Looking back, my life has been a long and amazing journey, especially the past 10 years. I'm amazed at the changes I've made...and the force of will it required.
When I separated I was a very angry person, but it was the type of anger I tried to hide inside. As a result, it would burst out at inappropriate times. I had the whole victim mentality
going on, where everything was someone else's fault and not mine. I also believed in magical thinking
- that if I was nice and did all the right things, I'd be rewarded. Except I wasn't being rewarded, so it all became a conspiracy of unknowable, outside forces (fate and such).
My friend John was already trying to guide me through this, as was Nanette (from the old B&N group) and my other good friends. It wasn't easy, and must have been a real struggle for them to put up with me. So to all my friends, thanks for putting up with me!
I began to study the Tao Te Ching
by Lao Tzu. Taoism seemed to fit me like a glove, it helped to ground me in the real world. It also started me on the road to calming the fuck down.
Then I discovered The Four Agreements
, by Don Miguel Ruiz. These 4 simple rules, especially Don't Take Anything Personally
, were truly eye-opening. It changed my whole outlook on life and other people, really cleared things up for me mentally. I realized that people do things for their own reasons, not to fuck with me, which is what I'd believed nearly my entire life (as Pete once put it, I used to be "Azathoth, the insane center of the universe
"...which I still think is an amusing nickname!)
Later I read No Nore Mr. Nice Guy
, by Dr. Glover. Again, this book was life-altering. Up to this point, I'd been a people-pleasing (especially
women-pleasing), overly sappy and way too sensitive guy, always putting others first in the misbelief that I'd then get what I wanted. I've learned to "man up": stand up for myself, face down others, say "No", even break off bad relationships with women instead of settling only to get dumped later.
While the last two discoveries were still sinking in, things at Cellnet reached the breaking point for me. Overcome by insomnia and panic attacks, I very nearly had a nervous breakdown. But thanks to all I'd survived and learned, plus some help from my friends Randy and Dorothy, I was able to effect an escape plan and a career change to something I love - tractor/trailer driving.
Now I look back on the past decade and realize that I've totally changed my life. I've gone from an egocentric, depressed nice guy who had no clue about himself, to a real man who's day-to-day happiness way outweighs the occasional bad day. I do what I want, when I want. I stand up for myself and for what I believe, choosing causes I feel comfortable with.
I am now the man I wanted to grow up to be.
Best of all is the fact that my journey is far from over. The unknown road stretches out before me. There are changes coming, both good and bad. But now I have a solid foundation, I know myself, and have the tools not just to weather a storm, but to help me find happiness along the way.