I have realized that having big yearly themes was critical to making huge improvements in my life and forcing me to be patient.
I am impatient. Always have been and maybe always will be.
Impatience works for some things...little things like speeding up, hustling, getting people to get moving and big things like getting fed up enough with poor circumstances that you set about making changes.
But huge issues take time to resolve. And huge improvements take time to accomplish.
Understand this and it becomes easier to accomplish your huge goals and visions of how your life should be.
From James Altucher
"Have a theme. You can build your days around your themes."
James idea of living your life by themes, instead of goals is discussed part way down the article.
I did not really accomplish anything this year and for many of the prior years. My wife's verbal abuse was getting worse each year. I don't really want to get into the specifics now but it was quite a bad year for me.
I mostly just tried to survive.
I had been reading articles and books about verbal abuse for the last year or so. I would snatch time at work on the internet to read. I would stop at the library to read a chapter on my way home.
I could not check out a book or leave articles lying around. She would fly into a rage. So all this reading I did in what little spare time I had.
I had checked with 3 friends about how they were doing after ending long term relationships. They all said they had never been happier and were really enjoying their lives. That gave me some hope that I would be OK.
But I still stayed until I finally left her on June 23, 2007.
It was awful but I survived.
The kids were with their mother, so I had a lot of free time. I started lifting weights. I got too exuberant and hurt my right shoulder. I could barely move it. Just using a pencil was almost impossible.
I never went to the doctor. My health insurance was horrible and I did not want to deal with the massive co-pays and extra medical bills.
I just healed myself with gentle exercise and rest.
It took take many months of slow, persistent and gentle effort to heal my shoulder. I still have to be careful with it.
In the meanwhile I did everything heavy with my left hand and arm.
I went on dates, I went out. I had fun. I read dating books and websites. I was still using credit cards and my financial problems from the divorce had not hit me hard yet.
I did a lot of writing. I spent weekends writing rather than going out. I stayed up late and got up early to write. All my spare time was spent writing.
I started and ended various websites. I put my books for sale on Amazon.
I got comfortable with all this.
When I was in college computers were just starting and I hated them. I felt stupid. They were difficult to use. I was smart and educated except for computers. All the cliches came out, I was too big and stupid to use them. I am just a country boy, too stupid to understand computers. In my mind, I was stupid because I could not understand how to use them. I would spend hours working on a program only to lose all my work trying to save it before the computer lab closed at midnight.
But now the computers are so much more user friendly. I don't fear them or feel stupid around them. Even though I don't get everything and still make a lot of mistakes.
I took my son to live with me on December 13, 2010.
My daughter ran away from her mother on June 16, 2011.
I had been a poor, but carefree bachelor since June 2007. I did what I wanted as I could afford it, when I wanted. I only saw the kids briefly and when I did see them we did something fun. We went swimming in the summer and rented movies all winter. Normally a pizza party.
But the carefree life I was leading stopped when I both kids could no longer deal with the massive problems of their mother. They left her for the same reason I left her.
I became a full-time dad with a full-time job and 2 kids.
Thank goodness they are so wonderful.
The terrible economy caught up to me in January 2012. I was laid off for 10 weeks. There was just no work.
This was the classic hard work, decent pay, work is everything type of job. But the boom time, when it seemed like I could work unlimited overtime and still not get all the projects done, ended. There was no work. Nobody wanted or could afford what we did.
I started applying for new jobs. But a bad economy means not only your job is no longer needed, but lots of jobs are not needed.
So kept at the job search all year. Finally landing a job in the fall. I started on November 4, 2012.
It took an enormous amount of effort and persistence to get this job. But it was worth it. This is my dream job. So I hope to keep this job until I retire. I just don't know how long I will need to keep working.
This was a huge year for me. It started right away when I used the cash from my last jobs retirement to improve my life right away.
We were living in a $700 per month, second story, 2 bedroom apartment. I had the small bedroom. My two teenagers, a boy and a girl, shared the large bedroom.
Yeah, it was tight and not good. But they never complained about it.. NEVER. What good kids.
But their mother was constantly coming over to our place, bothering us and bothering our neighbors. I think one neighbor moved because of it.
The police were over a lot dealing with her. I was at my wit's end.
Every day I worried about what she would do next.
My quality of life was good in so many ways except for the massive problem of constantly having to deal with my ex-wife.
My dad suggested we move something else. The arrangement was not good.. There was only the one door with the steps up. We were trapped.
He said you need to find a place on the first floor with 2 doors so she cannot just sit at one door trapping you.
So I did.
Our apartment house neighbors had the normal problems that apartment house dwellers had...abuse, drugs, excessive drinking, pit bulls, out of control teenagers, eviction...walking past a crazy lady, they just took that in stride.
I still had money from the retirement fund. I wanted a 3 bedroom for us anyway
I found a $1,050 per month, 3 bedroom, side by side duplex with a front and back door.
He was right. Moving was the key to dealing with her but I did not know it at the time.
We didn't tell her right away where we moved to, but she found out and started coming around all the time.
The new neighbors did not tolerate her. These were normal people who wanted to live in a peaceful area, not have to see a crazy woman hanging out in the street or standing at our front door for hours at a time demanding that we let her in.
They called the police numerous times and the police were threatening me that I had to do something. The landlord was insisting I do something because the neighbors were complaining to him.
I felt horrible about this. Always dealing with the police. Everyone mad at me because of my ex-wife. In danger of getting evicted.
I got a restraining order against her. Even that was difficult. The courts do not want to help you. But I was persistent. I did not take no for an answer. It was many months of back and forth on all this stupid nonsense. I just wanted her to leave me alone. I was not asking for much.
The court finally gave me the restraining order.
She came over anyway and was arrested. She has been forced to be on medication and now she is quite meek and mild.
She used to be a terror.
But now I have a life.
My dad died February 14, 2014. It was a huge loss to our family even though he was very sick in the last year or two of his life.
I expected that he would not live a long time, but we had hope.
He was on chemotherapy for the last few months.
I was helping him and my mom as much as I could, taking them to some of his doctor appointments especially in the worst weather.
It really helped that I have such a good quality of life job with good sick leave benefits to help a person who is helping a sick family member.
But he died anyway and there is an enormous hole in our families lives.
My dad is who we counted on to help us. His checkbook was open. His heart was open. His mind was open. He was always willing to bend his back to help.
He was who we called on to help. With our dad, you did not need anyone else. He was the person you called in the middle of the night and he would come running.
I don't know who I would call anymore.
Yes, he was that good. And we all fear what we will do if we need that type of care.
Now he is not there to not that.
So I try to help my family with the things he normally helped with.
I especially am trying to help my mom un-complicate her life with all the entanglements an ambitious man like my dad gets into over a lifetime of doing.
In August 2015 I had 8 different debts:
The only bill I enjoyed paying is for the truck even though it is a very big monthly payment (nearly $500 a month).
4 of those bills were not even for me. The dental bill was for my son, the repair bill was for my ex-wife, the car was for my daughter and the IRS is an old debt due to the financial problems with my ex-wife.
But today I only have 3 bills left to pay.
Now my bills look like this
At my current payment plan I should have the credit card paid off by spring 2016, the IRS paid off by fall 2016 leaving me with just the truck payment.
have made tremendous progress on my debt reduction theme this year with a
plan in place to pay off 2 more in a year and the truck the following
I started this theme in 2014 by beginning to eat better, starting Testosterone Replacement Therapy, getting on a thyroid prescription and taking several supplements.
I continued to walk and do some heavy lifting.
But my weight has remained stagnant.
I just joined a gym.
My plan is do steady state cardio for up to an hour several days a week.
I will let you know how it goes
Instead of sticking your head in the sand about how long things take...just understand it and deal with it.
Of course, once you get better at accomplishing big things, it does not have to take a whole year. But when you are just starting to make improvements, give it some time.
Reflect on your big yearly themes and take some time to create themes for your life.