I’m sitting by the pool in the shade watching my youngest daughter swim. It is our second time here today and probably won’t be the last before the pool closes at 9 tonight. It is a beautiful day and just a bit hot when in the sun.
It is Wednesday afternoon. I have lived pretty hard this week driving far more than is good for me. It’s a strange thing to mention as I do not mind taking a road trip over a long distance. If I have to drive back and forth across town more than once in a day, it drains me quickly.
This week I have driven back and forth across the county two to three times a day, every day.
What’s taking me across town so much?
It’s the end of the school year. I have three kids in three different schools spread across the county. I have custody of my kids this week and with the year ending there are lots of awards ceremonies and things happening. My son is also graduating from High School this weekend.
It was just last year that their mother and I separated. While I try to make their events and often have throughout the years, it feels more important, more necessary to make it to each of them now. Its not easy. In years past, their mother and I would divide and conquer at times when we both couldn’t make it to one or another event.
These days to me, we do not feel like a team (understatement) but doing better than a few months ago. It feels to me even more necessary to be there. Our kids world was a rug pulled out from under them last year. I’m doing everything I can to show them I am there.
To do this I have had to go non stop from sun up to late in the night after they have gone to bed. I’ve been getting about 6 hours of sleep per night after very full days.
For me, that is not enough.
There was a time in my life when I was in the military and later in college when I also worked full time, I could get by on 5-6 hours a sleep per night. I drank dozens of cokes per day back then too. My caffeine and sugar consumption was through the roof.
Twenty some years later, I am a lot healthier. I consume the equivalent of about two coffee’s worth of caffeine in total per day. One caffeine pill in the morning and one tea per day.
I’m kind of taking a mental inventory here as I write this. Its like a systems status check I have to run on myself each day, throughout the day.
I wake up and take a systems status check.
-Am I awake?
-Am I awake enough?
-Am I happy?
-Am I depressed?
-Am I feeling anxiety?
-Am I hungry?
These are a few of the status checks I need to run through. As a single father of three, I need to make sure I am awake and mentally healthy and happy. I’ve got kids to care for and raise. To do my best by them, I need to be in a good place for each of these.
It’s just a starting place.
I feed myself. I take supplements. I take a 200 mg caffeine pill in the morning. I get moving. I get the kids fed, and drive them off to school.
Lately, after dropping my youngest off, the last stop on the road usually, I find myself near Crowder’s Mountain. I’ve been hiking or running the mountain several days a week. Its not a long hike, but I generally take the steep trail to the top.
I seek out things or themes of beauty on my way up. This and nature and the exercise ground me and uplift me spiritually. I often do sun salutes at the top of the mountain as well.
Afterwards, I race back home, shower, and try to make it to yoga in the morning when I can. If I can’t I try to make it in the evening.
Yoga is an excellent way for me to stay in shape physically. Even more it helps clear my mind and allow me to find inner peace and take on my day with a level of focus and calm that I can’t get to through any other activity or practice.
I rediscovered yoga a year ago after the separation and it has helped save me. It has helped heal me. It has helped me grow and open up and become myself again.
I can’t make it to yoga as often as I would like. Its essential to me.
It is odd that I cannot always do something so essential and necessary to my own happiness and success. I am trying. 🙂
After morning yoga, I get to work. At this point, I have already been up and constantly doing things for about 6 hours.
As I write this, I glance at my daughter. She is ten years old and about to turn eleven this Saturday. She’s taking a break from the water on a folding chair by the pool. The pool is crowded with people.
She suffers from anxiety among other things. She takes medication for anxiety. She needed to be at the pool and play, but this small little apartment complex pool is great when its her and 2-3 friends but there are thirteen people she doesn’t know in the water and 4 others out taking breaks themselves. She wants to be here, but I can see she is also a bit overwhelmed.
Its ok. This is her call. She is learning to understand herself. She is learning her boundaries. She is observing and living vicariously at the moment through strangers. She does this and has done this her entire life. She may process this afternoon for weeks even.
As a single father with 50% custody, I value every minute of every day with my children. I have to. Last year I lost half of their remaining childhood. Those are days that I am unlikely to ever get back.
Yes, I suffer from anxiety too in case that wasn’t obvious. I do not take medication for it. In fact, I haven’t opened the letters from my health insurance company in three months. Three months ago, I was only three months behind on my health insurance payments, paying what I could. At this point, I have no idea if I even have health insurance, but I know I owe them a lot of money! Some day…
A few days ago, I wrote something beautiful. I was in a very good place. I’m not far off that place today, but its not a level that I can currently sustain everyday. I have my highs and lows. This too is part of my systems status check.
-Am I up today?
-Am I down today?
-Am I depressed? Anxious? Manic a bit?
-Am I in a zen place and serene and connected to the world?
-Am I caught up in my own head and maybe not in a place to do my best today?
I saw a therapist weekly until December. She semi-retired and my insurance changed and I was in a good place and thought I’d see if I had healed enough to wrap up my first ever in my life therapy experience. Six months later and I think that I am healed for what I went there for, but probably need therapy for other challenges.
My personal life is better. My broken relationship and the pain and wounds it created is behind me. I am still dealing with scars, and going through the mental equivalent of physical therapy, but that is in the past. I have even found a new relationship and love with an amazing woman who is part of my present. I do not take this relationship for granted and stay in the present all the time.
My professional and business life is going through a birthing process. My girlfriend uses a term or concept called rebirthing. I think my career is going through a rebirth. I’m experiencing (like a baby) birthing pains. This week in fact, it feels like I am stuck in the middle of a contraction and a doctor is reaching in with steel tongs, like the type used to move logs around in a fire, and the doctor is grabbing me by the head with the tongs, hooking them in my ears and nose just a bit to get a better grip, and pulling, and tugging and twisting and sometimes shoving me back in a bit to try and then twist and maneuver me around again.
I’m in the midst of rebuilding my business of ten years. I’m in the midst of feeling out whether or not I am going to make a complete career or business change or both.
I had a great year in business last year right up until the separation. The wheels came off the rails a bit for several months after. I managed to pull together a decent end of the year.
This spring has not been great. It has not been easy. I have been rebuilding and reworking everything. I’m doing this because what I have done is not working for me in the present on many levels.
Some of the work I do is awesome for me and lifts me up. Some of the work I do right now is thinning my soul.
I learned about 12 years ago that whenever I find myself doing something that wears my soul thin, its time to make a change. Soul thinning work is not sustainable work. It can pay well for a while, but always invites a system crash eventually.
I’m on borrowed time right now.
My personal life crashed last year. I’m working hard to avoid having to repeat a career / business crash as I transition into something new.
Each task of each project that I take on right now, invites a quick analysis of whether or not it
-is a positive thing for my client?
-is a positive thing for me?
-is a positive thing for others?
-is it something that manages a negative?
-Am I helping a client maintain or minimize something negative?
-Am I maintaining or minimizing my own negative?
-Am I doing something that maintains or minimizes the negatives of others?
Managing negatives is part of life and business. Sometimes there are things that just come with the territory. Paying our share of taxes can be viewed this way. We rarely see paying taxes as a positive, even when it helps society and us indirectly. We do not look at taxes like a donation. We look at it as something to be managed or minimized.
There are other things like this in business as well. Managing past due debt in business. Maybe helping nurse a friend or family member back from sickness. Minimizing the amount of driving we have to do during a commute. These would be managing negatives.
There are some things that are just positives.
Helping clients earn more revenue. Helping clients earn more profits from their revenues. Helping people setup and launch a new business. Helping a friend or family member find a new way to be healthy or happy or successful by sharing an insight or lesson that helped us and when requested we share and it helps them.
As an example, two days ago a neighbor was having trouble finding a place to take a vacation. They were not having any luck renting a place for the week. We were talking about it and I shared that Air BnB was a great place to find great deals on places and do so with real people, not just a faceless corporation. These often included extras that you might not find elsewhere like free access to bikes, and kayaks or paddleboards at a beach and much more.
They found a great place and even made contact with the owner of a property and are very happy for the experience. Plus they saved money too.
I’m working to add more positives into my business and limit, reduce or remove the negative management work. I’ve done that latter for years and decades even. I’m not in a personal place where this serves me anymore. Someone has to do it. I’ve done my time. Someone else can work it for now.
But my bank account that is very close to being negative helps me to focus on the fact that I need the work, I need the business. This is the danger period for me.
I need to be selective about future work and projects to avoid soul thinning activities and avoid a crash but also FIND work and projects that keep my bank account from crashing.
I need to find things that help me achieve and maintain the feeling of abundance that I have in my personal life, in my business and my finances. I need this to feel easier and not like a birthing process out of a medieval torture chamber.
I know that feeling of easy abundance and captured it and held it for days the other day. It sustained me, but I need to extend this into my business and career.
Time to do the hard thing…
Time to move easily to the next thing. Its time to leave the pool for now, feed my kids dinner and head to evening yoga.
I’m close to where I need to be in spirit, but my words above illustrate that I’m not where I really need to be.
I will get there. I’m doing good things for myself. I’m building a positive future for my children.
I will get there.
If you have made it this far through my post, I suspect you are getting there too. You will get there. I’m looking forward to witnessing our journey together and feeling the good of more and more people doing good things for themselves.
Time to go wrap up this particular day and end it awesome.
its been a good day, a good week and its only Wednesday. I can’t imagine how much better it will feel and get, but it is going to be impressive!