A (lighthearted) message from the dark side of divorce… A Heart Shaped Box.

Ok, hi Bloggers. I hope you are all well. Today, I want to talk about marriage, and divorce. When we are married, and much in love, the mere concept of being divorced, and all that it entails scares the living shit out of us…. Yoda says it right:

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Wait, I’m not actually divorced. I’m legally separated. Separated in space (two continents with the Pacific Ocean between us). Yet, connected. Financially, biologically with children, in name, with 23 years of in-erasable history between us. That stuff is never going to wash out. It’s in the past. It’s done.

But is it really all that bad? Well, yes, and erm, no.

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So where I was some months ago – if you troll my blog history you can see it all laid out in technicolor detail, was not a good place. That was when I was married. I had been married for about 18 years, and with my marriage partner since 1993. If you don’t remember 1993 its either because you weren’t born yet, or it was so long ago.

1993, hmmm. Nirvana were killing it. Paul Keating returned in a second term as Aussie Prime Minister, Bill Clinton got his sax out to celebrate taking the reins from the first George Dubya Bush, and a bunch of other way-back stuff was happening. I was a young buck of 19. There was no internet, cell phones were like bricks, and technology was pretty simple compared to where we are today.

So where am I going with this?

There’s so much judgement and puritanical shit about marriage as an institution, and to go against the grain, to challenge that institution, depending on the tolerance of  your community, family and partner can be perceived as the worst thing in the world, ever. Ever! 

From the dark side, I give you, the divorced guy’s state of the nation:

It’s really not that bad!

I’m broke, lol. But who cares, because I didn’t have any money when I was married, and at least I get to control my bank account now, lol.

I run my own schedule. It’s like being an adult, but now you have to actually plan your own shit, like bills and things. Previously, I just earned the money, and she spent it, or stressed about how we were going to pay bills.

I go where I want to go, when I want to go, and generally don’t have to check if that’s like ok, with everyone else. Awesome!

 I don’t have anyone to blame if my apartment isn’t clean, and I’m not stepping over anyone else’s crap. Pure bliss.

I have my own place. My. Own. Place. OMG what an awesome concept!

It’s quiet. Can you imagine?

But its not all beer and skittles. No, no, no!

I miss my kids. I don’t get to see them, and I talk to them maybe once a week, for a few sentences on the phone. They are on the other side of the world. They couldn’t be any further away. I don’t know when I will see them next.

The relationship with my children is extremely strained. Due to my biological disposition as a man, thus being the breadwinner etc, I went to work, while my ex stayed home. This meant that she got to be with them to get them ready for school, pick them up, and was there while I travelled for work. During this time she had their ear, and of course they were influenced by the tone of her perspective. So when she chose to leave, she took the kids.

I want to repair the damage, and I hope that the passage of time allows us all to come to terms with each other.

Lawyers. A necessary evil. A weapon of mass expense. I dare not say the hourly price my lawyer charges to quibble about who-owes-who-what. It’s scary, and stupid. It’s not that I don’t like my lawyer as a person, but I just hate the thought of burning through hundred dollar bills to establish BASIC SHIT. Spending money I don’t have. Dumbest concept ever.

Real estate: complete shambles. Losses deeper than the Mariana’s Trench.

Other than that, life is grand! Really, I am content. Happy. Doing ok! 

Just to finish off, I have identified two camps of people in the world. Those who have been through divorce, and those who have not. I have found that those who have been through it are typically more balanced in their judgements, more empathetic, and accepting. Not to say that non-divorced people are not open minded or prejudice (some are for sure!), but divorced people have a broader perspective on the hundreds of possible iterations that could lead a person to choose divorce over remaining married.

I’m not going to say that you should jump into something like this, because the implications are major – like monumental and the biggest type of decision that you might make. Having said that, if fear is holding you back, you might benefit from knowing that it’s not so bad, on the ‘dark side’ of divorce.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After the Storm Has Passed

Hi Bloggers,

It is calm. I am feeling composed, relaxed, balanced and happy. Image result for calm

Previously, it was as if I were a boat on the ocean, battling heavy seas.

Now, the clouds have parted, some welcome sunshine has filtered through, and the morning light is gently caressing calm seas once again.

Relief, that’s the main feeling. Contentment. Happy in my own space, happy to make new work colleagues, to be able to contribute without shadows of speculation and resentment being cast over my contributions.

I am free to engage, to enjoy, to rejoice in the simple things. To pat a friend or colleague on the back, to give some good feedback to others, to say thanks, and to let people know that I really care about them. Because, I really do! 

I’ve let go, but in a good way. Let go of resentment. Let go of shame. Let go of the negativity that seemed to surround me and I was trapped like a shopping bag being blown around in a vortex of shit.

I realise that I was just hanging on. Using all my strength to tell myself that I could continue. Some days were really good in spite of the situation, and some days felt absolutely fucking desperate. It was like the rug had been pulled. I was angry. I was frustrated. I kept a positive outlook as much as possible in the situation and I did my best to not get dragged into the whole shit-pile, but in reality, that shit-pile was – my life! I don’t and haven’t blamed anyone else. Like I’ve said before, I was the architect of my own demise!

Image result for rough seas memeLife still has its challenges. Things will never be perfect. I can accept that. I watched a Ted talk recently that said that people affected by serious hardship, like a debilitating injury, and those who experience good fortune such as winning the lottery end up at the same place, after a few months, in terms of acceptance and who is happiest. This is counterintuitive because we all think that of course, winning the lottery would just about assure happiness – with  all our ‘real’ problems put aside by having lots of money. Right?

Without getting into pop-psychology, the evidence would suggest that those who go through challenging and life altering events do adjust, and are generally content to accept, perhaps even find happiness in their apparent misfortune. I’m not suggesting I’ve suffered misfortune, just saying that the recent events of my life have certainly been challenging and life altering.

For a rough a journey as it has been, I am better for it. Stronger, more self assured, more independent and less resentful of the situation that surrounded me. What I learned is that people will accept you. Ok, some won’t that’s ok. But people will, if you open your heart and be genuine and sincere, no matter who you are.

Namaste.

 

 

 

Opening up… tears in the basilica. High and Dry.

Hi Bloggers,

I don’t cry often, but when I do its normally a big kind of relief. With all the changes in my life I have felt a whole spectrum of emotions – from resentment, to guilt, to shame, to embarrassment, to anger, to love, to lust, to feeling inspired, energetic and optimistic, to the lowest lows I have experienced, such that I have been genuinely fearful for what I might do such was the feeling of rejection and hopelessness.

But don’t worry – this is not a helpless, depressing post, it’s one of release. Healthy release! 

There is no one singular theme here, its been an ups and downs kind of a ride. In short, I feel more open, more myself, and more content at this point than I have in years;  even if it has essentially cost me my job, contact with my children, a lot of money, and a tremendous amount of turmoil.

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In my time in Montreal, I visited the Basilique Marie-Reine-Du-Monde. From the outside it’s impressive, but not really beautiful, at least in the way I like. On the inside, it’s simply magnificent. High ceilings, paintings in every corner and ceiling space, carved columns, and statues. I’m not particularly religious, but I was really taken by the impressive interior. There is a main area where the priests deliver the sermons, and its a four column masterpiece of sculpting and design.

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I stayed for the service, ate the flesh of Christ, and took a moment to take it all in. I was overcome by the beauty of this place, and the sense of loneliness I experienced in that moment. I shed a few tears, then took a seat on one of the side pulpits. That’s where I really opened up. I sobbed. For a good long while. The nice thing about churches is that people leave you alone, to grieve or worship or do what you need to do. I probably wept for a good 10 minutes there.

I let my tears fall – a lot of them, onto the marbled floor at my feet. It felt good, knowing that a part of me, would be left there in Montreal, in that sacred space. 

Afterwards I took a candle lighting stick and lit two candles. I wept openly. Some other people were doing their own thing – lighting candles or whatever. I found an enormous freedom in letting it out, and I was not ashamed to cry openly.

Now I have the feeling of having resolved some of the immediate issues in my life. I feel like the storm has passed, somewhat. I really needed to let it all out, and the Basilica was the ideal place to allow myself that space.

If there were a themesong for this blogpost, it would be High and Dry by Radiohead. Not really because I feel left high and dry so much as its just poetic and beautiful, because its Radiohead. 

 

 

 

 

 

Direction for the direction-less….

Hi Bloggers,

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This sums up exactly what life has felt like at times in the past year. The edge of panic not knowing how you were going to get through the next month, or week, or day… 

Anyone who has been following my crazy little blog would realise that my life has been a bit of a shit-show for the past 12 months or so. For a very long time, my life was about order, and monotony, and working hard, and paying bills, and kids, and mowing the lawn, and all of that, with the occasional big step such as moving, new job, buying houses, etc.

 

But as a qualifying statement, know that I am not complaining. No, no. no! I own my own actions, the consequences that go along with them.

But the point is, that my life was pretty stable. Very stable actually. But then, it started to look like this:

And I would be the guy getting thrown out of the boat!

But, as it is in life, this situation could not last forever. Things have changed for me. I don’t want to give too much away as there are still several balls in the air currently. The reality is that my ex and kids are not living with me anymore, and I am changing jobs and moving to a new location far, far away. Image result for compass

So I guess you could say that I’m not really without direction. In fact, I now at least have some direction, whereas, for an extended time, I was literally lost in my basement!

So, soon enough I will be off in a new direction, with a new living arrangement, in a new city, in a different province. So that’s exciting, right? I’m excited about it.

So what’s my advice? I’d say, if you aren’t happy with your situation, its up to you to change it. With all changes there are risks. With staying put in the status quo there are risks too – that you may be unfulfilled, unhappy, bored, unsatisfied, etc. It’s up to you to make the decisions and take the actions to change things. Just know that this shit is gonna leave a mark! This depends of course, what you are trying to change, how far you are invested in something and what you have at stake – I would suggest that this will differ greatly depending on your situation and all of that.

If you want to change libraries, that’s pretty simple with low risk. If you want to crash the bus on your marriage, you better fucking be prepared for the ensuing shit storm! But I won’t suggest its all good or all bad. Probably depends on how you are feeling about your situation and your options. I suggest talking to someone if you are not sure how to approach an issue.

 

 

 

 

F it, it’s Friday!

One of those rare occasions that I don’t have much to say – so we’ll see where this goes I guess. It’s only a few short days until the T bird takes off and leaves this continent (this planet, this universe?) forever. How am I feeling? Kind of relieved, a bit melancholy I suppose. Without doubt, the biggest kicker is my kids leaving. They don’t seem concerned at all.

In fact, they are quite dismissive to me, when I try to engage them. My son, he’s ok. We talk sometimes. I still get a good sense of animosity from him; but its fleeting. He can be downright dismissive, but in a later moment we can be talking together – which normally consists of him shooting rapid fire questions about all sorts of random shit: ‘does your intestines know what sort of food you like to eat? Did you know that the Ebola virus is a new epidemic? Sometimes I cant feel my fingers, is this normal? etc. ok questions are hypothetical and generic but you get the gist… 

Disclaimer: As challenging and stressful as all of this has been, I would not change anything. I’m not complaining, just sharing. It was a journey that I really needed to experience.

 

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Somewhere on the border between BC and Alberta. That’s the start of the Rocky Mountains, folks. 

 

Has anyone noticed the tree tattoo trend thing that seems to be going around? I just saw a girl with one on the back of her neck, and a guy at work got one on his forearm. I don’t know if its a Saskatchewan thing or a bit broader than that.

I got a new book from the library – actually I got a bunch of new books from the library. The one I’m about to inhale is called ‘How to be a great boss.’ I figure reading that can’t hurt, based on some of the feedback I’ve got over the past months.

So how do I feel? Actually pretty good. I’m ready to move forward. I just don’t know what I am moving forward into, and guess what? I don’t mind that at all.

So, what have I learned? It might be a good moment for some reflection and sharing. So, here goes, here’s my recommended list of take away’s:

  1. Be yourself. For fuck’s sake, be yourself. If you are gay, straight, a total prude or wild thang, religious zealot or worshipper of the devil, just do what you need to do. Allow others to accept you or not.
  2. Respect others.
  3. While being yourself, don’t be completely blind to the effect you have on others. Be considerate! This is the fine balance that I have eluded to before. How do you strike that balance? IDK. But you have to find the balance. The net results of not getting the balance right leads to divorce, loss of job, alienation, and a whole bunch of shit that can make life difficult. The challenge here, in my humble opinion is to come to terms with yourself, exercise discretion where prudent and be ready for some tough conversations where you are not prepared to yield. 
  4. Exercise discretion in the workplace. Realise that even though you may feel like an open book with ‘nothing to hide,’ realise that your shit is freaking people out. There is a fairly narrow band of what is acceptable to people in society. This band narrows considerably in the workplace. It also narrows with your position. Especially if you are a leader. There is an unwritten code for expected behaviour. Know that in the workplace, it is always better to err on the side of caution. Keep it professional. Develop networks outside work to air your laundry and find a shoulder to cry on (or arse to grab if that is your thing – disclaimer, I do NOT grab arse in the workplace, period).
  5. Take chances, and don’t let fear rule your decisions. This too, needs a balanced approach. Reckless choices lead to bad outcomes. Don’t be completely stupid. Have fun and keep your wits about you. Some of my best experiences have been had while taking a chance and getting out of my comfort zone.
  6. Travel as much as you can. There is no teacher like travel. I’ve moved a bunch and the way I’ve seen it is something like ‘there are no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet.’
  7. Yoga, and meditation. Just meditation if yoga is not your thing. I can’t emphasise enough the benefits of meditation.
  8. Exercise. This is not a recent development for me, but I can’t make a list without exercise in it ;).
  9. Eat well. healthy food. Lots of vegies. Contributes to overall wellness.
  10. Get a good amount of sleep.

 

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I took this picture of a buck outside someone’s house. Kinda random but cool eh?