This is a post that has been brewing in my mind for quite some time.
It’s a reflection on past events that when looked at in isolation seem ok, but when added together paint a different picture entirely.
It’s also a reflection on the pain and suffering I had to endure and the growth and wisdom that I have gained from these experiences.
It’s also a look to the future. A future that I now feel is one of abundance, excitement and optimism.
In February 2011, our first child, Jakes, was born. We were giddy new parents, living in our first home, an apartment near the city, embarking on one of life’s most rewarding yet difficult journeys – being a new parent. I was 34 years old in 2011, having travelled the world and had a steady job, I was ready to settle down for a while and start a family. It was an amazingly rich and humbling experience to witness the second that new life is born into this world and then watch them grow and grow. It’s a privilege.
5 months later, on July 31st 2011, my Dad passed away.
As new life enters the world, existing life often departs. This was a really tough time. Tougher than I even realised at the time.
My Dad was a good man. A solid man with a steady job, always provided well for his 6 kids and wife. Often a grumpy old man, as I believe now, was his right but at his core, he was a good guy. He got on with everyone, enjoyed a few drinks along the way, loved his work, played golf like a man possessed and I’m sure he loved each and every one of his kids but he was not one for showing it. Showing affection, publicly or privately, was not all that common back in those days I guess. Thankfully, that is one aspect of society and family life, especially fatherhood, that has changed for the better today.
My Dads passing really rocked me. It made me question everything. My own mortality. The purpose of my work. My purpose. What am I here for? Am I wasting my precious time in this life? Who am I? Everything.
Over the next 6 years, from 2011 to 2017…
- I bought and moved into a new house
- I took on another 30 year mortgage
- I had 2 more children – one in 2013, another in 2015
- I moved job 5 times in 6 years
- I experienced all of my co-workers being made redundant
- In a different company, I experienced being made redundant myself
- I was diagnosed with depression
- I started taking anti-depressants
- I ran 3 marathons
- I went back to college, part time
- I turned 40 years old
It is only when I reflect on the sum of these experiences collectively that it makes total sense to me that after my Dad passed I began to search for “my purpose” in life – 5 jobs in 6 years is a man searching for something.
As part of that quest, I endured some of life’s major stressful events – having children, moving house, mortgages, redundancy. After enduring stressful event on top of event, I broke down physically and mentally and had to seek help from the medical world. I was completely broken as a direct result of these life events compounding on top of each other in sequence. It is interesting to observe now that most of these events were self inflicted. My decisions.
Now in 2019, with all of these events behind me, I feel I can finally move on.
- I have been stable in a job now for the last 2.5 years and I enjoy it (most of the time)
- We are finished having children
- The kids are more independent now which is making it a little easier
- I am quite close to paying off my mortgage and ridding myself of this long term debt
- Since June 2019, I have stopped drinking alcohol (and it feels amazing)
- Physically I am in great shape and getting better each day/week
- Mentally I feel strong and I have tools now to help me deal with stress better – meditation, exercise, saying no, not caring as much, less debt
- I am heading into my final year in college studying nutritional science – a subject that I find fascinating and exciting
I have a lot to be thankful for and this includes the really tough times. It is from these tough times, that life pushes you outside of your norms and while the hardship at the time is very real, there is learnings to be gained from having gone through the pain.
I would like to dedicate this post to my Dad.
For being the steady ship in my life growing up, for providing a good home for me and my siblings, for making sure I had every opportunity in life, for giving me a good picture of what family life looks like, for instilling in me good values and principles. For being there.
I miss you Dad. I love you. I hope you are well, wherever you are now.
Yours in health and happiness,