I have to come clean, and not in the joking way I often do. I mean it. I’ve been lying to everyone, especially myself, for a while now.

Oh, I’ve told most of the truth in pieces, here and there. But I’ve never told the real truth. And the truth is this: I have lost myself almost completely of late.

Two and a half years ago I had worked to make myself legitimately happier than I have ever been. I got myself into the best shape of my life. I found love. Real love. I had the closest friend I had ever had. I had such promising business ventures on the horizon. I was giving my time and talents to others constantly. I felt like I sincerely knew who I was, and I loved me, truly and completely, for the first time in my life. It was a high that I felt would last forever. After all, I had worked so hard for it.

But the universe had other plans. The universe wanted to teach me, apparently, that real happiness is not a destination in life, but something that must be fed and maintained.

I had some serious health problems which required repeated surgeries and I couldn’t work out to maintain what I had worked so hard to achieve. And I became bitter toward fitness and exercise. I gained 20 lbs. And I became even more bitter toward it all.

My heart got broken. Badly. Then broken again. And I became bitter toward love.

I went into business with my best friend, and somehow (in ways I still don’t comprehend) it made our friendship unravel. And I became wary of friendships.

One by one every business venture seemed to collapse. And I became bitter toward opportunity and risk.

Someone who I helped, and loved, and served turned out to be using me, and to be lying, and manipulating. Then another person did the same thing. And I became bitter toward doing good toward others.

And in all that wariness and bitterness…

I lost myself.

I replaced my own happiness with bitterness and wariness.

The universe, and the world, and the people in it didn’t do that to me. I did that to me. This is the great realization that I’ve had recently.

I’ve told you all that my sensory overload disorder is to blame for my lack of blogging. Oh, it is to some degree. I can’t get to that deeper place I used to, and I probably won’t until I can move somewhere quieter, but it was also a convenient scapegoat for the real truth. The truth that is really so simple: I’ve stopped liking myself, and I feel like if I don’t like myself then there’s no reason for anyone else to like me (or anything I write), either. Yes, those ghosts of worthlessness that have followed me my entire life have crept back in, and I started listening to them again. For some damn reason I’ve started listening to them.

I don’t know why or how. I felt invincible before it all hit the fan. I felt impervious to outside forces. And I suppose that was the beginning of my spiral downward. I felt I had arrived and that the work was done, and that feeling of invincibility made me not give time or attention to the negativity creeping in every time a Jenga block got pulled from the once so sturdy tower of happiness I had constructed.

I’m not going to tell you what I could have done or should have done differently. I honestly don’t know how avoidable this depression and feeling of worthlessness might have been had I done anything differently. I really did get sucker punched left and right until I had little left in the tank. Nothing, the way it all went down, could have been avoided. Getting my ass handed to me was simply in the cards for me this past year and a half.

But you know what? It’s not the first time life has kicked me around. And you know what else? I’m not a bitter person. I’m not a negative person. I’m not a failure. I’m definitely not worthless. I just… lost myself for a while. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

And I’m going to find myself again. I’m going to find that happy place I worked so hard to get to once upon a recent time.

Sixty days. That’s my goal. Yep, I’m going to find myself again in 60 days.

Why 60? Well, that just happens to be how long the Insanity Workout Program is, which I started again yesterday (holy smokes it kicked my butt), so it seems like a great timeline to get everything else back in gear as well.

Over the next 60 days, I am going to focus on all the areas of health: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social. I’m going to be far more positive in general and work to eradicate bitterness and negativity from my life once more. I’m going to follow the formula that I know works for me, and I’m going to do it with gusto. I’m going to get my body moving, my mind learning, and my spirit more satisfied.

Most importantly, I’m going to stop blaming the cruel world around me for the hurt and bitterness that I let take over. I’m going to step up and take responsibility for where I’ve stumbled. I’m going to place the journey of my own happiness back onto my own shoulders, where it belongs.

And I’m going to hold myself accountable for it, to all of you, starting now.

Over my lifetime, I have learned that if I can do two things, I can overcome any problem or challenge. First, I have to admit to my part in whatever problems I’m facing. I have to own it, and I have to admit that part to others, aloud. Second, I have to be accountable to someone as I work to overcome it. If someone is expecting me to return and report and succeed, it’s important to me that I don’t let them down.

So, I’m asking all of you to support me, forgive me, love me, and hold me accountable for the next 60 days. I’m going to blog about this 60-day journey as I go. I don’t know how else to do it. I only know I’m excited for it. I’ve now owned my part in it. That’s half the battle. Now to own the rest of my journey to happiness…

Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he's most known for, with more than 2 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It's an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!