It is 2018 and resolution season is upon us but you will not see a “New Year, New Me” post on social media or in conversation from me. You see 2017 was an especially challenging year for me in many different ways. I usually keep my struggles and personal life, well mostly personal but I feel the need to get them out today for some reason.
January 2, 2018, I wake up and finish shaving and brushing my teeth, I am getting ready to get in the shower before 5:00 am. I stand in front of the mirror and look at myself, a slight headache from a few too many adult beverages the day before, but why. I didn’t care about the college football games that I was watching and I knew that I had to be up early, I was putting off the inevitable, going back to a job that I hate after a long layoff. I begin to really look at myself in the mirror and nearly broke down, I don’t like what I see. The added 15-20 pounds that I’ve gained since August is the first part, the hair turning grey doesn’t really bother me but as I look myself in the eye, I’m not happy. That’s when I realized that I can put on a happy face and fake it, but mirrors don’t lie.
I would like to place my current mental status into a single little box and make it go away but life isn’t that simple. I hate where I work. I say it casually and on my private Facebook page often but rarely do I make something like this public but I have to say it. The commute drives me insane taking an hour to go 26 miles to go to DC, but the mind numbing work itself takes its toll on me, I won’t even start on one of my bosses. But there are a few people that make it worth giving my all (I can’t seem to be lazy if I tried). But the thing is that is far from everything contributing to my unhappiness, the house we rent is in shambles and my landlord is a doofus, living in the DC area is terrible with traffic and the current 20 degree temperatures, and money, who is ever satisfied with their monetary situation?
I’ve been told many times by people trying to help that I need to count my blessings and look at my beautiful, loving family and that we are safe and warm and have food on the table. Yeah, I get that and I’m not saying I’m not grateful for that, but that is the norm. Be happy that your kids are in a great school, yeah I am but if they weren’t in a great school, would their future be doomed? And if I hear one more time that I’m going to get back to the old me once I get out of this job, I’m going to scream! There is no going back, the old me is dead and gone, the old you is dead and gone, we get older (hopefully), we mature and we gain knowledge and experiences to shape who we will be, that’s considered progress. I am thankful for what I have, but that can’t be everything destined for me, can it? I know a good friend of mine struggling right now too, who has openly said that he wants what I have, should that make me feel better or worse?
As I stand looking at myself in the mirror, I think about my plan, about the future. I will get back into shape and lose this weight, I’ve done it before and I can do it again. I’ll get back to working out and counting my calories and making better food decisions. I quit drinking for a month last year and I’m thinking of doing the same thing again. Do I really have the discipline to do it, do I really care enough to lose the weight or will I go back to stress eating in a week? Then my mind wanders to the other aspects, 2 more job fairs in the next few months, but that will make like 20 with no real leads. Spend 30 minutes a day trying to find more jobs online, yeah like anyone really checks their job candidates on Indeed. Again reality takes me down a notch that I’ve been in this job for 17 months and have been job hunting for 16 of them with a few promising interviews but nothing solid. What else can I do? Am I really doomed to be in this cubicle, grumpy as hell for the rest of my life?
Then as I’m getting all worked up, I think about my closest friends and that I could really use a happy hour or something with them where we can just BS. Then I remember that none of them live within 4 hours of me. I have 4 guys that are my best friends, one in VA Beach, one in Mass, one in Tampa and the last in Boise. We are all busy and phone calls never do it justice, I need that male companionship. Lauren always lets me vent, but it’s different when you’re out with the guys and I don’t see that event anywhere in my 2018 calendar. Life is hard.
I want to bring more positivity into my life, I feel good when I can help others. I feel great when someone enjoys something that I’ve cooked and spent hours preparing. When good things happen, I need to remember them and look at them instead of in the mirror some days. There are going to be hard days and that’s OK. I guess I just needed to get the words on paper, I get it and I know the struggle. I’ve seen a lot of dads struggling this time of year with their marriage, money, jobs, kids and health and I wish I could put into words exactly how I feel, there should be a bro-hug emoji because I get it. We shouldn’t feel so alone when we aren’t, but staring in that mirror is always a harsh reality.
Try to stay strong out there dads!