So – it’s January and the start of a new year.
2019 is stretched out in front of me – and as I type it seems to be pregnant with promise and possibility.
In my last post a few days ago I looked backwards, reflecting on some of the personal changes and life events that had taken place in 2018. It was a monumentous year for me by any personal yardstick, and I’m immensely proud of all that I accomplished.
There’s never an end point though. As I look forwards I’m reminded that the nature of life is change. Standing still is never an option and the quest for growth and personal development is one that should never end.
Recognising and celebrating my accomplishments (as well as accepting compliments) is something that has never come easy to me. I’ve found it far easier in the past to diminish my achievements for fear of tempting fate, but at the moment I feel proud.
My life has evolved in ways that it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t made conscious and focused decisions to improve my physical, intellectual and emotional health. It’s because of profound changes in these areas that I can now take my next steps to building the life that I ultimately want to live.
Firstly (but in no order of importance) comes the J word.
I need a job.
I promised myself that I’d start looking again in January, and as I type I’m taking a short break from brushing up my CV (I think it’s now looking tikkety-boo) whilst simultaneously applying online for a position that caught my eye.
It’s within walking distance and also seems ideally suited to my strengths and employment history.
I’m feeling pragmatic about it however.
Whilst this role seems like a good fit I’m also well aware since being made redundant that things rarely work out how you expect them to. Often finding the right job is a combination of random luck and an indefinable ‘suitability’.
If you’re qualified enough to create an opening for an interview even then nothing is certain, and I’ve learned the hard way that even if you get the job no-matter how good you are no-one is indispensable.
Ultimately job hunting is mostly a waiting game punctuated by moments of frenzied activity and a continued need to remain positive as well as believing in your own self worth.
Furthermore hopping onto the first train that rolls into your station will rarely result in you reaching your intended destination.
I’ll no doubt write more on this topic over time, and we shall see whether or not my current (rather buoyant) mood persists.
It seems highly likely to me though that it will.
The more eagle eyed subscribers to my blog have noted (and commented) recently that there has not only been a marked increase in my happiness but also a rather more erratic schedule to my postings.
Furthermore, those who keep track of my movements will have noticed that I’ve been less of a regular presence at my Saturday morning Slimming World meetings over the past weeks.
There’s absolutely nothing to worry about though (depending on how you view my current weight) because I’m as focused as ever.
Moreso in fact.
When I stepped on the scales at home yesterday (I haven’t for nearly a week) the current situation was quite surprising. Rather than swinging back up to my target weight I’ve actually dropped down a little more.
The reason for this is that (quite unlike my usual approach to meals) I have been eating dramatically smaller portion sizes recently – whilst simultaneously doing a rather large amount of daily exercise.
But why you might ask?
What’s the root of this behaviour?
Well – that’s partially related to the G Word in the blog title.
The portion sizes that I’ve been consuming in the past have been almost exclusively in the evenings, often related to boredom or habitual behaviour, and almost always they have been way more than I needed.
Cooking for two (in this case a new girlfriend) has focused my attention on the fact that I can easily feed two people with what I myself have previously been consuming.
I know, I know.
I casually dropped the G word in there as if it was nothing when it’s definitely something.
After almost twenty years of being a bachelor without anyone even vaguely pinging on my radar as a person that could not only live with my faults but simultaneously excite my mind and heart it seems like someone has arrived.
Furthermore they’ve been right under my nose for a while – and just like me they’re ridiculously ‘outdoorsy’.
When the qualities that they embodied (which extend way past an ability to put one foot in front of another oudoors) slowly dawned on me I found that I was less surprised that they were there in the first place – and instead more amazed that I hadn’t clocked what they all represented from the beginning.
In retrospect it all seems so obvious.
It’s early days though – but I feel it only fair (since the underlying theme of my blog is honesty with myself and the world) to finally explain that this is the predominant reason behind why I’ve been feeling immensely more positive than usual.
Whatever happens in the future, over the past weeks I’ve proven to myself (and hopefully someone else too) that feelings I’d believed were long dead not only still exist but are bafflingly more powerful than they ever were.
However now, rather than these being undermined by the emotional immaturity of youth, and an inability to escape my past they are now augmented by the very pride in myself and my achievements that I previously felt incapable of realising or unworthy of accepting.
At this point I’m a solvent, fit, independent, emotionally aware grown man, with a wholesome and rich life.
I’ve built a world around myself that I can welcome someone into without embarrassment and now that now someone has finally stepped into it I feel I have a lot to offer them.
I know from mistakes in my past that trying to build a partnership on the foundations of anything less than total openness and honesty is a failure waiting to happen. Now I’ve faced up to and dealt with my worst faults I can finally see a future where a relationship can be based upon true equality.
For the first time in my adult life I’ve learned to not only like but love who I am – and I don’t need that validation to be provided by someone else.
Furthermore I recognise that profound shame over my continued inability to make important changes damaged and polluted any chance that I ever had of happiness.
All of my previous partners had the unenviable job of managing and navigating the perpetually corrosive effects of my diminished self worth and emotional baggage.
Things are different now.
I’ve now proven that I am capable of amazing things – and I know that I can inspire others not just with what I say but the choices I’ve made and the actions I continue to take on a daily basis.
I see that the last three years have (rather than an exercise in reaching an end point or goal) actually been extended preparation for my real life to start.
I’ve come to recognise that it’s not only possible to care about someone again – but that I have the right to be cared for in return.
It’s a fantastic feeling internet – and I want it to continue – because with this particular wind beneath my wings I can finally see a future that no longer has me framed, looking into a sunset with no-one at my side.
Instead I see my hand holding someone else’s – and this new picture in my mind looks absolutely right.