Prompt 115: This is the one thing you’d change about your best friend

I don't have one best friend. I am fortune enough to have a few that check in on me. One calls everyday and another once or twice per week.

The one thing I would change with most of my fiends would be to see them more often. The one that calls once or twice per week I see only a few times per year.

We only live about 20-30 minutes from each other. He's busy with work and his family. It would still be nice to see him more.

My other friend I see about once per month. He's always on the road as a salesman so he can talk on the phone a lot while he's driving in between appointments.

My truest best friends I used to get to see everyday. That was my children. Losing them was devastating. I would desperately want custody back and to see them almost everyday.

I wanted their mother to be my best friend. Her sister would always seem to intervene with anyone in her life that would be closer to her than she was.

We would have disagreements and my ex would say her family or my family. I would always respond I care most about our family.

Looking back in never really felt like we had our own family. Influence from both sides was heavy. I would have loved for us to move somewhere to be able to be ourselves.

She said she couldn't do that to her mother or friends. They always seemed to have priority over me and our children.

The biggest thing I would change is the ability to be in a strong relationship and have my partner be my best friend.

I really hope to find love again. The next time I want to experience what a true best friend and life partner means. I'm often negative but not when it comes to love. I try and believe we all have someone out there to share life with. Someone that loves us for who we are and not what we might become in their mind.

Nothing would bring me greater joy than being able to find that and having my true best friend in my life everyday. I hope to reunite with my children as well.

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Prompt 105: A time you’ve been ashamed of yourself

The time I was ashamed of myself was when I was arrested for trying to reason with a utility worker who came to my house.

One of our utilities was turned off. I thought my then wife had paid the bill and she thought I did. A woman came to our house to reinstate the utility. When she went to turn it back on, she said she was unable to do so.

I tried to reason with the woman. I closed the door to my house and asked the woman can’t we work this out. She called her dispatcher. I immediately opened the door and let her out.

I said some things I now regret. After calling her dispatcher, the police were notified. They came to my house and I was charged with keeping the woman against her will. The entire thing was 30 seconds.

It is something that changed the course of my life. My eventual conviction has kept me from finding work, played a major role in the end of my marriage and likely cost me custody of my children.

One 30 second mistake has influenced the remainder of my life. We all have things in our life we are embarrassed or ashamed of. Many or most don’t have to have it have a major impact on the rest of their life going forward.

I wish potential employers, romantic interests, and the court could look past my mistake. I regret it tremendously. I did not hurt anyone. I hope if someone commits the same mistake in the future they will not be judged as harshly as I was.

We often judge people based on a piece of paper. One action in our life should not define us as a person. We should be judged by the entire sum of our actions throughout our lifetime.

I hope that in the future this will be the case.

Prompt 84: A Moment When you were happy to be the age you were.

The moment I was happy to be the age I was was the first year of my relationship with my ex and the first years after we had our first child, a son.

The moment I was happy to be the age I was the first year of my relationship with my ex and the first years after we had our first child, a son.

I discussed at length in the last post and throughout the blog how much I dreamt of having a family. I still hope to become a writer and dreamt of being a broadcaster growing up and in my twenties, but nothing meant more to me than becoming a husband and father.

The first year of my relationship with my ex and our honeymoon, then three and a half years later when we became parents through right before we had our second was an amazing and special time in my life.

How much do we truly enjoy the special times in life in the moment? Some have a better ability to do that than others. We strive for more money, a bigger house, more friends and especially for a better life for our children.

I loved that time, but probably not enough. I wanted more. I saw others that had more than us and I wanted that. How can we truly be happy if we look at everyone else instead of appreciating what we have?

It’s often hard to see value while we are living life. If we can be happy to be the age we are at a specific time we go a long way towards enjoying life more. That can be a lot easier said than done.

Patrick Stewart’s character Captain John Luc-Picard in Star Trek the Next Generation once spoke about the importance of living in the now and said:

“Time is a companion that goes with us on all of our journeys and reminds us to cherish every moment….After all, We are only mortal.”

Prompt 80: That girl/guy in high school that made you insanely jealous…what about them?

There was not one person, male or female that made me at all jealous in high school that I can remember.

What I was jealous or envious about was that I wanted to be able to date, have a girlfriend and be among the popular students.

This continued through college but to a lesser extent. Although I am outgoing and talk a lot I am also painfully shy. Approaching someone I don’t know, getting involved with a group or people I don’t know or being assertive give fuel to my anxiety.

Whether it had been or is at a singles or networking event, I am often the wallflower. Approaching someone without an introduction or knowing what to say is terrifying to me.

The general jealousy I have and had in high school is people that were and are far more successful than me, are successful and have the things that I want or aspire.

I have never felt comfortable in my own skin. I am envious of people who are. My oldest struggles with that a lot. His sister who is nearly three and a half years younger is almost completely the opposite.

I have never met anyone more innately confident, assertive, comfortable in their own skin and fearless as my oldest daughter. She completely believes in herself and there is nothing in her mind she cannot do.

In high school, the people I was jealous of were those that had a lot of friends, were successful athletically and in other extra circular activities, had the confidence to ask girls out and were invited to parties.

I have felt like an outsider in most situations and groups throughout most of my life. With few exceptions, I don’t fit into many groups. Even within my own family, I am the outsider.

Awkwardness and not fitting in is increasingly becoming more accepted. Celebrating differences will help those that are not rich, successful, heterosexual people that are married with families, or those that don’t fit into what we view as “normal” in high school.

By celebrating these differences, hopefully, no one will ever have to feel insanely jealous of someone else in high school or at any age.

Prompt 75: Complete this sentence “I wish I had ___________” Now write for another 10 minutes about why.

I wish that I had my family intact. Even through divorce, I asked my ex a few times for us to get together as a family. She said we would confuse our kids.

I wish that I had my family intact. Even through divorce, I asked my ex a few times for us to get together as a family. She said we would confuse our kids.

When parents are not together anymore it shows children that you are capable of putting your disagreements aside for them.

Since I was nearly 12 when my parents brought my sister home from the hospital I wanted to become a parent. I didn’t begin my first long-term relationship until I was 33. Meeting my ex-was a dream come true, or at least I thought so at the time.

When we got engaged and then became parents almost three years later, it was the fulfillment of a dream of over 25 years. Becoming a parent and with someone who had a similar dream was incredible. Watching my ex give birth was amazing and as beautiful and amazing as the stereotypes said it would be.

The first three years of our son’s life was amazing. Our life was mostly about us. My ex created what she called a tri-date. It was when the three of us would go out for dinner or take our son somewhere fun.

Creating life and then raising children with the love of my life was something I had always hoped for. Her family would constantly meddle with how things should be done.

Her sister and her entire family, her mom and a friend had to be there when our son was born. Her mom and sister were in the room when he was born. Two nights later her sister and her husband and children and then their mom were at our house when we brought him home from the hospital.

Nearly three and a half years later when we brought our daughter home from the hospital her mom was extremely upset when my parents and brother came over on father’s day, which also happened to be the day we brought child number two home from the hospital.

It seemed as if from that point on it was never about us. “I wish I had a complete family” or at the very least custody of my children.

Prompt Number Nine: What’s the Biggest Leap of Faith You’ve Ever Taken

This is the easiest one I have written from this book so far.

I was dating for two years. Numerous times for various reasons I felt like I should break up with her. I had broken up with other women I had dated or didn’t go out again after a few dates. I knew if probably upset some women and maybe relieved others.

It was different this time. She might have been the first person other than a family member to tell me she loves me. It was fairly quickly only about three weeks after we started dating. Some would say that’s too soon. Some say they know instantly.

I’ve had to learn through some very difficult times that we cannot judge what works best for others. Every time I thought about ending the relationship all I could think about is what would it do to her? I used to ask her how she would feel is something happened to me. Her answer was always devastated.

I couldn’t stand the thought of hurting her. It took me years before I realized how deep my love was for her. All I knew at that time was that my feelings for her and not wanting to be the one to cause her pain was something I could not get past.

It’s often talked about what the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. This will be analyzed for infinity. No one can truly know.

After we had been dating for about 18 months I was given an ultimatum that we had to be engaged by our anniversary or it was over. I wasnt sure I was ready.

At the time we began dating, there was another woman I had waited for two years to ask out. We went out once with a group of mutual friends for drinks at the beginning of the relationship I had with my then girlfriend.

I wasn’t unsure if my girlfriend was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It felt more about not wanting to be without her then wanting to be with her.

There were countless red flags. Her mother (who I got along with for the most part) heard a rumor I was adopted and instead of coming to me or my parents told her daughter. It took a year of therapy for my eventual wife to talk to my mother about it.

Her family treated me and my family extremely poorly. Her sister took offense to everything and often of petty disagreements. I was once kicked out of a family event of their’s because of money I supposedly owed.

I took the leap of faith to ask her to marry me. I always figured once we got married that she would realize what we have should come before anyone else. It never did, often in difficult times, she put everyone else in her life first.

 

Prompt Seven: Write About a Lesson You Learned or an Insight you Gained At the Time, I felt/thought/acted…Now I understand/admit that…

Most of us search our entire lives searching for love, our partner, the person we will share life with and in many if not most cases raise a family with. I thought I had found that in 2001.

All of us have decisions in life that change the course of our life. These are usually big decisions. Where we go to college, where we decide to live, the kind of work we do and who we decide to marry.

Getting there can often involve smaller decisions. Dating was always extremely difficult for me. The advent of the internet gave me far more confidence to date.

In January of 2001 I sat at my computer with my AOL instant messenger box open debating whether or not to send an instant message to a woman. I had grown tired of dating in general and internet dating specifically. I thought what do I have to lose. I sent the message and there was an instant connection.

We messaged for a few days before we spoke on the phone. It would be about two weeks before our first date. I decided to go out on the date with the goal of having fun and not worrying about the future.

My more relaxed attitude probably had a lot to do with the success of the date. We dated for two years and got engaged on the second anniversary of our first date.

We were married for two and a half more years before our first child was born. We went through a lot to get there. She had been sick beginning about eight months into our relationship.

The various illnesses would have changed most people and made them more appreciative of life. It didn’t seem to do either for both us. Ours was the epitome of a love hate relationship.

None of those illnesses compared to what was to come years later.She contacted a life threatening illness. The prospect of losing her made all the fights, arguments and disagreements seem pointless. I cried myself to sleep every night for two months.

One argument that preceded her illness by a month or two seemed particularly pointless.  As we were having a beautiful dinner outside in the summer I had forgotten to boil the corn to go with dinner.

The insight I gained from her illness is that almost all of our of arguments, disagreements and dissension seemed so trivial. Many of us get caught up in the minutiae of everyday life. What class your kids might take, whose family are you going to spend the holidays with or what are you going to eat for dinner.

When she got sick it made everything else feel pointless. In spite of our contentious marriage, I wanted to show her despite her illness I still loved her and hoped we could put the past behind us.

I learned a lot from a heartbreaking situation. Her illness clarified my love for her. More than anything I wanted to show her how much I loved her.

We were not always nice to each other. She would often call me names, particularly in disagreements with her family. I compounded it by teasing her early in the relationship and occasionally saying things about her family that I could have chosen different words for.

It took an inconceivable tragedy for me to realize how fragile life is. The lesson I learned and insight I gained is how fragile love is. What truly is love? How do we nurture a relationship? How do you put your relationship with your spouse/partner first while still keeping those in your life important.

One of the lessons I learned through all this is that the family you create together needs to come first. She would often say in her arguments “my family” “her family” my answer was always what about our family?

The insight I gained is that the importance of a living will, will and life insurance cannot be understated always have a plan in case you cannot speak for yourself.