There I was, lying on the couch watching a movie when all of a sudden something had a hold of me. I was unable to move. I’d never experienced anything like this in my previous 38 years and I wasn’t sure how I was going to get out of this. As it played out, my beloved beard had managed to get wedged between my arm and my chest just in that crease commonly known as the armpit. With equal sprinklings of delight and confusion, I wiggled free of my conundrum and continued on with my evening. Happening more frequently as the months went by it brought upon many thoughts about situations I never expected to find myself in. This is my story of self improvement.
I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said “I don’t even know who I am anymore.” If you’re following my quest to quit alcohol for a year, you’ll know I’ve been making some pretty drastic life changes and like always, I’m asking myself all the big questions and analysing my every move. Follow me as I unravel some of the tastier changes of late and things I never thought I’d do.
Spending Quality Time Getting My Hair Done
Ok, so this isn’t a huge one, especially since I think I’ve clean shaved once in my whole life but I wasn’t prepared or expecting that I’d be the guy to schedule regular professional trims nor have a specific personal beard grooming regime. These days I’ll quickly tell stories while my eyes sparkle just thinking about my last trip to the salon. I’ve never given two hoots about my appearance but there’s something about my beard that makes me feel like I’m home, like I’m more ‘me‘ with a beard. No matter how much I analyse that, I still cannot make sense of it but the longer she grows the more me I feel.
Giving Up Full Time Work
Dad has always commented on the work ethics of my brother and I. We’ve always had the desire to work and contribute and neither of us have never really not worked. He was 10 and I was 8 when we both got our first paper round and we’ve had jobs ever since so when the idea came about that I would give up full time work and be the stay at home Dad, it took some time for me to get used to the concept.
I hit some pretty dark moments to get here. I’ll dive into those a little further in a future post. But it totally feels like a shift in priorities. People say that you don’t lay on your deathbed wishing you worked more. You should spend time doing things you want to do. Thing is, I love to work so that’s what I did. Especially when I ran my own bike shop business. Now it feels like work, and making money has to fit in around a free spirit lifestyle. I’m no longer working to live. I’m living first.
No alcohol for a year
I very clearly remember an old boss saying to me, “You’ll stop drinking one day. Other things will become more important” just as I remember dismissing his comments and drinking some more. This was definitely in the thick of my alcoholism and something I probably needed to but was not ready to hear. It was another 5 or so years before that message got through albeit only partially. And now in the year 2020, I am sober 70+ days and it’s going well. Never did I think this would happen.
Sports were never my thing and striving to be the best at anything never got my attention. I was happy to fade into the background because the spotlight was terrifying. In high school athletics an apparent natural athletic ability was squashed by not wanting to put in the work to stay at the pointy end of the field. Later on when BMX racing was my thing, again that extra little bit of effort was just too much to sustain in order to get higher placings. Not even a solid work ethic had me concerned with first place.
These days however, with the introduction of Australia Ninja Warrior into the playing field, I am a new person. Training is now a daily thing. Decisions are based on if they help or hinder my goals. Living is much more healthy, giving up booze and altering my diet. I’m constantly studying how to be a better version of myself.
Health & Fitness
Being competitive would not have come about had I not previously begun a life of health and fitness. “Lifting stuff just seems dumb” Then something changed and I gave it a shot. Years of BMX provided great body awareness so some good gains early on had me hooked. Gradually, daily life changed forever. The first thing I noticed was my endurance; I could go for much longer. Soon thereafter my scrawny little arms became not so scrawny. I don’t think I’ll ever be big but people were starting to notice and comment. While chasing heavier weights, more endurance or new skills became a thing. Now I can dig more holes, lift washing machines and carry the weeks groceries inside in one trip.
Extravert or Introvert?
A shift from incredibly introverted to somewhat extroverted happened when I started my own bike shop. It was easy to see that a quiet, shy & reserved bloke wasn’t going to connect with customers let alone sell them anything so I looked at ways to come out of my shell. Alongside a quest for better mental health, I learned many things about connecting with people, something that has never come naturally to me. Very few people believe me now when I say I’m introverted.
Change is possible (and probable)
Making change in your life is possible and is the reason I’ve written this piece. Priorities shift and what we experience varies and thus, change is inevitable. Even things that we never think possible become oddly possible. Creating goals, learning what is important to you and why all help guide your life to where you hope to be and sometimes even better places.