There are certain moment’s in any Dad’s life where you pause to reflect on the things that are going on in your life. I find I take pause when certain milestones have hit in the past such as moving, taking on a new job, starting this website, reading certain books but most times it passes quickly. I do have certain thoughts remain but nothing to the extent I felt now that my son is turning two.
I have gone through multiple birthdays with my daughter, she will be seven shortly, but I haven’t really stopped to explore how things are going in my life that thoroughly. Although, since my daughter’s last birthday I have quit drinking, moved cities and started a new job. It may be different when the time comes but past birthdays I didn’t think about that much.
My son’s second birthday has been different. As I watched him run around the yard, just smiling and enjoying life, the only thing I can think of is how much time I have spent wasting mine. I wasted it drinking, I wasted it being less than my best self, I wasted it by not making as much money as I could and I wasted not living the life I should have been all along.
My son didn’t care what anyone thought about. He was busy, doing or running or even thinking, he was enjoying his birthday, chasing bubbles. He was unknowingly teaching me a very important lesson; it showed how much fun he was having because he was oblivious to how others felt about him. I need to do this more and over the past year, and especially after reading No More Mr. Nice Guy, I started to care less about how people thought about me. Letting go of this has been one of the more important things I have been able to do.
I have spent so much have my time throughout my life, in my relationships whether they be with a woman or a work relationship consistently being concerned about how people feel about me. I recall in high school approaching girls and just stumbling over my words, simply due to the fact that I was so nervous about what they thought about me before I even opened my mouth, I sabotaged myself right away. The same thing would happen in my work life, I would be summoned by one of my bosses and the first thought that went through my mind was what did I do wrong, are they going to fire me, how would I make money. This was my mindset every time I did the long walk to their office.
I always had psyched myself out, usually it was a file review note or commending me for doing something well. I was so convinced I could feel my heart pounding out of my chest just for something that ended up being so inconsequential. Now that I look back, these over reactions really had a damaging effect on my psyche, it was a disgusting feeling.
Fast forward to today, I could count on one hand the number of fucks I give. That was a pretty cliché saying, but I have really started not to care about what people think of me. I don’t live my life searching for the approval of others, they either approve of the way I am or they don’t, I am going to keep living my life the same way.
Over the last year, my life has changed substantially. I have quit drinking (note that it took me months to actually quit drinking; guess why, I cared about what people thought of me if I stopped drinking. Would they think I was a loser, was I an alcoholic before, who was I if I wasn’t drinking, all questions that now as I look back don’t matter because I made the decision for me and me only). I have begun the processing of getting myself out of debt (which could have been fixed years before if I wasn’t worried about admitting that I had a financial problem, because I was concerned of how people thought about me and my debt).
Needless to say, I have made significant changes in my life over the last year and it has taken something like my son’s second birthday for me to stop and really think back about how far I have come. To watch my boy run through the front yard, not giving a shit has inspired me to continue the way I am going.
Take a second to think about it after you are done reading this, how would my life be different if I stopped worrying, even a little bit about how others think of me. Your mind will be a little clearer and the weight on your back will be a little less heavy.