Sunday, August 8, 2010

Reflections on a Year

This is the type of post I guess you would generally see in January. I know that. But I’m running it in August for one reason. This week seems like the chapter that was the last year or so of my life has sort of closed and I’m free to move on from it. It’s not going to be a “oh poor me,” type post because I can’t stand the “born victim” type who think everything happens to them. Over a lifetime, I think we all get our taste of the bad luck. This post just sums up why I’m suddenly feeling more optimistic.

My Son
In October last year my son lost his Mother. He was 5 at the time. It was around this time last year though that she began to get very sick. Not only her death, but her sickness too had haunted my boy. He’s been living with me just over a year now and in that time we’ve had a bit of a ride. Ups, downs, bad days, good days. He will never get over losing her. I know that from experience. But he’s dealing with it much better these days and in a year I feel like I’ve gone from being his ‘Father,’ to really being a ‘Dad.’ A real one. Not just biologically. I’ve never had a bond as strong with anyone or anything in my life as I do with my boy.

As he starts to see the light at the end of the tunnel and he deals with his grief much better, he and I are starting to look forward to things. We’re looking forward to planning Christmas with the family and friends, looking forward to birthdays (even my own, which is a first lol). The future’s looking rosy.

My Hobbies
I love virtual worlds. I love the Internet. I love all things digital. However, a year ago my real life vs digital life balance was very skewed. I could spend 40 hours or more per week in Second Life. Whenever I did go out, it would be drinking with the guys.
I still love my digital life. I look at it more as an extension of myself and my real life, rather than a separate entity. However, my balance is better. I have recently launched a business that deals with Internet Marketing and this has been hugely successful thanks to the insights I gained through Second Life and internet marketing channels in general. So I’ll never regret, in that sense, the time I spent so many hours online.

But having my son full time and working a business that requires a lot of attention, my personal (rather than working) online time is much more limited. 4 hours a week maximum in Second Life (if any) and I honestly don’t bother with my own personal social media profiles. I run many for clients and the last thing I feel like, when I sit down in the evening, is doing my own. Shock, horror, I don’t have a Facebook!

My hobbies now also incorporate loads of activities with my son. I’m in the gym 5 times a week, going running and cycling with my boy. And when I do take some time to myself or to go see friends (which we all need), I don’t particularly care for clubbing and boozing. I’ll go play poker with the guys or hang out at one of their houses. Maybe a few lagers in the pub but never a mad one clubbing. It lost its appeal. 5 years ago I would have called myself “a boring old fart,” for saying stuff like that!

I also spend more time with my sister and my nephew. Incorporating the family element of my life has become so much more important for me.

Following the death of my own Mother over 4 years ago now, I took a bit of vacation from dating. I did the casual thing for a while. I was never really a “player,” per se. I was always open with people that I did not want an exclusive thing. I had too much of my own shit to deal with and honestly was not in the position to “give” anything. A couple of years after she died, I joined SL. I met a girl from California I started a relationship with, which ended after just over a year. Then I met someone else from Toronto (who I never actually physically met) who I had a bit of thing with for over a year too. When my son’s Mother died I did my usual thing: clam up. I was unbearable to be around for many people, this girl included. I shut her out. I know I did that and I take complete ownership of it.

However, I feel as though I am now, for the first time ever really, ready to commit to something more meaningful than binary. Chloe and I are building something. I have no desire to touch anyone else or even look at them that way. I’m 100% serious about her. My boy loves her, my family loves her and my friends do.

After other recent relationships, I promised myself “no more born victim” types. I honestly truly believe that, unless there is adultery or physical violence etc, a relationship breakdown generally has 2 sides to it. I think everyone should be mature enough to accept their own part. I hate the “it was all his fault,” type of girls. Wrong. If you have a string of failed relationships in your past (myself included) there is one thing in common with each of them: YOU. Of course the other party must accept their role too, but nobody is perfect. And I have so much respect for people who will take ownership of their mistakes rather than being all, “I give, give, give and he just took, took, took.” Look at the facts. Establish what really went wrong several months down the line when you’re feeling less emotionally fired up over. Most breakdowns have 2 sets of fault.

Chloe is not that type. She and I had something of a breakdown before I went on holiday. The other day we talked it over. She admitted her faults, I admitted mine, we buried it and forgot about it and we are moving on. Our foundations are strong. The ability to both admit our wrongs, the ability to open up to one another.... that’s huge. I have never in my life completely opened up to anyone before.

So I guess the summary point there is the fact that I am actually serious about sharing my life with someone, in its entirety. :)

Side note: a lesson from the last year: Some people do not want honesty. When they ask you for honesty they mean “tell me what I want to hear.” I don’t fit with that type. If someone asks me for honesty, they get blunt honesty, even if it’s not something they want to hear.

The Year...
..... was shitty. Though by comparison to the year that some have had, I’ve been lucky. I have a roof over my head, a good income, my son, my friends and family.
Moving forwards, burying the past and heading in the right direction. That’s where I am.
I’m not perfect. I never will be. But I’m sensible enough to know and admit it.
I’m one year older than I was a year ago, but emotionally, I think I’m only just really catching up to my true age. Maturity and a sense of knowing exactly what I want. It’s refreshing.

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