I Have Good Days and I Have Bad Days

I should start by saying that I started this blog for very different reasons than I had when I started my Spanish blog.  The Spanish blog is intended, although not always successfully done, to chronicle my progress in becoming fluent in the language and discuss matters more or less directly related to learning the language.  As I said, I am not always successful in staying on topic, but every entry serves to further my grasp on the language.  At least, that’s my hope.  This blog, on the other hand was not meant to be educational, inspirational, or in any way helpful to other people.  This blog was always intended to be for my own personal source of venting.  Obviously, it’s out there for the public to see, but my real use for it is simply to have an outlet to release my feelings when I am unable to communicate with people face to face.  Yes, it has a psudo-theme in that it focuses on my 30’s, but I imagine come April 24th, 2021 I will still have things to say and while I may need to change the title, the theme will more or less carry on.  Were I as dedicated to this blog as I was at one time to my Spanish blog, I would have hundreds of entries already, however, because this blog tends to hover over more personal issues, I find myself restrictive when it comes to putting it all out there.  Yes, sometimes I reveal a lot of personal stuff, and sometimes I find it better to keep that stuff to myself, even if no one really cares all that much one way or the other.

In any case, I come here tonight for several reasons.  1) I have not written here in sometime and I certainly don’t want to give up on this blog.  2) I have not written anything substantial in English for a long time and I feel I need a little breather from the Spanish, if only for a little while.  3) Sometimes the things I need to say don’t translate well in Spanish and I need to let it out here.  4) Despite having made no point whatsoever thus far in this entry, I do have some things to say and I need to get on with saying them.  That being said, let’s go.

When I say I have good days and I have bad days it’s really just my way of finding a catchy title to put on this entry.  I mean, we all have good and bad days, and to be fair, they aren’t usually so clearly labeled.  That is to say, one day is not typically all good while another is all bad.  No, in reality, most of us just have days, and while the amount of good may vary with the amount of bad, for the most part, we just have to get on with our lives.  For me, today started off great.  I was woken up by a text message earlier than I wanted to be awake, but I decided to get out of bed and get a move on with my day instead of trying to force myself back to sleep.  I had made a list of things I wanted to get done and was proud when I had most of it done before noon.  I went grocery shopping, I did my laundry, I got a hair cut, and I went to the gym.  These are all things I should do on my day off but often times find myself avoiding for various reasons.  But no, today I was in a groove and happy to be getting things done.  Unfortunately, things took a down turn after the gym.  I decided to lay down for a bit, as I was quite worn out from the gym, and I planned on getting up and going to dinner and a movie with one of my friends tonight.  I woke up after an hour or so and felt gross.  Often I get stomach aches after going to the gym, partly I believe because I drink protein mixed with milk after I workout.  I think it may be a little tough on my stomach.  No matter the cause, I decided I didn’t want to go out tonight, which, for a normal person is perfectly acceptable, but for me, because I’m neurotic, I feel guilty cancelling plans with my friends because 1) I don’t see them very often, and 2) They have come to expect I will back out of plans all the time.  I don’t like cancelling plans with them and I always feel guilty afterwards.  I had a number of things weighing on my mind aside from simply having a stomach ache, and all of it lead to my decision to stay in tonight.

Before I go on further with why I am not particularly cheerful tonight, I should at least point out that for the most part, I have been unusually happy since making my decision to go to Spain next year and I knew full well that I couldn’t keep it up forever, but I have been receiving a great deal of support from Pattie, my boss’s wife, who is really pushing me to take this trip.  In fact, just the other day, I received something in the mail from her that was a bit unexpected.  She had written me a thank you note, which seemed odd as I felt I should be the one thanking her, but she said that she writes a thank you note to someone in her life every week and I was her choice this week.  It made me feel good to know I actually have people out there who think of me even when we don’t see or talk to each other all that often.  I have the card here beside me on my desk/kitchen table and I have been reading it over and over any time I feel a bit discouraged.  The problem is, much of the discouragement comes from her husband, my boss.  I find it incredible that the two of them are almost exact opposites.  She is friendly, outgoing, kind, and warmhearted with a fiery passion for everything she does.  She has a temper that rivals my own but it only goes to show how intense she is about life.  John, on the other hand, is typically quiet, stoic, and rather cold when it comes to emotions.  He doesn’t show gratitude for many things and often the only type of feedback I receive is negative.  He expects that his employees will do a good job, so he rarely goes out of his way to show that he appreciates it, and often I feel like my best is simply never enough for him.  It took a great deal of soul searching on my part to see that I had been, whether consciously or not, following his example and leading my life in a similar fashion for many years now.  He is content with very little in his life and shows no desire to see any part of the world other than the road that leads him to and from his business.  I wrote an entry long ago about how I was content to live my life here, never traveling abroad or seeing other parts of the country or the world, and while yes, I am more or less a simple guy who is happy with simple things, the truth is, there is a big world out there and saying I didn’t want to see it was actually my way of covering my fear of living my life.

I have talked before about fear, and it is a difficult topic to tackle.  I used fear as an excuse not to do many things throughout my life.  I used fear to say I didn’t want to go to college, I used fear to say I was afraid of flying, I used fear to say I was afraid to change jobs, but the truth is, I was not afraid of those things, I was afraid of living my life.  Yes, I can say I fear flying, but that’s an excuse not to do more exciting things.  I am not afraid of flying, I am afraid to challenge myself, or at least I was.  I have been pushing myself to get over this ridiculous fear and start living a normal life.  I am using this trip to Spain as a spring board to get started on many more things in my life, and I have found that if my boss will not support me on these things, or at the very least compliment me on a job well done from time to time, I am going to have to get myself out of there.  I can not continue to allow myself to be squashed down by a single individual who doesn’t agree with the way the rest of the world lives.  I used to think it was the big mean world that was holding me back and making me feel bad about myself, but it wasn’t.  It was, and still is at times, my boss.  Now, I have to say, in general, he is not a bad person.  He has helped me in times when I needed help, and for that I am forever grateful, but I can not allow moments from the past to prevent me from moving forward in the future.  I have to stop being afraid and that means I have to stop being afraid of his judgments.

It wasn’t until I tried to crawl back up that I realized how far I had fallen.  Just a few months back, right around the holidays, I found myself feeling sadder than I had ever felt.  I was lonely and I felt like I was going to live a hollow and empty life.  Nothing I was doing was making me happy, and there were nights I found myself alone in my apartment, sitting in the dark wanting nothing more than to break down and cry, and then I did.  It didn’t happen all at once, but thanks to a number of factors, I was able to pull myself together, get up, and say “no more.”  I had hit the bottom, but I wasn’t going to stay there.  It took conversations with my friends, discussions with people I work with, and a lot of soul searching on my part, but I decided I had had enough.  I wasn’t going to let one person keep me down anymore and I wasn’t going to let these foolish fears prevent me from accomplishing things in my life.  It was then that I told Pattie about my dream of going to Spain and it was then that she began helping me on my journey.  Going to Spain is going to be about a lot more than just taking a plane to another country.  This is going to be a major step in my life and one that will hopefully lead to many more interesting things afterwards.  I still have 12 months to prepare for the trip, and once Pattie is back (she is currently in Hong Kong) I plan on really moving forward with my life.  I don’t want to leave my job, but for the first time since I began working there I feel like I can leave and I will survive.  I used to worry that I would end up homeless, living in a box under a bridge if I quit my job, but with the support of the people around me I have started to see that I can do more than what I am doing and it’s ok to take risks now and again.  I don’t know what will happen over the course of the next 12 months, nor do I have any idea what to expect when I come back, but I imagine my life will be different when all is said and done.  And if that means looking for a new job, so be it.

Going back to where this all started, despite my new found courage, I still have moments of fear and doubt.  Obviously, I can’t become a new person overnight so every now and again I find myself questioning all that I am doing and worrying that it is a mistake.  I listen to Spanish television programs and worry I am not understanding nearly as much as I need to in order to get by in the country for an entire month.  I worry that I am going to go through all of this only to back out at the last moment.  I’ve already done more than most people would have expected from me, so in that sense I am doing alright.  I just hope I can keep it up for the next 12 months.  I have to stop worrying about money and focus on the things I want to do while I am there.  The next year should be an interesting one.  Wish me luck.


~ by James on April 10, 2014.

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