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Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Few things

1. 1 year anniversary of moving (again) to Denver. Interesting. See other post for reflections.

2. I didn't even realize it, but I blew by my 1-month smoke-free point. Cheated once. Hated it, worthwhile cause.

3. 209.6 this morning, which only confuses me since I haven't done an ounce of cardio in almost 2 weeks.

4. Coldplay sucks.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Year in Review?


I normally wait until the end of December to do a post like this (when I remember to actively blog), but I figured this was close enough to a landmark date to just take up with one now.

This time last year, my (ex) wife, myself, and my (ex?) dog were in Collinsville, IL preparing to abandon our house we had up for sale since August, but no solid bites on. Yah, brilliant, trying to relocate at the lowest point in the real estate market... Ever. Oh well. We would have set out on the road for Denver, CO about 3 days later. Sold the majority of our worldly belongings, bringing along only what we could fit in the back of my truck, and a U-Haul trailer.

Ironically, it was a drive we had made before. In 2000, I made the same Midwest-t0-Kindawest trip, moving from Champaign, IL to Denver that time. She was with me then as well, so the 2008 trip rang familiar. Except this time, instead of putting her on a plane a week after we arrived, she was staying. This was supposed to be our "fresh start", after getting into quite a rut in the St. Louis area the previous 6 years, and having some rocky moments in our marriage that year. The timing couldn't have been better. We moved into our apartment the day before Thanksgiving. Denver, having the schizophrenic weather it's known for, blessed us with a nice 60 degree day to move in during. The day prior, within 10 minutes of checking into our hotel in Denver for the night, she got a call and phone interview with a job she eventually took, and our realtor called saying we had an offer on the house, which we eventually took.

Things were good.

You know, for a while, anyway.

Fast forward about 7 months later (actually, almost to the day), the (ex) wife walks out on me. World=chaos, etc, etc, and so forth. It's those remaining months where my life really changed though.

I already went through all of that in a previous posting or two, but the point is, it's completely amazing how much your life can change over the course of a year (357 days in this case, but whatever). I'm truly happy... With my mindset, my body (mostly, 211 today yay), the people I have in my life... Really truly happy with the entire picture for the first time in... Shit, I don't even know. Possibly ever. Sure, I've always had a piece of the pie... when I moved back to STL from Denver in 2001, I was probably about the thinnest I've been since 8th grade. But, I didn't know anyone aside from a couple close friends, and I wasn't thrilled with the prospect of being back in the Midwest, despite the nice raise and the ability to help salvage my relationship at the time. (Yeah, put that in the pile of things I obviously kinda regret now).

Near the end of my stay in St. Louis, I was very happy with the people in my life, but nothing else... I was fatter (again) and in a complete mental rut.

Last time I lived in Denver, my mind was clear, my body was en route, but I didn't have a lot of people to share that with.

Now? My mind is more clear than it's ever been in my life, I'm more open, more aware, and more present than ever. Physically, I'm probably near my previous peak, give or take 10-15 pounds, but I'm stronger by a fair amount than I was before, which also applies to the mental state as well. And I have a great network of people that I care about to share all this with.

Ask me a year ago what I thought my life would look like, it's nuts. And ask me what I think my life will look like in another year. I'll laugh at both questions now. I have no idea. I'm really looking forward to it, though. All aspects. Some prospects scare me; going through feelings, emotions, and sharing things that I've only done with one other person in my life before. Some prospects excite me; figuring out more of who -I- am, which was something I never really took stock of in my adult life thusfar. Being more outgoing, and using my newfound mental self to do things I never would have before.

And even those prospects that scare me... They also excite me. And the fact that they excite me... well, that scares me a bit. Which makes me more intrigued, excited and anxious to see what happens. It's cyclical.

The truth is, I'm honestly excited about my life and the future, on the whole, for the first time ever I think. And that, my friends, is all sorts of fucking awesome.

“The tragedy of life is not that it ends so soon, but that we wait so long to begin it.”
-W. M. Lewis

Saturday, November 07, 2009

On beer and reflection

But mostly the second part.

Very pointless post, I'll preface that now. And it will be a bit philosophical and rambly, so preface #2. You've been warned.

As of today, I'm semi-officially not married any more. Semi-officially in the sense that while the statute regarding any judgments on our divorce case has expired today, I don't have a piece of paper in my hand from the court stating my marriage is non-existent yet. But that's really more of a formality at this point. And has been for a quite a while.

Colorado has a 90-day "waiting period" for lack of a better term, before a divorce is finalized. So, if you want to look at this in the form of a timeline, it's been 3 months since we filed for divorce. This happened roughly 3 weeks after she left me. I started dating about a week before we filed.

When you put it strictly in terms of absolute time, that seems completely insane. That gave me a solid two weeks of the most insane emotional, mentally exhausting period of my life thus-far. And even that isn't complete, because I was completely unable to register anything... any emotion or feeling of any sort for at least 3-5 days following the initial events, just due to complete shock. But I look back on the events and the emotions of that time with a certain degree of interest, and almost fondness, as sick as that sounds. I know now, that I had to go through what I did to get to where I am today.

I had to completely shut myself off from the world. I had to go be a complete emotional wreck in front of people I'd known only a short time, be completely vulnerable and open with them, to help myself. I had to quit eating, quit sleeping, miss a week of work and wallow in my own perceived ineptitude and lament my abilities as a partner, and question what was wrong with me. I had to accept love and help from people I've known almost my whole life... people I've always been there for on some level or another, but could never accept any reciprocal help or emotional response from, because I was too strong, and too unwilling to make myself available. I had to let my mind wander into places and conjure thoughts I'd never in a million years consider myself capable of. I had to picture what it would be like to ram my truck into a guardrail at 90 when I got a scathing text message, I had to consider what my 'out' options were, in my darkest moment. I had to call emergency counseling services at 2am in an absolute moment of desperation. I had to admit to myself that I couldn't handle an issue on my own, admit that I wasn't too much of a man for therapy, and have a complete, sobbing breakdown in front of a total stranger.

I had to start reading relationship and self-help books. I had to actually sit... and think. About my life, about myself.

I had to do all these things, because without having had those experiences, those thoughts, those pains and those emotions, because without them, I would have never been able to get where I am.

As corny as it sounds, amidst all of that pain, all of that emotion, despair, and whatever else, I had a singular moment that changed me. I was laying on the floor, reading a 'coping with divorce' book my therapist had recommended. I don't remember what the passage was, what the story was, or any of the words on the page. I just closed the book, felt this... I can't even describe it.... I felt this peace come over me, and started laughing. Then I started crying. But it was tears of joy. I laid there on the floor, alternately laughing and crying, hugged my dog, and in that moment, knew that everything was going to be OK. I was done. You see it in movies all the time; the lead character has this 'snap' moment. Everything changes. I drank a $20 bottle of amazing beer in celebration, because I didn't know what else to do. I woke up the next morning... I can't even describe it. From that point forward, I carried myself differently. I talked differently. I form my words more carefully, I don't mumble, I make eye contact, etc. I'm infinitely more aware of my surroundings, both personal and environmental. I'm just generally more present. And I fucking love it. I'm more confident, I'm more outgoing, I'm more honest and direct. People notice it. People I haven't seen in however long comment on it. My ex-wife talks about it every time she sees me.

A new friend who I've had the extereme honor of getting know very well over the past couple months or so was the first person I've talked to since my 'change' that was able to completely and utterly identify with it and help me put a label on it (I hate the term "label", but it's applicable): Translucency. Having this 'awakening', and still carrying on a completely normal life, but with these new eyes, new attitude, and new aura, and presenting it underneath the person you are day-to-day. Reading a book on it now, and it completely speaks to me, which I'm really digging.

Again, in terms of absolute time... From the initial... Incident, through everything above, that turmoil, etc, to the point where I reached self-realization, acceptance, and began moving forward in my life: 14 days. Two fucking weeks. My therapist said, throughout our sessions, that she'd never ran across anyone with my coping skills before, and was amazed every time we'd talked. Which I guess if you're going to be a freak of any sort, you could do worse. For all of my misgivings during my initial coming-to-terms, I went through an entire 6 counseling sessions before determining I'd received everything I currently needed from the process. I'm definitely open to it still, but I just don't see the value/need for it currently. And since my 'moment', I've been waiting for a meltdown. When I look at things critically, and in absolute values, because that's how my mind works day-to-day for a living, there's NO WAY I should have been able to run through everything that quick. But honestly, there hasn't been the slightest hint of any emotional regression. I'm embracing the 'new me' (god that sounds corny still), and re-learning...everything in life.

I listen to music differently. I've been going through my entire collection, just re-listening to everything, and it's all completely different. They lyrics all have different meanings to me now, the arrangements are more profound, the beats are more pronounced.

I interact with people differently. I interact with people, period, actually. I used to make a point to avoid random contact with people, and be withdrawn, just to save myself from having to deal with things, I guess. Now, I embrace those awkward, random moments, because for every one of those, I get 10 awesome interactions with complete fucking strangers, and I love it. And people I actually know? Forgetaboutit. I'm more open and present in all of my relationships with people I know. Maybe to a fault, even. I know I've pissed off a couple people I know since everything, just through virtue of extreme, unfiltered honesty, but it's for the best. I can move forward having a clear conscious. And those I haven't pissed off, I still get to have a clear conscious knowing that everything I have on my mind is on the table. I don't hold back feelings or thoughts now. I'm waiting for it to bite me in the ass in some regards, but again, it makes me feel good to have that level of honesty with others, and with myself.

Seriously... Everything in my life. Completely different. And it's amazing. It was scary at first, like any change is, but I've come to completely embrace it at this point. And as little 'real' time as it's taken me to come through everything, I think it's been a very natural, and 'right' experience. I'm completely comfortable with where I am now in life; time lines, societal judgments, and textbook cases be damned.

I typed too much. I think I lost my train of thought a bit. And I'm not drunk. Oh well.

Go ahead, ask me at the beginning of June what I thought my life would like like come Thanksgiving... Or hell, even the 4th of July. Then ask me what I think my life will look like in another 3 months. I'll laugh at you. Probably borderline hysterically.

If nothing else, this entire experience has taught me that our time here on this rock is more short and volatile than any of us realizes. So embrace that shit. Grab onto the good things, push out the bad, and live that fucking life.