I used to have this day dream when I was student teaching a classroom of 38 sixth graders in inner city Grand Rapids, Michigan when I was 24 years old. It was of retirement. My day dreams just skipped over 30 years of life into this scene.
I had invested wisely. My 401K was maxed. I was in the parking lot of a golf course opening the trunk of a new Cadillac where a shiny set of golf clubs symbolized a new hobby. My speakers were bumping, which symbolized that I still had a rebellious side. I had a pretty, blond wife that took care of herself (and me). I had a brood of kids that looked up to their father. A had a garden and a close relationship with nature. My body was sinewy and strong from the triathlons I’d competed in throughout the years.
Fast Forward 16 Years
16 years later at age 40, my day dream is FAR different. Life didn’t follow that script. Nor do I want it to. Much of that day dream is representative of my naivety. That’s no longer who I am. I have grown up into a man, and though the dreams have changed, I feel a sense of urgency to reclaim those dreams. This is a similar motif for me, something I’ve struggled with for a few years.
Everything has been stripped bare now, and I have all the capability, language and leadership to help myself (and others too by sharing what I know about my story, and what I’m doing) achieve the meaning, money and love they seek to have in their life.
In this post, I want to tell you where I am now, and the three things that I’m going to consistently focus on overcoming.
Where I Am Now
I’m in a great place to recommit to the important personal work that needs to be done. In the past two years, I have accomplished the following:
1. Brought a daughter into the world during a bitter break up.
I fought in court (and won) for custody. Today, I have a wonderful relationship with my youngest daughter. I am an involved father with half custody of my children. It’s not always easy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
2. I now have a great co-parenting relationship with the mother of my three children.
We work well together for the benefit of our kids. This is a far cry from where we were two years ago. I’m grateful.
3. I changed careers and got a day job.
This has brought the simple financial security of having bills paid, child support covered and stability. There isn’t anything left over in the bank, but the basics are covered: food, rent, heat, phone, Internet, car, insurance.
4. I am no longer in a romantic relationship. I’m single.
This is fresh, and I am suffering from the pangs of loneliness. At night especially, I ache for the companionship of a relationship (in particular, my ex). I’m learning how to cherish my independence. This is both an accomplishment and something I need to work on. It’s an accomplishment because just facing the fact that I can be alone, independent, happy and successful isn’t something I’ve done before.
5. I re-united with my 12 year old son this past June.
He lives in Florida with his mom, my ex-wife. You’ll hear more of this story if you continue reading this blog. Ben and I had been separated for the last ten years. It has taken a lot of work with my ex-wife to get to this point. I’m so happy that my son and I met, talked and now the communication lines are open for more of a relationship.
If you’re not going to commit to some particular path of action, what’s going to change?
Here are the paths of action I am committed:
1. Just paying the bills is not enough to sustain a good life.
I will develop a second income that extends from my own consistency and focus. Which means following through on everything I already know to do. I don’t need a course to follow, or a coach to tell me what to do. I simply need to make something happen – like today. It’s launching my idea this week. It’s sending this post to you. It’s calling the three customers I have right now and asking, Who can you refer me to? For me, it’s “touching my business” every day. It’s going to the edge, that edge I’ve been holding back from. I don’t need a plan. I have it memorized from all the times I’ve written it on scraps of paper and discussed it with my people. Now, it’s just time to do it already. This will be the preeminent relationship I nurture this year even if another romantic female relationship were to enter my life.
2. Speaking of romantic female relationships, I’m not entirely clear on something…
I’m asking myself, Do I pick the wrong women? or Do I self sabotage what could be lifetime relationships? Maybe it’s both. Either/or … Why? Why do I choose the wrong partners? Why do I succumb to my self defeating patterns that sabotage the relationship? At the long end of tomorrow, I want to be in a committed relationship and share my life with someone. My work this year will be to get clear about these things and remove the negative emotions associated with them.
Those are the two biggies!
Continued Improvement In These Five Areas
Here’s a short list of the other important aspects of life that aren’t as dire, but equally important that will continue improving, fine tuning and giving time and love to.
1. Raising my children and nurturing our relationship together
2. Continuing to push toward the best physical shape I am capable
3. Setting time aside every week for spiritual development i.e. church, gratitude, meditation
4. Entering a romantic relationship with intention instead of filling a void
5. Loving on other people and offering the “magic” of Eric Walker to all whom I come in contact
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