Sixty days. I can’t believe it has already passed, yet it feels like it has also been six months since I started this self-imposed challenge to find myself once more. Today was Day 60 and I’ve done so much of what I wanted to do in those two months, yet find myself craving more from life than I have in a long time.
I started this challenge because I had somehow become, more or less, bitter about most things in life. Incredible heartbreak made me bitter about love. Serious surgeries and the inability to remain physically healthy made me bitter about fitness and health. The loss of best friends made me bitter about both friendships and business. Getting tricked and manipulated made me bitter about helping other people. The list was much longer than that; those were the main ones.
But see… None of those things actually made me bitter. I let myself become bitter. I let myself forget one simple life truth: life sucks. For everyone. It’s full of pitfalls, and challenges, and negativity, and heartache, and unhelpful people, and hurt, and deception, and pain. It’s full of bad things and hard things and crappy things. For everyone. No matter how easy or well-going it may seem.
I also forgot another simple life truth: life is amazing. For everyone. It’s full of accomplishment, and health, and prosperity, and love, and kindness, and opportunity, and positivity, and friendship, and joy. It’s full of good things and fulfilling things and wonderful things. For everyone. No matter how difficult or challenging it may seem.
The difference in all of it for every person alive is what parts of life they choose to dwell on, how they let both the good and the bad affect them, and how quickly they shake aside the hard parts of life to remain focused on the good parts instead.
God. I had done so well with it. I had pushed myself to such a happy, healthy, and positive place. The bitterness just kind of crept in over time, somehow, until my happiness, health, and positivity was more or less gone.
Sixty days. That was the challenge I gave myself. I wanted to find myself in 60 days.
I sat down and made a list of what it would take in 60 days to make that happen.
Part 1: I had to get my health back. I had to lose that extra weight. I had to fall in love with fitness again. I had to train my body to crave healthy food and habits.
Part 2: I had to do something for myself that I haven’t done for fear, or money, or whatever. Something just for me, no matter what anyone thought.
Part 3: I had to do something awesome for my mental health.
Part 4: I had to do something awesome for my emotional health.
Part 5: I had to do something awesome for my spiritual health.
Part 6: I had to clean out any parts of my life that brought about more negativity than positivity. Anything that fed my bitterness had to go.
Part 7: I had to bring back parts of my life that once brought positivity but for one reason or another weren’t there anymore.
Sixty days. I chose that time period because it was the length of the Insanity workout program, and it just seemed like a good timeline and goal.
Part 1: I killed Insanity. I didn’t miss a single workout, and believe me, sometimes I had every reason to. But… from the beginning, it was so important to me to never miss a day of it, no matter what. This meant I had to do my workouts on the days I moved. This meant I had to do it on my birthday. It meant I had to do it when I was sick. It meant I had to do it when I was in Vegas for the World Series of Poker (all 9 days!). It meant I had to do it on those days where the day got completely away from me. It meant I had to do it no matter what. And somehow… I did. I pushed myself hard, and I got way stronger.
Food, well I nailed that, too. I began cooking healthy meals for myself and for Noah. I rid my home of all junk food. I began taking food with me when I knew I wouldn’t have easy access to healthy food. I started diving into amazing and healthy recipes. I cut all alcohol out. Completely. I turned people down when they tried to stuff unhealthy food into my mouth. Have you ever tried to eat perfectly for an extended amount of time? People really do attempt to sabotage you left and right. They make fun of you. They tease you about it. It’s really weird. But, hey. Somehow… I did it. I fueled my body properly, kept junk out of it, and I got way healthier. I lost bunches of pounds. I’ll share the before and after along with final results next week. I have the final Insanity fitness test on Monday that I want to complete first.
Part 2: I took a big risk and went down to participate in The World Series of Poker even though it seemed so far out of reach in so many ways. I already told you about that. I will never regret it. It did as much to boost me in the right directions as exercise and eating right did. It was a much needed reminder that I am as capable and awesome as anyone.
Part 3: I began studying 5-6 days a week. I learned a new word every day (thus my awesome new “Word of the Day” posts on Single Dad Laughing’s Facebook page.) But I also began studying other things. I began learning skills that would help me in everyday work and personal life. I taught myself a couple things that would save me money moving forward now that I have the skills to do those things myself. I educated myself, I did it often, and it was a much needed reminder of how much I always don’t know, and how much my daily life can be affected in great ways by learning new simple things.
And apart from working my brain muscles, I also moved. I got a new place that was so much quieter. My mind has already healed so much. It still gets overstimulated here and there, but most of the time it’s just at peace. It’s wonderful. Mentally healing completely will take time, and possibly a lot of time. I’m okay with that. I’m at a place where it can happen now, and that’s what’s important.
Part 4: I believe my bitterness was both emotional and spiritual. I dove into the bitterness head-on and began journaling anew all the ways I could look at life in new and wonderful ways. I think this is the area I have much work left to do. I still haven’t shaken all the bitterness the way I had hoped. I think it will take time and more good things happening due to my new positive zest for life.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. I am so much less bitter than I was 60 days ago, but I keep getting reminders that there is much room to grow. For example, literally minutes before writing this blog post, I cracked open a book that I haven’t cracked open in a year and a half. This fell out.
Renewed bitterness hit me when it fell onto my lap. It was from the girl who broke my heart so badly that it still hurts. Just seeing that note filled me with something I didn’t like; at all.
I was going to dive into dating to counteract the bitterness, too. I was going to get over the bad taste I had in my mouth and jump back in. I didn’t. I didn’t even come close. The thought of dating and <gulp> love is really scaring me for some reason. That’ll be my next big challenge. I know that. I want it. I want love. I want deep friendship that comes from love. I want all of it, and I’m never going to get it if I don’t shake this.
But my emotional health is on the right track now, too. It’s going in the right direction. Sixty days of looking for positivity, journaling, and looking for opportunity to spread happiness… all of it has helped.
Part 5: Spiritual health. I don’t believe in God. I don’t disbelieve in God, either. I just don’t like the thought of a big bearded guy in the sky controlling everything and talking to only a select few who get to tell us all what God is saying and that most of the world is doing everything wrong.
That being said, I cannot deny that there is something deeper than all of us at work. There is something flowing through all of us. Whether it is a soul inside me or just the feeling of all energy being connected, I don’t know and will never know. I do know that it needs to be nurtured, and fed, and that it has the power to affect everything, both for the good and the bad.
So, I’ve been trying to do just that. I began meditating. I began thinking of all the good things I want in my life. I began closing my eyes and trying to feel the love in the air around me. I began mending old tears in the fabric of my existence. The more I did it, the more that connected-energy (or my soul) has craved more.
I also have opened up my thinking (after reading You are a Badass by Jen Sincere, which I highly recommend) to the possibility that there could be a God. I didn’t start believing in God. I just opened up my thinking more. And she was right. That was a good thing for me to do, simply because it helps me not think negative thoughts about the whole thing.
Overall, I feel I’ve barely scratched the surface of my spiritual health journey. I just began experimenting with recorded daily affirmations and other such things. I think it will only bring goodness and less bitterness to my life. If my spirit, or my energy, or my soul, or whatever it is inside of me that I have undoubtedly felt my entire life, can be at peace, then the bitterness will fade completely. I believe that.
Part 6: This was a tough one. I really didn’t have too many majorly unhealthy parts of my life left. I didn’t have too many unhealthy people left. I really thought about this one long and hard, and I decided that rather than finding people or habits or things like that, I needed to find ways I was wasting time I could spend being productive, and I needed to patch those areas.
I did that. And it was immediately beneficial to both my daily life and my work.
Part 7: This was harder than I thought it would be. I reached out to a few people from my past who were positive and awesome, but with whom for whatever reason we parted ways. As it turned out, they weren’t as excited about immediately patching things up or jumping back into friendship as I was. I reached out to three people. I more or less got shot down by three people. That hurt.
It also gave me an opportunity to reach inside myself and ask the hard question of why. If I truly believe I am a person worth knowing and worth being friends with, why would some people not want to be?
Truth: I’m not everyone’s cup of tea.
Truth: I sometimes hurt other people just like other people sometimes hurt me.
Truth: It is okay for other people to want me out of their lives just as it is for me to want other people out of mine. It has nothing to do with whether or not either of us are good or desirable people.
Truth: Getting turned down has nothing to do with whether or not I’m valuable, whether or not I’m awesome, whether or not I’m worth knowing, or whether or not the future holds beauty for me.
Truth: It simply is what it is. And I can’t control it.
Sorry, this got way longer than I intended. So much has happened, yet nowhere near enough. I have fixed so much of me, yet have uncovered so many potholes that need patching. My journey is really only beginning again.
What’s important is that I have once again fallen in love with that journey. I have remembered to love myself, faults and all. I have begun to believe in the future. I have taken my health back for myself. I have begun shaking the bitterness tree and much of that rotten fruit has already fallen.
Sixty days was enough to get me on the right track. Now to just keep heading in all the right directions.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing