point you’re probably thinking this guy is quite the shit show…  🙂

But!!!! There’s more!

I’ve also learned that I love fixing myself.  I started going to the gym.  I started dieting, which became a new normal for me with my nutrition.  I’ve chosen to shoulder less of other people’s burdens.

I am forcing myself to not take negative comments or actions against me personally.  I try to do this by identifying what influence caused the person to do or say it in the first place.

I speak with intention, and try to be as direct and sincere as possible.

I share my thoughts and feelings freely.  I am not afraid to give a compliment, because I only give them if I mean it.  There is enough negativity out there, so why not be a conduit for positivity?

I quickly recognize and squash unspoken expectations I’ve put on others.  I’ll only share them if they’re reasonable and truly important to me.

In my future relationships I will remain one of two separate people who choose to share our individual lives with each other, not try to mesh almost every aspect of our lives together.

Finally, I will only pursue someone that pursue’s me back, because what’s the point of being with someone if they don’t truly desire to be with you too?

So, after all of that rambling I must address when being alone is a bad thing…

If you’re lonely, and you’re having trouble finding joy, whether it be in the little things or your favorite hobby, then maybe you shouldn’t be alone at that moment.

Call your friends.  Call your family.  Get outside.  Go to where people are.  Keep busy.  Find a repetitive trivial task.  See your therapist.  Get some exercise.  Just don’t allow yourself to wallow for too long, nothing good ever comes of it.

–Chris

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I’ve found my tribe

This last week was the Thanksgiving holiday and it’s common to reflect on what you’re thankful for in your life over the previous year.

As we’ve established on this blog, the last year was a trying one to say the least…

So, what am I thankful for this year?

All of the wonderful people that have allowed me to pull them into my circle and/or let me into theirs.  The pre-existing friendships that have been solidified, and the new ones that I’ve forged have been the crux of my emotional recovery.

All of my friends have seemingly come from the gym I go to.  These friends allow me to challenge them daily and reciprocate by pushing me to give 100% every time I’m there.  We build each other up, and make each other believe that we can accomplish anythig.  We come up with silly modifications that make exercises more challenging, if not entertaining…  There’s flirty interactions, flattering comments, pats on the ass, heart emojis, deep thoughts born out of reflection and pure emotions, and the occasional casual wink in passing between friends.

I am excited about my prospects for the future.  It looks bright, and I’m ready for whatever the hell is coming my way.  Bring it on life, because I plan on making you my bitch!

Clarity, often sought after, seldom found…

Over the last week I’ve been participating in a meditation challenge brought on by a friend in my fitness world.  She threw it out to her internet friends to join her journey and I obliged.

My own personal experience with meditation is most closely related to breathing exercises I’ve done to combat anxiety and panic attacks, but I’ve never done “meditation” before.  The first couple of days were a little awkward, but left me feeling focused and energized to take on my work day.  Yesterday was my fifth day of meditation, and what I experienced was something of a breakthrough.  I reached out to friends that I value and let them know they are some of my favorite people.  I told them very directly that they’re cared for, and that I want them to take care of themselves so they’re around for a very long time.  I told them I have confidence in them.  I told them that whatever their challenges are right now, I knew they would be triumphant.

I also realized that I will absolutely forgive my ex-wife one day for everything that happened.  I don’t think that will be soon, but I know I will one day.

Yet another thing I realized is that I am well under way to filling the hole left in my life with new friends, experiences, and family.  Figuring out what’s most important to you and filling that gap with it is the single most healing thing you can do after the loss of someone significant in your life.

My final thought is this.

I want to live with intention.  For me this consists of having goals for personal growth  and to always work on them.  I will not be shy about telling people how I feel or giving them praise.  There’s enough negativity in this world and in our lives.  Plus, I’d love to be complimented by others.  If someone else were living this way and regularly told me what they like about me they’d quickly become one of my favorite people! 🙂

I guess it all comes back around to one of the first rules you’re taught in life.

Treat others as you’d like to be treated.

Taking stock

I recently made a post on social media that received a decent amount of attention from my friends.  I had been really hard on myself for the last few weeks because I lost sight of my personal goals.  I had a couple small injuries in the gym that caused me to slow down on my fitness, I wasn’t eating the way I should, and I was consuming way more beer that I was okay with.  I think it’s important to point out with that last comment that I am not an alcoholic and I do not have a problem with over consumption.  I personally feel that if I am going to be successful in my weight, strength, and overall body composition goals I should drink almost no alcohol.  This is a tough thing for me as I am THE definition of a beer lover, some may even say a snob, but I prefer connoisseur.  I was doing a lot of self talk that was very counterproductive.  If I stepped on the scale and saw a number 3 lbs heavier than I liked I really beat myself up about it.

This Wednesday, everything changed…

I decided to grab a mocha on the way in to work that morning.  One of my favorite local coffee shops is on my way in, and there is a muffin there that I am complete sucker for.  The amount of people waiting to get their drinks almost made me turn around and get back in the car but I came all this way, so I was getting that damn mocha!

Lately, in a situation like this I would grab my phone and waste some time browsing social media or something equally deplorable.  This day though, like many others over the last week, I decided to observe my surroundings and be in the moment instead of burying my face in my phone.  As I people watched I overheard the barista say, “Ahhh shoot, well at least I made it into something.”.  The other barista said, “Oh my gosh, that is so cute!”.  A few seconds later my drink was called out and I walked over to the bar.  This is what I found.

IMG_20181017_080849
This was exactly what I needed at exactly the right time.

This little smiley face completely flipped the script on my attitude.  For some reason, this little tiny act made me realize how hyper focused I was on negativity.  I’ve been so wrapped up in things like, should I date, stuff with my ex-wife, missing my daughter when she’s gone for five days, not saving enough money, etc…

NO MORE! It is time for me to slow down and enjoy the little moments.  It’s time for me to love myself.  I need to relax more often.  I need to refocus on taking care of me again.  I MUST work on making myself happy because I’m the only one responsible for it.

One part of this story that’s missing is I had been course correcting over the past few weeks.  I have told many people about my plans, because accountability is huge.  I was taking my lunch to work more often, because the food I bring is healthy and it saves me a TON of money.  I also booked a trip to visit my friends that live in Amsterdam.  They’ve been in Europe for a few years, and while part of the blame for not ever visiting lies in my failed marriage, I could have gone and visited if I really felt strongly enough about it.

So… here is to putting yourself first, to trying to live the fullest life you can as often as possible, to slowing down and taking stock of all the little things!  I hate to put something like YOLO here, but it’s true… You only live once.

❤ Chris

Original social media post below…

I’ve been really hard on myself lately. I’ve been doing this fitness thing for a year and a half, and I’m still not where I want to be.

I’ve lost sight of my goals. I don’t see what I’ve already achieved. I’ve half way fallen off the wagon on my diet lately, and I’ve honestly been doing a lot of negative self talk lately…

I was reminded today that if you don’t pay attention to the little things it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the big negative things.

It’s time to renew my focus on myself.

I am responsible for making me happy.

No more negativity!

I will recognize my progress, and remember that I’m never done improving!

All of this because someone took a second to put a little smiley face in my coffee this morning. It is indeed the little things in life that matter.

I am going to crush Wednesday!

Not bad… Not bad at all.

Things have been going pretty decent lately.  I had my daughter with me for an extra day when my ex had a work commitment, she learned to do the monkey bars on her own, and I’ve recovered from the strained calf muscle that plagued me for about two weeks.

Things having to do with my ex haven’t bugged me nearly as much lately, which is a welcome change.  There’s literally nothing I can do about that situation except focus on doing what’s best for me and the kiddo.

I recently went out for a quick bite and a few beers with some of the guys, which is always great.  Often the subject veers towards women and home life which is really just the guy equivalent of girl talk and is harmless.  We’re always respectful and it’s amusing when you get insight into your friend’s home and personal lives.

It’s these conversations that made me realize I have friends at just about every stage of their life.  I’m in newly divorced single guy limbo, there’s a friend who’s about 2 years ahead of me and dating again, a happily married friend, and one that’s having some trouble at home.  Life is definitely cyclical.  One day I’ll heal and move on… and dare I say I think I’m actually starting to feel it.

Are you happy?

I was having a downer kind of day yesterday…  Just blah.

I watched my pride and joy walk away to her first day of kindergarten.  It was a happy, bittersweet, tear free moment for me.  I was prepared for this moment.  I am confident that we’ve raised a child who is intelligent, funny, and considerate of others.

I was not prepared for sitting around the house for a half hour with my ex-wife, and then spending another 45 minutes doing the first day drop off with her.  There’s something about being around her that subtracts from my feeling of contentment.  Like I just get sucked back in to thoughts and feelings I’ve been trying to leave behind.

There are other things that added to the “downer” feeling.  I’ve had a nagging discomfort from overdoing it at the gym last week which has taken a few gym days away from me.  I’m not where I want to be in my physical fitness, which is usually what I see when I look in the mirror.  I have a desire to meet new people but at the same time I’m kind of fearing it.

I think I’m just afraid of getting hurt again, and afraid of all the uncertainty of how a single dad picks things up and starts over.  What would a new family look like this time around?  Do I even want that?  What do I want?

On the bright side, there are things I do have control of in my life.  I am aware of these things and I can start changing them right now.  I can clean up my diet and get it back in line with my physical goals.  I can add a new hobby to my life, if it’s not too expensive.  I could try to meet other people and just really take my time… I’m not in any kind of hurry.

More thoughts to come!

Just, blah…

The ex-wife keeps taking our daughter around her significant other.  I try not to judge because I don’t see everything, but I wish she’d think a little more about how the sudden absence of this guy could affect our child if things didn’t work out.  Of course there’s always the possibility that things do work out, and then I’m stuck hearing/dealing with this guy forever… Let’s cross our fingers on that one!  *end sarcasm*

I keep hearing about him from my daughter.  I try not to let it bug me, and I put on a smile for her.  I listen, respond, and try to keep the conversation about him as short as possible.

Then there’s the tough bedtimes of my daughter crying, telling me she misses Mom and wishes we were both here.  I wish we were both here too, but only for my daughter’s sake, not for mine…  I don’t love whoever this woman is, she definitely isn’t the person I married.

Have you ever wished time would speed up and slow down all at once?  That’s kinda where I’m at with all this.  I’d love for everyone to be mostly over it, but then a couple of the really quality little kid years would be gone as well.

Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

It’ll get better, it’s already a lot better than it used to be.  I just get really irked when I see my daughter upset and it’s her own Mom that caused it.

End rant.