The catalyst for me starting a new blog is the break-up of my 12 year relationship with my good friend and wife. We had previously been writing for www.dutyfreeliving.com and made a good go at blogging, lifestyle design and a new way of living. So rather than getting down into the doldrums about a break-up, I thought I’d write a little bit about it. Since the decision was made to separate, I’ve been documenting my feelings and reactions to the whole process. To date (and prior to moving house), these are the key points:
Shock – For me, this was accompanied by a kind of numbness that meant I wasn’t emotional. In this stage I was very clinical and matter of fact. I did, however, lose my appetite completely and gain a new friend which I call an “Anxiety Ball”. Essentially, this was a terrible tension in the stomach area that wouldn’t allow me to focus on anything else except the issue at hand. Most of this lasted about a week from the decision to separate.
Fear – One of my big fears was about the future. I had not given any thought whatsoever about my direction without my wife and this meant I needed to act quickly to determine what the best course was. The problem was that most options seemed so backward given that I’d recently left a career, a house and relocated to a new city for a new life. My initial reaction was to head back to the safety of what I knew – a full-time job, move back to my old city and try and get some “normality” back into my life. After pondering these thoughts for about a week, I had a revelation and came up with a solution which is not much different from what I was going to do with my wife anyway. It’s just that this solution is more independent than before.
Optimism – Many believe our feelings are beyond our control and that our frame of mind is fixed by our moods. There is some merit in this, but I believe that with strength, we can shift our moods. In times such as these, it would be easy to be pessimistic about the future. It’s the default position for most people, me included, and one in which we feel entitled to. Well, we may well be entitled to pessimism, but wallowing in our own self-pity won’t get us very far. Optimism is king here and I think it’s worthwhile steadfastly sticking with optimism even when it feels good to wallow in self-pity.
So whilst all this sounds terribly depressing, it doesn’t need to be! If we allow ourselves to be slaves to our emotions, we can easily fall into the abyss. So I think the first step is to recognise that significant life changes are all part and parcel of life itself and with significant life change comes discomfort. I say a big, “Hello!” to Mr. Discomfort but, “you can bugger off if you’re going to try and drag me down.”
For many people in relationships that are heading down the Lifestyle Design path, the issue of the relationship itself is quite often off topic. As I move forward, I plan to give more thought to how relationships both enhance and hinder the Lifestyle Design process. Happy to discuss!