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.

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.

The right choice is never easy…

Sometimes I wonder to myself if others regularly amuse themselves as often as I do?

Over the last few weeks I’ve experienced a resurgence of feelings about whether or not “I made the right decision”.  I guess this is a common feeling that many recently divorced people experience so I’m not alone, but still, did I make the right decision?  Can you ever really be sure?

After reflecting on how things went down over the last year of my marriage and the aftermath of said marriage I’m pretty sure the answer is yes.  It’s just that having a child with someone makes you mull over your decisions that much more.  It’s not just about whether you’re happy or whether things can be repaired.  Once you have a kid, life isn’t just about you anymore.  Now there’s a completely innocent being you’re responsible for who’s life is pretty much 100% out of their control.  You’re making huge decisions FOR them about what kind of home they grow up in, and these decisions have a profound impact on their development.  So of course I’d second guess myself!  One of the traits I’m most proud of is my desire to do the right thing, always.

The few choices I was able to make, no matter how hard, were absolutely the right choice.  The fact that I’m struggling with how everything shook out and the way I feel about it is my proof.

The one line in the sand I drew in our marriage was crossed.  There was the year of lies, of me doubting my own thoughts and feelings, and much of it I was strung along with just enough hope to think things could maybe work themselves out.  No one should be treated that way, ever.  I respect myself enough to stand with my convictions and make the hard choice when it’s presented.

So, returning to my earlier question though…  Is everyone amused with themselves as often as I am?  My guess is… probably.  🙂

This is the part where I start to amuse myself.  I’ve been asked for relationship/marital advice by a few friends recently.  When they ponder giving up and taking the easy way out, guess what my advice is?  Make the hard choice!  Sometimes the hard choice is leaving, sometimes it’s staying, and most of the time it’s rolling your damn sleeves up and putting in the freaking work!  Every time someone makes the wrong choice and let’s you down, it was probably the easy one.  Don’t be like them!


All the feels

First off, I feel like I should go over the custody schedule we’ve setup for our daughter before I ramble on too much.  My ex and I observe a 5-2-2-5 custody schedule.  I always have our daughter Mon/Tues nights, my ex has Wed/Thurs nights, and we alternate Fri/Sat/Sun.  Our exchange occurs at school/child care, and we usually provide a courtesy text or email to update the other parent about any new behaviors, when she last bathed, etc… Now, on to the feels.

There’s this thing that I’ve been struggling with for the last month or two.  When my daughter and I have our longer stretch of time together and we have to say goodbye on that last day we both struggle with it.  It’s even harder on me if we had a spectacular five days together, or if we spent most of the time traveling and didn’t have a last day to relax and unwind together. On more than one occasion I have driven away with a tear or two leaking out. Any other day of the week I’d say goodbye, see you after school, and we go our separate ways with no incident.

My daughter simply refuses to let me go when I drop her off at school, which makes it even harder for me to keep composed.  I can see in my child’s face that she is having complex feelings, but either she doesn’t know how to articulate them, or she just chooses not to.

The rest of that day I’ll experience a feeling that I am not fond or proud of…  I GET MAD.

I’m mad at my ex for making the decisions she did.  I’m mad that I didn’t have a choice in just about any of this.  I’m mad that her decisions have taken away half the days I’d normally get to watch my daughter grow up.  Add to that the lingering thought that those days are already finite and I get pissed.

I understand all too well that there’s a point where our daughter will start her own life, without us in it daily.  I assume when it happens a new version of what I’m feeling right now will emerge, but I think it’ll be bittersweet feelings and I’m pretty sure any residual anger will be gone.

There’s absolutely nothing I’ve ever loved more than being a father, and even though that can’t be taken away from me it’s hard not to feel like it has, at least partially…

Right now there’s a pity party for one over here and I’m feeling like the victim.  This is not the kind of person I am, but I’ve become a different person from when I was married.  That is a topic for a different time though.