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At this moment, I’m sitting in a large field, covered with newly green grass and a blanket of dandelions as far as I can see. The sun is shining in a cloudless sky, the air is pure and clean, and the wind is blowing just enough to cool the sun’s warm rays.

There isn’t a soul in sight and I don’t have anywhere to be.

And as I sit here on this near perfect day, I have to be thankful for this opportunity. Not the opportunity to work from my laptop or even to be self employed.

What I am thankful is for this life and what I’m choosing to do with it right now.

Life is exactly what we make of it. No more and no less. And up until recently, I made my life a twisted maze of unhappiness, discontentment, and self-loathing.

To be able to sit and write my thoughts in solitude, with nothing but the gentle breeze whispering in my ear while feeling a sense of inner peace, is invaluable.

But before I delve off into talking about wind chimes, incense, and dream catchers, let me first take you back in time to a much different life.

Dec 28, 2003

I’m having anxiety attacks to the point of seeing a physician. After hearing my concerns, he agrees I do indeed have a problem and prescribes Wellbutrin to control my nerves.

I’m not sure I’m making the right decision and am second guessing my every move. My constant wavering is concerning my friends and family and I’m not sure which way is up. I’m finally able to convince myself that I’m making the right decision and am prepared to move forward with my life.

4 days later I propose.

Married..With Children

MWC

After an incredibly rocky start to our marriage, which involved a surprise pregnancy 3 months into it, things got much more complicated.

After a horrific pregnancy where my wife had just about every issue one can have including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, our daughter was born almost 6 weeks early and with several health concerns.

It just so happened that the day she was born, we moved into my in-laws house in order to save money. Bad idea.

And as we struggled to figure out how to handle a colicky child, our relationship began to start showing signs of crumbling. A small crack here..another crack there..

This was coupled with the fact that I had a job (that I despised), that was upwards of 1.5 hours away in each direction. Kill me now.

On more than one occasion, I wanted to hop in my car and just keep driving.

Time dragged on as I suffered through a gruelingly boring job only to come home to a contemptuous wife exhausted from a day with a very high maintenance child.

We quickly fell into the trap of giving 100% of our attention to our daughter and 0% to each other. And as our love for this child grew, our interest in each other faded.

Dec 27, 2007

Four years in and the writing was already on the wall. And although we decided to buy a house in early 2007 with the grand hopes that living in the country, in a great community, in a house with a white picket fence, was going to make everything all better, it didn’t.

I had taken a new job closer to home, which was great for my commute. Unfortunately, I liked this one even less.

I grew angry at the circumstances of my life. I was angry at my wife for not being more supportive of my dreams. I was angry at my boss for being a fucking asshole. And I was most angry at myself for allowing my life to become one big grind.

And as my frustration turned to anger, and the anger to hopelessness, I gave up. I checked out of life. I showed up to work, I came home, I took care of my daughter, and I went to bed.

I had lost all passion for living. I was bored out of my fucking mind, had a wife that didn’t want to hear about it, and a fat stack of bills that needed to be paid.

In my mind, I was completely fucked.

So I did what everyone tells us we’re supposed to do. I sucked it up. I reported to work, did my job and went home. I ate dinner with my family, had BBQ’s on the weekend, mowed the lawn, went to the playground with my daughter, and went on with my life.

Dec 7, 2012

After another 5 years of the same ol’, same ol’, including having another daughter. (also 6 weeks early), and spending the last year sleeping on the couch, I decided I just couldn’t take it anymore.

I started noticing that things didn’t feel right with me. Each night as I lay my head down on my pillow, my heart would start racing, then skip a beat, then start pounding.

I began to realize that the stress of my life, all of it, was literally going to kill me. At 40 years old, I knew I was not too young to have a heart attack and I sure as shit didn’t want to find out if the statistics were true.

And then one Tuesday night I woke up at 2AM with a startle and in a pool of sweat. It was then that I made my decision.

I asked my wife to lunch the very next day and told her I wanted to split. And without dispute or a hint of emotion, she quietly agreed.

And on December 7, 2012, on an unseasonably warm winter day, I moved out to start my life over.

Today

Let me bring you back to today. I’m still sitting in my lounge chair listening to the soft calls of the sparrows and robins. The wind has picked up and the temperature has cooled. But the sun is still beating on my face and I feel free.

The only reason I am sharing all of this is right now is because there are millions of men and women that know exactly what I’m talking about because they are living it right fucking now.

You may be saying to yourself “holy shit, that’s MY life”. And I want you to know that there IS a better way to live.

Yes it’s going to be harder than anything you’ve ever done. You’ll have fear, anxiety, paranoia, and a seemingly endless supply of tears but guess what you won’t have?

Regrets.

regret

Your life does not have to suck. Hell, it doesn’t even have to be difficult. And as a matter of fact, it can be downright fucking awesome! You cannot and will not ever get this time back. So if your thinking that you’ll make a change next week, next month, or next year. Don’t wait.

Do it now.

I’m reading the book 18 Minutes by Peter Bregman and he shares a story of his friend, Rabbi Hayyim Angel. The Rabbi carries a book with him every time he goes to a meeting. And he does this because he believes that if somebody is late to the meeting, they are stealing from him.

They are stealing something in an unforgivable way because they are stealing something, the only thing, that cannot be returned.

His time.

He carries a book so as not to be in a position for anyone to steal his most precious commodity.

And I’m urging you to do the same. I’m not asking you to carry your Harry Potter novel to every board meeting you have to go to, but I am asking you to not let anyone steal your most precious commodity.

Change Now Or Forever Hold Your Peace…

It pains me to see people living the life I did, it really does. I personally know many people that are in desperate need of a life change but are too (insert word) to take the risk and change it.

Fuck that.

I’ve been through some heavy shit, some desperate times, and through many lonely years. Don’t do it. Please. You deserve more from life. You deserve to be happy.

A Little Help…

helping-hand1

I realize that I can only do so much by sharing my words with you. I can threaten, coax, beg, and plead for you to make a change but I can only be so effective as a random blogger.

So I recently decided to start a coaching/accountability program with the intention of helping people (like me 5 years ago) to start taking the steps necessary to make these changes.

I am in the mid stages of launching this program and am not going to share the details as of yet. Suffice it to say that it will help those who most need it.

Don’t Lose The Meaning Here

I didn’t write this post out of self pity, to play the victim, or to get attention. Lord knows I’ve done enough of that in the past (and been called out on it by many a reader). I wrote this because I chose to spend the last 10 years of my life wallowing in misery. It was my decision and I accept full responsibility.

I wrote this because I see this scenario played out every single day. I see it with my friends, my clients, and even my mailman. Ending the grind doesn’t have to be just about quitting a shitty job. That’s the easy part. Ending your grind could mean a hundred different things.

But whatever your grind may be, I ask you, from a person who lived far too long in misery, stop now.

Take responsibility and just…stop now.

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