“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid”
March 3rd 2014 will forever be an important flag in the sand when i look back at my life in the future. That was the day my life took a dramatic shift in direction.
My last several blog entries have been from a perspective of dealing with my marriage breakdown, the divorce, the fallout from that and how to go about the task of rebuilding. That’s done now. That chapter is over, the book can be closed and can be filed in the ‘lessons learned’ section. Well after using it as subject matter for this entry, then yes, it’s definitely going on the shelf then.
It’s time to start looking for, acknowledging and enjoying the positive things I’ve got going on. It’s even more important for me, I feel, given that not too long ago I found myself in a position of absolute hopelessness and unable to see positives in any and every part of my life. And if I can help it, it is a position I don’t want to find myself in again. I’m not saying I’ve cracked it, that I’m suddenly Mr Positivity, I’m saying that I’m consciously going to start paying more intention to the good things going on and work on trying to spend less time worrying about the other stuff.
A lot of the good things that have happened in recent times are actually some things I’ve mentioned and brought up before, it’s just tuning out the little negatives surrounding them and changing my perspective to fully appreciate them. And actually, something that I’ve found myself realising more and more recently is that probably two of the biggest events in my life that I thought were negatives, with a change of perspective, are actually probably the biggest contributing factors to two of the biggest positives. First one being…
Divorce has been the best thing to ever happen to me!
Before you start judging me, thinking I’m being flippant about what is a horrible experience to have to go through, hear me out.
March 3rd 2014. That was the day I had decided I was going to embark on a weight loss journey. I had bought the gear whilst I was sat in my hotel room in Krakow to be delivered that week and I had said to myself that the lads weekend that I was due to be on that weekend would be a last hurrah in terms of junk food for X amount of time and that come Monday morning, it was junk food amnesty day and I was going to take it seriously. However, March 3rd 2014 was also the first proper day after the marriage bomb had gone off and I found myself faced with a choice. Do I sit and mope about it, comfort eat myself better and start again another time or do I channel the impact of it all and use it kick-start the weight loss. I chose option two. I had no appetite but I knew I had to eat, so already getting into the habit of eating little portions was made easier. I was signed off work as I couldn’t sleep so instead I got out the house and into the gym to distract me and also to smash and sweat out all the frustration and confusion I had swirling around in my head. And now here I am, 19 months down the line, in the shape of my life. Would I have been as successful had all that not gone on? I’ll never know. But what I do know, I know it was made a hell of a lot easier having to only change the attitude of one over eater instead of two.
Also, I should make something clear so I’m not misunderstood. I fought for my marriage and the choice to rip it apart was never mine, even after it all kicked off. I didn’t see it as some casual thing that is easy tossed to the kerb and I still fully believe the sanctity of marriage. What I am saying is that in my experience of it, it has made me into a better person.
Another big thing. You realise who your friends are. There aren’t many situations in life where you get to find out, beyond argument, who your friends are. And I’ve been very lucky to not only find out, but to actually fully appreciate just how good they actually are. Not just at being a friend, but just as bloody good human beings. I truly am blessed with some of the finest examples of men and women as friends. There have been times over these last months where I’ve been on the ropes and without these guys, wouldn’t have been knocked clean out. But they’ve not only supported me, they’ve fought my corner, they’ve guided me through what’s been a social minefield at times and most importantly, they’ve shown me love in a time where it’s very difficult to feel loved at all. You really can’t put a price on that.
And perhaps the other biggest change..
Being made redundant was the other best thing to happen to me
Since I was about eight or nine years old, I always dreamed of becoming a teacher, or more specifically, a primary school teacher. But, for a whole range of different reasons, I never got to live that dream, I left school having never sat as much as a GCSE exam. Nothing, nada to my name. Instead, after bumming around for a bit and the help of other people, I got myself a job. A good job at that too that would end up given me opportunities I could only have dreamed of in terms of people I met or worked with to places I got paid to go to. Some life long memories. But no matter how cool or special these places or people were, it still never fully filled that whole left by that dream of teaching. So when they told me I may be made redundant, I jumped at it. To be perfectly honest, I hadn’t been happy there for a while and was tired of the ‘number not name’ approach that seemed to becoming more “the norm” so it was a good outcome for both sides in the end. But it didn’t take away anything from the gratitude I had for the opportunities given to me.
So there I was, sat in Manchester after the move, smack bang in the middle of crossroads, after everything else on top (bear in mind redundancy, divorce and moving city all happened within a twelve month or so period of time), with the choice of 1. Carrying on in IT, yes you can earn good money and more chance of being comfortable but I wouldn’t be happy or 2. Closing that chapter as well and finally taking the plunge, putting my big boy pants on and doing something about finishing school. Option two it was. It’s not to be underestimated though. I mean for about twenty years I’ve always had the fallback of ‘Well one day I’ll man up and do that’, like it Es in some way a comfort blanket in case everything else went wrong, at least I had that to work for. But what if I fail? What if after all this time I fall short and it’s not there all of a sudden? That scares me. But at the same time, again with the right perspective, it can also be a great motivator to work that little bit harder, I mean what better motivation than chasing your dream! All this was also off the back of the divorce too in a small way. Would I be able to do this had that not happened? I would certainly find it harder to have done. You see, even though I was earning what I thought to be a pretty decent salary, there were also very vocal inputs into how I should prioritise that salary *Cough* (inlaws) *Cough*. Thankfully I don’t have to worry about prioritising my education, my future and my all round wellbeing and happiness below money for the “just in case x wants to buy a new dress” fund.
So, status report. I’ve just finished my first term at college. Early signs show a strong start so I’m fully on track to exceed early expectations with that. Physically, every week I’m noticing my clothes get looser, parts of my body get more lean and defined and that I can do things faster, for longer (me darlin ;)). And mentally, well mentally is going to be the big one. That’s going to take some time to get to a strong place but I’m in no hurry. I’ve fallen into the trap too many times of thinking I’ve cracked it. Take each day as it comes as they say but certainly got a much stronger foundation on which to launch from that I did six months to a year a go.
The outlook is a positive one.