1000 Days

“Daddy, what’s wrong with you?”

Those words still echo in my head to this day. I don’t remember much from that night….when I was driving home from my local pub after getting loaded with a couple of friends.

I don’t even remember driving home, but I do remember stumbling into my house as my ex was dropping off the kids and the look of fear, confusion, and morbid curiosity on their faces. Like they’d just seen me shoot up and were absolutely shocked by it.

They shouldn’t have had to experience that. They shouldn’t have had to wonder why they, at that point 8 and 10 years old, why their dad was coming home reeking of booze and bad decisions.

The night was a blur, but what wasn’t, was the looks my kids gave me. And it’s burned into my skull.

My kids hadn’t seen me this blackout drunk before, sure, I’d drank in front of them, but as of that point, my drinking was getting worse. I was drinking heavily at least 3-4 times a week, to the point where I had a growler that I would routinely fill and drink by myself on nights I was at home without the kids.

The auto pilot drinking life, the bar flies, the people who filled my life with “have another one” because their own lives were filled with it, was the cornerstone of my social game with women, with my friends, with everything I was doing. If I didn’t have a drink in my hand, I wasn’t having fun. If I didn’t have a drink in my hand, I was offending those who were just “having a good time” and “blowing off steam”.

Along with my being overweight, this was a lifestyle that I had cultivated for most of my adult life. From the time I was in my early 20’s, it’s all I knew, it’s all I did. Very seldom, during the tailgates, bar trips, clubbing, or winery and bar crawls did I think that someday I wasn’t going to be taking a sip. This was an automatic in my life, as was just eating the shit out of everything. It was me. I had gotten so used to these things defining me.

But I had to make a decision. It seemed like a hard one, but in the bigger picture, it was the easiest decision I ever made.

I was going to stop drinking. COMPLETELY stop.

Yes, I had to, for my sake, but also for the people who depended on me, the people who look up to me, and the people who were looking for a healthy, strong example in their lives.

I finally realized my kids were watching me, and this was the biggest stage of my life.

Counting Days

I’ve heard many things in the addiction world, but the one thing that stuck with me was that addiction goes away easier when you find something more important to be addicted to.

And for some, it’s easier to “snap out” of an addiction than others. But, they all have to have their “come to Jesus” moment. And some never get that moment, and even more aren’t strong enough to break away.

And it was this fact that I had to come to terms with. I didn’t want my kids, seeing a father addicted to bad food and alcohol, getting addicted to things the same or potentially worse than those things.

The behavior cultivates their behavior, and if I was going to pull out of this, it wasn’t just going to be for me. I had to do it for them too.

And at that point in my life, my addiction to alcohol was getting worse by the day.

I drove home drunk multiple times (over 100 as far as I can remember). The consequences for doing bad things would eventually haunt me, even if I wasn’t getting caught.

So as I laid awake and still buzzed with my kids sleeping in their beds, I got up and I walked my house for over an hour. I watched them sleep, kissed their foreheads, and made a promise to myself.

It was immediate.

The very next night, when my kids were with their mom, I went to my normal bar.

When my usual bartender asked me if I wanted the usual drink I usually had, I stopped her.

“Water, no lemon.”

She looked at me like I had just shot someone at the bar.

“Water? Really?”

“Yes, Lisa, really”, I responded.

So she filled it up. And as I sipped it, I saw all the people I had hung with during those drunken nights. And they weren’t very interesting on no buzz.

It was like taking the beer goggles off and never putting them back on again. The whole world was different. The women I had been hitting on weren’t as attractive without the buzz. The guys I’d been talking to while blitzed had very little to say except what alcohol they loved, the sports teams they were betting on, and why they hate their home lives with a griping wife at home.

Sports wasn’t interesting anymore. It wasn’t even a topic for discussion. I figured now that I wasn’t drinking, the novelty of it all was wearing off.

And it certainly was. So, slowly, I stopped going to the bar. A bar that I had frequented 4-5 days a week, a bar where my visitation points were going to get me a personalized mug. A reward for being a drunk.

So 5 days passed, and while not craving a drink, I was craving the life again, so I went to the gym.

Every time I started to feel like I was falling back, I kept thinking of my kids and those faces the night I walked in drunk.

As the days turned to weeks, I started noticing my weight dropping. The hundreds of dollars a week I had been spending on booze was put towards debt. I could go places without having to worry about driving while drunk. I cleaned out all the mugs and growlers in my home. It’s like taking all the bad food out of your house, you know it sucks, but you know it’s for the best.

My weight loss, a result of focusing on fitness, was accelerated without all the extra calories. I felt better, was sleeping better, and had more energy. I was more confident in my body so I didn’t need the liquid courage to talk to women, I had my improving physique, my improving finances, and my improving outlook on life was gaining the attention of more attractive, but also more healthy, women.

We as humans tend to look more longingly at the short, 30 second montage than the months and sometimes years it actually takes to get over something, achieve a difficult goal, or break through a tough obstacle.

But it’s hard. It’s supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be for everyone. I’m firmly in the camp that there are just some people who will succumb to addiction because they just aren’t strong enough.

But I also believe that people CAN become strong, they just have to either avoid or disbelieve the lies they are being told. It’s on them, but it also takes good friends and family that provide good influences.

But what do you do when you get there? Many people become bored and fall back into the addictions, because they achieved then fell back to what they knew, instead of pushing further.

The Next 1000 Days

I don’t take 1000 days, or 1000 anything, lightly. Nearly 3 years ago, I decided to make a choice, a choice for me, a choice away from a life that, at least for me, wasn’t fulfilling at all.

It was bouncing from one manufactured high to the next, trying to escape a mediocre life through booze.

So I decided to rewrite the story to one that, even if minute and insignificant to most, is of great importance to me.

My journey has always been about righting the wrongs of my past, all while trying to show men that a second chance is always there for the taking.

Your life story CAN be rewritten with you as the hero walking away into the sunset.

You just have to pick up the pen and start writing.

It will be the hardest thing you will do, changing a book you are writing in the middle of it to something that you can be proud of, something that you can say you achieved, something that you can say fulfilled you.

But don’t throw the writings away in the fire. They are there because they represent you, a different you from the current you, but you nonetheless.

Learn from those pages. The years you were addicted weren’t lost, they were a lesson for you to navigate this life, a map for you to follow to the point you want to be at. It taught you that things aren’t easy, but they can be overcome.

But more importantly, look who is watching you. Many times, we can’t see who’s watching our journey, but they are out there, rooting us on to make a better life, wanting to be a part of the rocket takeoff, wanting to succeed right along with us.

They’ve seen us at our worst, but they still hope for our best. That was the reality I was dealing with on that cold, autumn evening when my kids stared back at me in disbelief.

My kids are watching me. They are counting on me. They are on the journey with me, and I owe it to them to make this journey worth it. My success is their success. My happiness is their happiness. My world is where they live.

They need to thrive, not question. They need to be protected, not lost. They need strength and stability, not consistent doubt and confusion.

And they’ll now get it from me, after years of wondering.

My addiction is over.

The next chapter of my life is being written being high on life.

So, I raise my glass of water to the next 1000 days, may they be the best of my life.

Consistency

For 24 years, I’ve driven the same way to work.

11 miles of the same telephone poles, the same asphalt, the same houses, and the same blades of grass.

Every year, the seasons change the colors, but the objects remain the same.

The wind swept fields, the rainy roads, the sunshine blessed treetops, all of it stands the test of time. I notice many of these things every day, during shorter days, longer nights, dark mornings and sun drenched afternoons, but they all stay the same.

The rainy days are just as grey as they were nearly a quarter of a century ago, when, at 22 years old, I decided to go and work for my dad after college. The job offers were many, all over the country, Chicago, Philly, Houston, but I decided to go home and work for the family business.

I could’ve done anything. I could’ve gone to Argentina to get my major in Spanish. I could’ve gone to a big city and rode out my 20’s in an exciting, albeit, broken world.

I could’ve, should’ve, would’ve, depending on who was asking. So why would a guy fresh out of college decide to work for the family business when he had a chance to make his mark on the world in other ways?

Because sometimes, it’s not about the glory and excitement of new avenues, it’s about the joy and satisfaction that comes from building something up and succeeding through long hours of toil.

As I traverse the multitude of left turns going to work, then the multitude of right turns coming home, it reminds me of the stability that I have had in my life.

It all stays the same, but it’s all wonderful to see for me everyday.

Boring? To you, maybe. To me, it’s the world I’ve helped build and it stands on my untiring effort everyday to chisel a world out of the world just for me.

Legacy is built one brick at a time, over time.

“Show Up”

We crave stability, but we don’t crave what it takes to create or sustain it.

Consistency.

One of my favorite speakers this past year at CME (The Conference of Masculine Excellence) in Las Vegas was Hotep Jesus, who’s number one quote in his presentation was “Show up.”

He specifically talked about being the man who just showed up and made things happen. And when you show up, things happen.

Showing up is the start of consistency and gets you there 100% of the time when you’re present.

Out of these years I’ve been working at my own business, I’ve been absent less than .1% of the time. And it’s because I love my job and know that there are people that count on me daily to “show up”.

Which is how I’ve had to approach my life, especially recently. While I was showing up at work, I wasn’t showing up in my life.

I would be there for everything at work, but in my life, especially when I was married, I wasn’t there for my wife at the time, my kids, or myself.

My fitness cratered and I ballooned to 308 lbs. My wife and I divorced. My kids and I were distant, and I wasn’t showing up, I was merely a ghost, a place holder pretending to be a father, husband and man.

I was practicing consistency at work, but I wasn’t bringing it to my personal life, and it showed.

So, on my 40th birthday, sitting alone at a bar, drunk, I had to make a decision.

Nothing was working out in my personal life, but my career was going well.

I was tired of seeing success in one area and no success in everything else, because I wasn’t SHOWING UP in those other areas. So, I decided, each year, to add these areas to my consistent effort and get my weaknesses handled. I took one – two areas each year, for the last 5 years. My first goal was getting my weight down and getting better with women.

So I got 80 lbs off and I got decent with girls. It was the start of an amazing transformation that is still taking place to this day, in my life.

I found a passion, helping men through my own experiences, so the next year I decided to get my blog going, as well as be on Twitter and IG as a man who was living his journey and sharing his experiences with other men. And I have grown this blog and twitter to over 11k people.

The next year was traveling to meet people that I had met as well as getting out of my shell. I overdid this, traveling so much that I was neglecting time with my kids. But I consistently traveled and got better socially. But I realized I was drinking way too much, so I also decided to get sober, which I have now been for 2.5 years.

In 2020 and 2021, I used the pandemic to get consistent on the home front, getting my home in order and get closer to my kids, I needed to be a better father, but I wasn’t showing up with them as much as I needed to. I’ve been learning to be a better dad as well as understanding that my connection to my kids is extremely important to their health and well being. I’ve been working in the Fraternity of Excellence to get better as a father and a man.

And now, in 2022, I’m dialing my fitness into the next level. My fitness goal has been to always look sexy naked, and with my trainer Phil Foster, I am pushing myself and establishing new consistent boundaries on how I work out and how I look. And, mercifully, after a year, I will be getting my finances in order and will be debt free except the house in a little over a week of this writing. Then I get to pay myself and spend my money on savings, investment, and college for my children.

I’ve also brought my consistency to my relationships. I’m reaching out to old friends I left on hold. I’m learning how be better with women in my work with Dr Taylor Burrowes. Before it was just pickup and sex, now it’s something more I’m looking for. I’m learning to vet these women, consistently and with consistency in my own values, boundaries, and behaviors.

All of this, every aspect of my life, has been addressed. All because I decided to show up. Sure there are important things that take precedence at this moment, but in general, I’m raising the level of my life and as a result, the level of those around me. People can count on me again, because they know I’ll show up.

My meetings, I’m there. My kids, I’m there. My fitness, I’m there. My friends and family, I’m there.

There’s something to be said about knowing someone will always be there.

And, when you can look into the mirror and know that you are bringing it everyday, the most important person that knows you’ll be there is…well….YOU.

But I’ve hired good people to help me get there. When you have the people to help you and you are willing to “show up” and help yourself with their tutelage, the sky’s the limit.

#FirstOfTheMonthChallenge

Going into 2022, I had several resolutions that I had been working on since Sept of 21. Guys have asked me how the hell I can get behind all of these resolutions and, you know, actually “DO THEM” but it’s become so ingrained in my mind that I need to get better everyday that many of these resolutions have become commonplace.

In order to get to your goals, you must “show up”, so I started the First of the Month Challenge to motivate people to take the same steps I took, the same consistent baby steps to get to their goals.

One of the things many people have stated about me is that my consistency is top notch. It hasn’t always been that way, but the way that it started was through my New Year’s Resolutions. So, I took it upon myself to show folks through the first quarter of this year, that 30 days becomes a habit, 60 days becomes a pattern, and 90 days becomes a lifestyle. Whether it’s fitness or something else, it will behoove you to follow through and be consistent in your goals. Just do one thing, one, for that amount of time and watch as you are able to apply that to other aspects of your life.

You’ll become unstoppable because you bothered to “show up.”

The stat that really stood out to me was that after the first month 80% of people quit their resolutions.

And I see it every year. The gym is packed the first two weeks of January, then people leave in droves and it’s back to the usual folks in February.

But, as I’ve seen year after year, there are the 20% that show up when the gym opens or are there when it’s about to close. It’s the 20% that push themselves to be better by “showing up” every day to get to their goals. It’s time to increase that percentage and hold folks accountable for their proclamations. And to hold them accountable, I want to be there with them as they take these steps to break out of their own dead end cycles.

So, if you’re looking for the magic code to be consistent, it’s nothing else but showing up when no one else does.

And it’s certainly not magic, just a sense of personal discipline ingrained in yourself by yourself to forge ahead and get what you truly dream of in life.

The magic of consistency is created by the commonplace activity of attendance.

And being consistent will bring that dream to a reality.

Pariah

Nothing fucks with your head more than walking through Las Vegas at 5am.

The long faces, the worry, the fear, the toil of a long night spent living in Sin City with the hopes of that good roll, that last pull, the last hit, the one that made it.

Sure, you heard people cheering earlier, they were the lucky ones. They picked the right machine, the right table, and got hot. Now they have hookers and blow in the penthouse suite. Now they can make their mortgage this month, now they can qualify for another card game, they can smile for another day, they can breathe easy.

Until they have to go back and do it again tonight.

The visible frustration of watching someone else win as you are losing your ass is palpable.

The desperation, the despair as each pull, each click, each button press drains your total. The chance of hitting it big, in the casino or even in life, keeps us putting the bills in the changers.

What we don’t realize? The ease that we see of hitting it big isn’t easy, it’s kneecapping us in so many ways. We are exerting minimal effort for a overwhelming return. When we hit it big, then we’ll fix everything. Because we got lucky.

But is it really luck if you just wasted your time?

Is the payoff really worth the lack of effort?

Will hitting it big really change you, or are you just going to not cash out and keep pumping bills for a BIGGER return?

Or is it all a pariah? Is it an oasis that you see but vanishes after you trudge through miles of heat and sand? Or was it the time you spent getting there that you wasted, only to come up empty handed, bitter and disappointed?

The presence of virtue in Sin City is negligible. And the people who accept the natural motives of “letting go” in Vegas are too numerous to mention. The problem is that too many times, too many people have too little self control.

And seeing the faces all over this city that never shuts down was enough to show me that self control, principles, and beliefs are left on the tarmac getting off the plane in the desert.

“Why can’t you just enjoy yourself? Let go, let your hair down.” It’s fine. Do that. The problem lies in all of the issues that arise when folks turn off their common sense and turn on their consequence free thoughts, with just living and having fun in the forefront and serious consequences that come up after.

I’ve never heard anyone who lost in Vegas say they wish they could do that again. What I have heard is that people say Vegas is a blast if you play responsibly, that is, think with your big head versus the little one.

How many people put their head in their hands when they’ve been let off the leash only to make horrible mistakes that cost them in time and life?

You have to maintain control. Too many times, peer pressure puts guys to do things they shouldn’t or wouldn’t, but because of “YOLO”, they do it and fuck up things.

You needn’t believe a pariah that everyone else follows.

Priorities

“Why did you go to Vegas if it wasn’t to drink, gamble and fuck?”

Because I’m not these people. The old me would’ve. Shit, the old me would’ve blown my savings on hookers, games, and drinks.

But the old me was also a stupid fuck.

The minute I started prioritizing myself in my life was the minute I understood that my time was valuable. The minute I started caring about the man I was becoming was the minute I understood that my actions have consequences. Was I going to drink, act like a drunk ass, snort lines, blow hard earned money that could be used to enrich my life, instead of pissing it away for mere minutes of imagined pleasure?

Not trying to be a buzzkill. I’ve been there. I’ve blown a shit ton of money trying to woo girls, drinking, and generally making an ass of myself.

The bottom line: I didn’t like who I saw in the mirror.

I didn’t like the man my kids saw.

But most of all, I realized that what everyone was telling me I was supposed to do was not what I wanted. If you want to be you, you gotta go against what everyone expects of you.

“Why can’t you have fun in Vegas?”

My new idea of fun is self improvement, empowerment, and helping others while I help myself. This isn’t some noble trad-con LARP, this is real life perspective shifts that take into account how I’m coming off to myself and others. How am I progressing to make myself a better person, better father, better man?

How can I try to prevent another dude from blasting a bullet in his mouth if I’m out here getting shitfaced, plowing the strip, or dropping my retirement on the impossibly small chance I actually get more?

Why roll the dice on a pipe dream when I can develop myself physically, mentally, hell, even spiritually if I fucking want and up the odds I’m going to take life by the tits?

This isn’t a fucking moral crusade to save mankind. We may already be fucked. This is an opportunity to leave a legacy to the people in my life that I love most, my kids. This is an opportunity to save the lives of men who only see the spend in Vegas, the long shot wins, the dreams come true and say, “I’ll do it that was instead of doing the work.”

Your savior isn’t digging a deeper hole hoping it rains manure at some point.

The False Flag

Why did this tweet cause so much vitriol?

What’s wrong with being free to make this choice?

Because it goes against everything that everyone says you should do.

It rides against the grain.

It pushes back against what people think.

And it challenges people’s perceptions on what you should do when you are in a particular situation.

There are people that let their environments and circumstances chart their self determination, then there are people who refuse to let outside forces deter them from being the best person they can be.

I went to Vegas knowing I wasn’t going to partake in the fun, because I had already done that. I spent a better part of my post divorce years fucking anything that moved, drinking, and generally living what everyone said to “live a little”.

But as with myself and millions of others like me, I couldn’t control myself. We are a society of excess, we are encouraged to burn the candle at both ends.

Work hard, play hard. What about work hard, play hard, learn hard, and better yourself harder?

This isn’t a religious thing. This is a personal choice to partake in things that will make me better, not drain my bank account, dick, and energy.

I choose this because it’s best for me. I choose this because I’m trying to control my rise and don’t want anything putting me back after all I’ve been through.

Dave Ramsey has a iconic saying: “Live like no one else so you can live like no one else.”

I have taken this strategy to heart, keeping my eye on the prize even if everyone is telling me to stop.

Drinking water at the bar even if everyone is drinking around me.

Passing by the hookers while other dudes fork over their cash for them.

Walking past the slot machines that I know will take my money.

Eating a piece of grilled chicken instead of that Twinkie.

All in the knowledge that if I keep pushing towards my goals, I will get there and then keep going for more.

Life is the pursuit of something that you will never get. But the pursuit is what you want. It’s what makes life worth living.

Bully

“Get up, porky.”

I was incoherent. But I’ll remember those three words for my whole life.

My head had just been smashed into a metal locker. And I was bleeding.

“I said, get up.”

I wasn’t getting up. I wasn’t even close to being able to. I was seeing little stars in my vision. I don’t know if I had a concussion, but damn, if this is what it felt like, I didn’t want one ever again.

I was just a 6th grader, packing my backpack in a crowded hallway with my locker open, minding my business, when I was pushed and my head smashed against my locker door.

I felt a kick to my side. It hadn’t been as painful as the head injury I had just sustained, but it knocked the breath out of me momentarily.

I lay there, crouched in a crowded hallway, as everyone walked past a dude kicking me. I remember much about this exchange, especially the people walking by. I fully realized that they weren’t gonna help me, because they wanted to see me get my ass throttled.

It was middle school. I was the fat kid with glasses. With daily comments about my man tits, my fat cheeks, my thick glasses, and my muffin top, it was only a matter of time before I was going to get my ass kicked and today, I was on the radar of the biggest bully in my grade.

So to say I wasn’t surprised when I was bleeding in the hallway that day was an understatement. To say I was surprised on how he got me was. He waited until I was on the floor digging into my locker to push me into the door. Then he started kicking me when I was down. But that’s how bullies work. I did the hard work for him so all he had to do was take advantage. Before he could get another kick in, a teacher stopped him. But it was of little comfort to me at the time.

And while this horrific day still rings true in my head, I’m glad he did what he did.

Because some 4 years later, I grew to 6’4″ 210lbs. I had been bullied all throughout my middle school and early high school years. But one day, it stopped.

Not because I hadn’t gotten any less nerdy, but because I had gotten bullied enough that I had nothing left to lose, and I made sure every person that had bullied me understood that.

But here’s the thing. This blog post is not intended to gain sympathy for me in my awkward and sometimes downright shitty adolescence.

It’s sole purpose is to show why society needs a bully, and why when you’ve had enough, still the best time honored situation to dealing with a bully is to punch him back in his fucking mouth.

The Need For The Bully

Bullies have been around since the dawn of humanity. There was always someone bigger, meaner, and more ruthless to take your shit from you. And as we have evolved into a more civilized species, bullying has taken on other forms. Some 30 plus years ago, when my middle school days were littered with inevitable pointing, laughing, beatings, jokes, comments and other not so pleasant actions taken in order to douse me in shame, nowadays it’s more of the cyber kind, with the same types of insults being hurled through the computer screen as opposed to the hallways.

The need for physical violence to take on the bully went from fists to guns during Columbine. A terrible tragedy of two boys who didn’t have proper parenting and who decided to murder the bully, a cost that is still felt today as we see school shootings happening.

But instead of empowering the meek to go after the bully in more constructive ways, we empowered the State to sanitize the system so that there were no bullies or bullied, but the socialism of the school, where there is no empowerment, only ceilings.

So began the War on the Bully.

There was a huge movement in the early 2000’s that has culminated today with the attack by society on bullies of every type. The now systematized shame towards the bully has not curtailed the bullying, it has simply put the bully pulpit in the hands of our illustrious elected leaders, teachers, administrators, and other adults who make decisions to protect everyone, even when those decisions affect everyone negatively.

“We must protect our children from bullies” has become the rallying cry for parents who refuse to teach and parent their kids about the importance of the reaction to bullies being an important part of mitigating them.

I believe fathers have truly dropped the ball in teaching their kids about focusing anger towards positive activities.

As we moved through the past three decades, I have seen on alarming issue that continues to come up and that is that parents have willingly given up the raising of their kids to the State. With all of these cultural movements throughout the 60’s to the 90’s, the State has subverted the family structure, becoming the de facto bully in all of this.

In short, the bullies have become the bullied. And the new bullies have men with guns.

When I was bullied, as many children were, my mother tried to reason with school administrators and teachers that her son was being bullied. All this did was make the bullying increase, for I was the kid who’s mom tattled on the offenders. My father gave better advice. “Punch them in the mouth.”

So I did. Even if it wasn’t literal. I stopped taking shit from the bullies. I stepped up and either physically or verbally jabbed them when they came close. I wasn’t going to fuck around anymore.

Why Columbine was important was it showed that how kids were dealing with bullies, and how parents weren’t helping their kids, in a violent manner was not the answer that these kids were looking for. But without guidance for anger and frustration, all it did was boil over into violence on a large scale.

Killing the bully does nothing and has tragic consequences. Beating up the bully, gaining psychological advantage over him, is where the kids need to be directed. The bully provides a challenge to the child. A challenge of either beating them physically, or like I did, beat them out verbally and mentally. And when a child is challenged and they overcome the challenge, it’s a lesson well learned.

Taking the Power Back

Some of the best lessons I’ve learned are when I was getting my ass kicked.

I know of no person who didn’t have these sentiments that didn’t turn out to be a stronger individual after they got bullied.

It is empowerment to fight back and beat up the bully.

When we give kids real world challenges to overcome, as in life when they become an adult, something clicks. They understand through the harsh lessons that this is how to overcome and grow in life.

The problems with this is that parents stopped caring, and gave overreaching authority to teachers to try and be surrogate parents. I saw it in my days in my child’s PTA, when parents don’t care, kids have no where to turn but to teachers, who have no time for the kids because there are so many. So it’s left to school counselors, administrators, and other authority figures to try and reign in all of this, and they’re overwhelmed.

All because parents dropped the ball. As with the teacher who finally stopped the beating, they can’t expect to be parents at school with no parents working for the kids at home.

But it starts with the parents teaching their kids about overcoming challenges on their own with help from those that love them.

I didn’t start learning to ride my bike until my parents made me get on a bike and start peddling. I hit a mailbox and was broken and bruised, but I learned to ride a bike and I was off to the races for most of my childhood.

I didn’t learn to fight back until I fought back, with my parents watching me do it, and empowered myself to take control of a situation with an assertive move.

The world needs bullies. But more importantly, the world needs men and women to teach people that being bullied is not an excuse to act the victim, but a reason for action against an oppressive force.

If a child can’t stand up for themselves as a kid, they won’t stand up for themselves as an adult.

The pain of being bullied is gone when you fight back. I don’t feel sorry for myself for being bullied. In fact, it was a necessary evolution in the man I’ve become today. And I fought back against the very forces that we are trying to destroy.

We don’t want to remove a challenge from someone’s life just because it’s hard to overcome. We have to stop trying to save everyone and instead, give them a reason to FIGHT in life.

I see many people who’ve lost limbs in war, who’ve had diseases or defects overcome incredible odds to do amazing things. And that’s what puts the human in humanity. Overcoming difficulties, punching them in the face, and not wrapping the world in bubble wrap to protect.

People all need these challenges, but more importantly, they need parents who show them these lessons and let them fail.

It’s the only way to get stronger.

The bullies stopped as soon as I fought back. And fought back I did. I wasn’t bullied again.

The magic recipe? A commitment to yourself and to not being a victim.

It’s the way you grow to become a person who doesn’t take any shit.

And I think we need a society with more of those types of people.

Adversity is a necessity in life. And nothing is more adverse than a bully who you need to punch in the mouth.

Overcome and adapt.

Incompatible Lives

“It’s time for you to be a father, not chase tail all over the country.”

The voice cracked on my cell phone.

Angrily pacing in the airport, waiting on my return flight, with the phone clutched tightly in my hand, I countered, “It’s about me at this point in my life, my focusing on myself is not wrong. You can’t pour from an empty cup.”

My daughter had been crying in the background when my mother spoke next.

“You’re a shitty father. Your kids need you and you’re flying around chasing pussy.”

I had never heard my mother speak this way to me, and it shocked me greatly.

“Has everyone lost their damn minds up there? Do I get time to myself to travel, date, and sleep with women? What business is it of yours what the hell I do when I don’t have my kids?”

“It doesn’t matter. What matters is that your kids need you and you’re not here”, she said.

I had this happen before. It was clear as day to me.

Back in my marriage, my miserable dead end marriage, my ex used to call me at work with kids crying and guilt me into trying to come home, saying “they miss you”.

She would leverage my job against my family and she knew she was doing it. And here was my mother, another women in my life, trying to guilt and shame me into coming home because my daughter was a mess.

My daughter had been suffering from anxiety, a curse that I passed down to her, and she wasn’t coping very well. And as her screams and cries harangued in the background of my phone call that day, I wasn’t having another woman in my life try to tell me what I needed to do, leveraging my lifestyle with my kids.

I wasn’t hurting anyone. I was just going out on my time that I didn’t have my kids, traveling and meeting new people, and yes, I was having sex with women. So? “What the fuck?” was going through my head big time as I tried and failed several times to calm down. So there I was, in an airport in Pensacola, yelling at the phone.

Before this altercation, I had spent the better part of 2 years traveling all over the United States, by car and by plane, visiting places I’d never been, meeting people from Twitter and other walks of life, and yes, sleeping with women.

I had spent the majority of my 20’s working, not dating, and being terrible with women. My 30’s were spent with marriage and kids. And after I jettisoned my marriage after 10 years at 40 years old, it was time, albeit late, for me to sow my oats. I hadn’t had this kind of power with women in my life and I wanted to try it out for a spin. I was doing it within the rules of my divorce.

There were weekends I didn’t have my kids, so what harm was it for me to go and enjoy my life?

“I really thought I had thought this through” was running through my head.

Conundrum

Why wasn’t I able to pull this off? I thought I had done my homework. Why in the hell was I dealing with this?

I wanted to continue to travel. I wanted to continue to date all over the country. I wanted to continue having fun with my free time.

But what I didn’t understand? With my particular circumstances, with who I was, and with what I was doing, I couldn’t pull it off.

Some men can and do.

My kids were suffering from my absence, even if I didn’t believe it.

Yes, when I was there, I was there for my kids. But, I wasn’t really there. Between work, hotels, flights, rental cars, date nights, and all the other stuff that was piling up, I was missing from my kids lives. My mind wasn’t where it needed to be. With pussy, dinner plans, and travel getting the lion’s share of my attention, I was mailing it in with my kids.

They needed a strong, grounded father who had built a foundation of strength and stability. They were getting neither from me. And when the inevitable blowups occurred, they (and the women in their lives) needed a strong, masculine calm to break the tension, something that I could not provide at that moment.

And I knew it. Damn I was having fun doing this life. But in a round about way, even if my mom was wrong for calling me a shitty father, she was right about one thing. This wasn’t me, and I wasn’t there.

I couldn’t pull it off. Some other dude could. I couldn’t.

So, as I left the airport bound for home that day, I had to rethink my entire strategy and if it was even possible to have these incompatible lives.

My mother had said very hurtful things to me. Things that I knew weren’t true, but things she had never said to me before. I had to grasp why she felt this way.

The women in my life (mother, sister, and ex) were losing control of the situation because I never had it under control. I took off week after week for a new destination, all while leaving these women in charge of a situation that I figured they had control over. But the minute I left, the shit hit. Why?

Because I wasn’t there. Not necessarily there physically. But there. My presence. My infrastructure. My frame. My setup. My processes.

I had done none of it to help offset any issues that I was hoping wouldn’t come up. I knew about my daughter and her volatility. I still did nothing. I blindly let myself get away with it, and now the check had come due.

She wasn’t getting her dad. She was getting a dude mailing it in on the days he was around and passing it off to others on the days he wasn’t.

The one thing I had wanted in life was to be good with women, and here I was, better than I’d ever been, and I was being asked to give it up for my kids?

Yes. Yes I was.

My kids needed me.

Putting It To Bed

Did I have to give it up?

The thought and question raced through my mind as I flew back home.

The flights lasted longer than any other I’ve ever taken, because I was being asked to let go of something I like doing, but it was becoming detrimental to my home life.

I understood, finally, that I could travel and do some of the things I wanted to do, but just not to the scale of how I was doing them.

I had to get back home and plant firm ground to give my kids the foundation and frame they needed to thrive, even when I wasn’t around. So I did just that and established myself firmly.

And as if by magic, my kids improved dramatically.

As Zac Small says, “Presence is greater than presents.”

And it was proven after my flight landed that night.

A year later, I went back to my mom.

I went up to her, gave her a hug, and told her I forgave her for calling me a shitty father.

She apologized for calling me that as well.

She understood that I had improved as a father, by simply being there for my kids, as opposed to being there for unnamed women.

No amount of pussy is worth jeopardizing your family over.

The women in my life that were the most important to me were getting the full me, finally.

Daughters, mother, sister were getting me, but also, the real me. I wouldn’t put up with any shit, but I would respectfully acknowledge that I was lacking in certain areas as a father, and that was more important to me to correct than any other issue at that time.

And my job was to make sure that my kids got me first and often. I needed to be there for them, even if it meant sacrificing my short term goals, I had to focus on the long term of my kids.

My lives, for just me, were at the moment and for the foreseeable future, incompatible. I couldn’t be the single dad who picked up girls any more. I had to just be the dad. And be a good one, which I knew I was.

But I also had to come to the realization that a long term relationship is what I wanted.

I just had to come home.

Uncharted

The lighthouse at Sanibel Island, Florida

When I first started this blog in September of 2018, it was going to be a basic blog on game, approaches, and my progress with conquering one of the biggest challenges of my life, that of being able to be good with women.

It was just a blog.

I was coming off another unsuccessful relationship with a liberal woman, getting into another doomed-to-fail relationship with another liberal woman, and was getting myself red-pilled after enduring two years of post-divorce discovery of who the fuck I was.

I had, two years earlier, divorced my wife of 10 years after enduring a marriage rife with problems. I didn’t know my ass from a hole in the ground, so I grabbed on to whatever I could during that time, including many women who were toxic. I was working hard at my company, drinking with my friends, getting and staying fat, and had zero direction while I floated from relationship to relationship, date to date, day to day, just waiting for something to happen.

This was my life, and I didn’t see a way out except to play by the rules.

But, as we know, rules were meant to be broken. Part of the foundation of myself built on my divorce was the fact that my decision to divorce was made by ME, by only me, and my choice to not be miserable anymore. But it was a journey, as I was starting, that I didn’t have a solid destination. And that’s some scary shit for a man going on 40 who’s basically restarting his life. Add in running my own business, raising two children, and trying to become a patriarch of my family all while not knowing who the hell I was, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. It’s no wonder many men who divorce have disastrous consequences follow them as they don’t know the hows, whats, or whys on what the hell they need to do to rebuild their lives, so they just grab on to whatever floats by, and it’s usually a water moccasin ready to bite them in the ass.

So as I was dating, I blogged as the Red Pill Dad, dishing my experiences with game, my approaches, my style, and my numbers. They weren’t great, but I figured anything I could do to keep my spirits high as I moved from girl to girl, trying to get better talking to them, would be quality content. So I blogged about it. I blogged about my red pill journey, my failures in relationships, my relationship with my ex-wife, and kept reading, studying, and writing as best I could to keep my mind off of this life I was trying to rebuild.

But then, in Early 2019, I was convinced that the rebuild WAS my life.

The Journey Began

It became more than game. It became a man who was on a journey to find himself, his purpose, his convictions. He spent his life being pulled in different directions by special interests and women who benefited from his work. As I placed myself back firmly in control of my life, I was seeing that the red pill was more than just a piece for getting laid. It was an integral part of taking my life back. Meeting women took a back seat to my voyage to find myself and take my life back, so it was getting more and more about the moral, financial, and personal dilemmas that men face after divorce that was taking up my writing time.

I was working out, on pace to lose 80+ pounds and regain my health. I was raising two children as a single dad. I was running my own business. I was struggling to take my life back from those who deemed it theirs. And it was pissing all of them off. For years I had thought I was wrong to alienate my friends and family from my inner circle because they would always shame me for daring to make my own decisions. So I cut those fuckers loose.

I was evolving.

Even friends online were telling me that my “Red Pill Dad” moniker was not really embracing my writing evolution. So, after a talk with a friend, I changed to “A Father’s Journey”. It was about telling men my story so they could see what I was doing. It was about showing men that life crises can be overcome with a strong back and the willingness to fight every day for who you are.

So I shifted my focus. And it was an amazing journey. I started writing about the aspects of my life that were affected when I started to take control of my life again. Parenthood as a single father, dating, and sex as a single father, life as a business owner, and other subjects began to dominate my feed. I was losing weight, taking back control of my life, all while tweeting and writing about it. My world was changing, and I had to chronicle it. My goal was to show men that regardless of obstacles in their way, their journey continued with them at the helm of it. It was a no-excuse time to take control of their lives. So I wrote and blogged about what they could do, what experiences I had, all while showing them that the fear they felt was certainly palpable, but also, faced and overcome.

As I would later find out in my re-brand, I was becoming a beacon to men out there struggling to take back their lives from the tide of an unfair family law system, a feminist society hell-bent on destroying masculinity, and the proof that there is an amazing life after divorce. Second chances are not given often, and men who fail to take these chances to improve their lot in life physically, mentally, and spiritually are doomed to be nothing more than a casket with onlookers lamenting the “could haves” he missed out on.

Not me. Not in this lifetime, and not on my watch.

So I opened my DM’s and I opened my life.

The off limits portions of the Red Pill Dad were now open for business.

My life was theirs to see. I knew it needed to happen. I knew they needed to see what I was going through, what I was learning, how I was growing and failing, for them to see what they could do to improve their lives.

They needed to not only learn to be alone, but THRIVE at it.

They needed to accept their circumstances, but also create better ones.

They needed to understand the fight for their lives doesn’t stop when the sun goes down and they go to sleep.

They needed to always be making moves to free themselves from a world that only wants them for their work.

For all of their lives up until that point, it wasn’t about them. It was time to make it about them.

My taking back control of my life is what my journey was up until that point. It was about writing to let men know that they actually have a choice on what they can do in their lives. They can learn and improve from their mistakes, but they have to make them first.

And maybe, just maybe, the young men reading my blog can avoid what I did. Maybe they can take the steps needed to take back control. My writings, videos, and shows would be a guide. That was my goal, and it still is to this day.

But the journey has changed. And I’m in very new territory. And I’m embracing the new challenges ahead.

Uncharted Father

As many of you know, I’m writing a book that will detail my life before my marriage ended into the divorce proceedings and eventually to the other side.

As I’ve been writing the book, I’ve been trying with increasing difficulty to come up with a name for my untitled book.

Then in January of 2020, I hit on something.

Every year, I go on a vacation by myself to Southwest Florida, specifically Fort Myers, and one of my favorite places on earth is Sanibel Island, home of a famous lighthouse. I go to that beach every year, and my family for over three decades has been living in the area as a second home. So on a particular day at the beach, I walked by the lighthouse and had an epiphany.

My purpose has been to help men who were in my situation, or any situation for that matter, to be better and overcome the slings and arrows of life’s folly. My purpose has been to be a guide to those men who would look out and see darkness, only to be greeted by a faint light of my help. They could choose to follow it or not, but the light is always there telling them of the impending rocks on the shore.

But it also represents the unknown.

What life there is still left to live is going to be unpredictable, and you as a man must plan accordingly. Being constantly prepared for all that life has to offer, both good, bad, and ugly, is a man’s first job. He has to be a beacon, a watch for anything that comes his way to do him harm or pleasure, and he must adjust to embrace this eventuality.

There will be things that happen that you can’t prepare for but must, there will be places you go that you’ll have no clue how to navigate, and there will be times you have to remember in order to move forward in the present and future. In any case, as a man, you must be prepared.

So, on that January day, I decided that my journey had indeed changed and I was navigating uncharted waters.

In every aspect of my life, I was an “Uncharted Father”.

Everything I had done I had done with very little knowledge, only the action to make things a reality in my life, the time to try to help as many men as I could, and the willingness to make as many mistakes as I could in that pursuit.

Men needed to see my struggles in this new life, and they had, but now, they needed to see my foray into new avenues, relationships, and opportunities. My actions and thoughts during this time as well as my past would be a beacon for men looking to make their lives better.

I’m not going to let these men down.

I’ve seen too many men take their own lives, get divorce raped, fall back into damning habits, and destroy their lives because they didn’t know where to turn, didn’t have a tribe that had their back, nor did they have a place they could look for support and accountability.

So I ran with it. And my symbol (I’m a big believer in symbolism) is the very lighthouse I’ve spent much of my life admiring. It’s a symbol of my goals as a man to continue to shine brightly to my kids, my girlfriend, my family, my friends, my business, and all the other things in life that need my light to survive and thrive. I want to be an inspiration to men everywhere of what they can do to navigate crises in their lives and how to come out on the other side better, stronger, and more determined.

My journey has changed. It’s a whole new ballgame. And it’s time for myself and other men like me to “Blaze Our Own Trail.”

I am The Uncharted Father.

Of A Certain Age

The manosphere, for lack of a better term, has become a driving force in helping men get control of their lives. From unplugging men, to fitness, to inter-gender communication, sex, relationships, philosophy, and all in between, I’ve seen many men get the help they need.

But as I’ve detailed in many past posts, when it comes to defining women and what a man needs to look for in one, the blacks and whites of the manosphere ideology come out.

In one of my most read blog posts, The Single Mom Dating Dilemma, parts of the manosphere pursue unapproachable extremes when it comes to the type of women you MUST have in your life.

Exaggerated at times, there are those who DEMAND you only date virgins in their early 20’s and as they age and the more the world pierces them, the lower quality they become.

The manosphere tends to skew to the ideological outliers when it comes to getting men to ONLY choose women who haven’t been “tainted” with promiscuity or feminism.

Single motherhood is frowned upon, even as I write in my own experiences that I’ve seen the opposite from good, upstanding single moms who I’ve dated.

But there are BAD single moms, but not all single moms are BAD.

There are BAD older women, but not all older women are BAD.

THAT’S the difference here.

My job, as I’ve tried to show, is to portray an accurate picture of the dating world and what I’ve found using inter-gender tropes, for the most part, has helped me avoid the bad women. But there are still too many guys who go to the same well when it comes to judging all women as bad if they fit into a certain category.

This particular blog will help to tackle one of the biggest tropes out there that, just like single motherhood, is trying to paint with a broad brush a picture of women that isn’t entirely true and has too much nuance to be so black and white.

Yep, the dreaded WALL.

Walls

The wall, coined in Rollo Tomassi’s excellent book, The Rational Male, is the point when a woman’s SMV (sexual market value) starts to decline. And depending on how a woman used her “party years”, her wall may come earlier than other women. As I call it, a woman who’s been “rode hard and put away wet” has a tendency to hit the wall much sooner than women who don’t.

SMV Chart – Credit “The Rational Male” by Rollo Tomassi

This chart, while valuable in it’s analysis of the analytics of gender sexual value, can be read to tell me to avoid older women, simply because of their age.

And the problem is, in most things, is that this is theory. Practice, generally, yields different results.

An example, men are told they generally should avoid older women. Why? The main driver? Procreation and attractiveness.

Men’s sole drive in sex is to reproduce. It’s what has been programmed into us over millennia. Our job is to procreate. That’s the bottom line.

And, as we know, women’s biological functions have an expiration date. As they get older, their ability to have kids falters. This is a fact.

And, younger women tend to be more attractive. As women age, they show it, that’s biology as well. As men age, we get more attractive. This is the way it’s set up and we can’t well argue with any of it.

I’m not here to disprove any aspect of Rollo’s or anyone else’s work, as I believe it’s valuable for giving men a picture of why SMV and inter-gender dynamics work. It’s a very needed piece of the manosphere because it raises men’s awareness of the biological differences between men and women.

But I want to show what I’ve found, dealing with these concepts on a daily basis in my dating life, and the realities of what happens when theories are placed against the real world.

The Woman You Want Depends On The Man You Are

The manosphere is right. If you are a man that wants to have kids, you should go with a younger woman.

And also, by the numbers, the younger the woman, the less she’s been exposed to heaux life and had multiple partners.

But, as I’ve said, many times, age does not correlate to hoedom, nor does the younger woman equate to the perfect wife.

Are we selling men on the mindless Stepford wives myth where they expect to field a virgin, early 20 year old who exists to only serve him?

Women are much more dynamic these days and with the advent of birth control and the Sexual Revolution, women have been exposed to decades of feminism and its ideals. You aren’t going to find the “untouched” nuggets save for a religiously isolated group or other such nonsense that hasn’t been hit by societal upheaval breaking towards feminism.

Here’s the deal: If I was looking to have more kids, I would choose a younger woman. But that wouldn’t be the only aspect that I would consider. I’m not dominant. I don’t want a submissive woman. I want a woman who’s strong enough on her own to match my dynamic.

But what happens if you are an older man who doesn’t want kids or already has them?

The majority of younger women I’ve dated (from 23 – 35) were fine, but they weren’t on my wavelength in terms of the maturity factor. It’s fine to date them, and I encourage men to date all ages of women to see what works for them, but in MY case, I have found that dating a woman closer to my own age (44) has been a good thing.

There are exceptions and grey areas all over the place for the wall.

What if a woman takes care of herself into her 40’s and is in better shape that she was earlier on?

What if a woman only has 1 or 2 sexual partners her whole life? (Yes guys, they do exist.)

I don’t want the manosphere to push a man to make a decision based on age alone, because while a young woman is wonderful to date, the age gap and maturity issues can be an issue. Try listening to Steely Dan’s “Hey 19” and you’ll understand.

I’m also not saying that older women harping on men for picking up younger women is right either. Men have a right to choose who gets to be in their life, and age should neither fast track nor disqualify any woman. If a man finds a woman younger than him, in many cases 15-20 years younger, good for him, that’s a personal choice that factors in many different things, including kids, that he has every right to take into account.

In a time where the personal preference of women for men has taken a back seat to broad-ranging narratives on how men should choose a potential mate, with age and single motherhood being primary disqualifiers, the bottom line is it’s ultimately up to the man to make those choices. They must make them being educated and well versed in all the pitfalls and benefits, as well as knowing who he is to help him weed out potential bad seeds and hoes.

Dating women who are younger or older isn’t a science, and each comes with its share of issues and benefits.

But pushing recently unplugged men into “and/or” narratives doesn’t educate him, it only forces him to not think for himself and use tired platitudes that some of the man pundits parrot nauseatingly often to a tune of group-think ideologies that the manosphere was created to get away from.

In general, stop saying “don’t date older women” or “don’t date single mothers” because men will treat both with disdain when many of them are perfectly fine and will enhance a man’s life.

Pointing out bad actors in a group by using a broad brush to paint with is what the manosphere is trying to get away from, because feminism paints us with the same broad brush. We’re “misogynists” even if we very clearly aren’t, because the heavy lifting needed to show that we are different is too hard for feminist elites to take.

It’s easier to demonize a whole group than think that maybe the ideologues in each group are whipping up resentment unfairly. And yes, I do the same thing when I reference feminism, but I’ve yet to meet a good feminist. 🙂

“If You Like Her, Date Her.”

Platitudes can be good, but they can also be cancerous.

The manosphere should prepare men by giving them the information they need to make an informed decision on what woman he should have in his life, not point out groups of women to avoid because the bad actors take all the headlines and overshadow the really good, solid women who are single mothers, older, and take care of themselves both physically and mentally.

There are women who didn’t succumb to the feminist narrative, living well into their 30’s and 40’s and taking on the challenges of being your “Ride or Die.” They are beautiful souls who don’t believe the crap, made good choices in their lives, and recognize that if they did make mistakes, they took responsibility for those mistakes.

A woman, regardless of age, who owns her situation, is a woman that is miles ahead of the feminist lapdogs who blame men and their perceived toxicity for everything that has befallen them.

Her age doesn’t matter if she enhances you in the right ways. If she’s loyal, supportive, sexy, attractive, funny, wise, and sharpens your steel so to speak, you, as the man, should be able to tell what works for you and doesn’t.

I’ve seen many a man follow the manosphere advice of no older women and fall into a trap of being with someone who doesn’t gel with him.

“But at least she’s young and attractive. Just because we don’t have a ton in common, doesn’t mean she’s not for me.”

She can be older and be just as hot. And her attitude, personality, maturity can be just as attractive to a man looking for just that.

If a younger woman works for you, go for it. But as a man, your job is to run your life, and if someone wants to be a part of that, you have to vet and make sure she has a place in it. Her job is to support you, be there for you, and have a connection that transcends everything else. A teammate to help you conquer the world, not just make babies with no other connections.

Gentlemen, regardless of age or single motherhood, it is ultimately on YOU to choose the right woman for you.

This is what the manosphere is trying to do. And certainly what I’m trying to do.

We educate you on the realities of dating, all while showing you the analytics of the world of women. It’s all valuable data that should help a man make a good choice in a partner.

We educate you to date around, have a good time in a responsible manner, and if you ever want to settle down, give you a basis for how to do that.

We educate you on the good and bad of women who are older. It’s a personal preference for many men, and most importantly, it’s not about their age but about their attitudes.

We educate you on choosing a woman based on age because if you want kids, an older woman will probably not be a good choice.

We educate you on dating around to see what preferences you like, and many men, especially in the manosphere, are dating or married to women close to their age with no issues at all.

It’s about finding a partner for your purpose.

Men, take it from me. There are a ton of sexy, attractive, intelligent, loyal, dynamic, nurturing, fit, and incredible women in their 40’s to date.

I should know, because I’m dating an amazing one.

Rise

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

5 months ago, as 2020 was turning into the dumpster fire we see today, I made a decision that would change my life.

I decided to change my life.

I had been tripping around America for almost a year, meeting new people and wonderful women, exploring, going on excursions to new cities by myself, enjoying the new life that I had yearned for for so long.

But a funny thing happened as I was doing this…

I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Not in terms of location, mind you. I saw much of the US that I’d never seen and was doing it alone, for the first time in my life.

But the base, the home, the foundation of myself wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

I was making major strides with women, a weakness I had vowed to correct. My game was getting better, and I was meeting and enjoying beautiful women all over the country.

I had met the men of FoE and forged tighter bonds with them.

I had met Twitter people who became friends and more. Great folks who I truly thank for having in my life.

New things started occurring when I came back from my last trip. And no, it wasn’t COVID, but the timing was the same.

Hard Realizations

It was time for a good ol’ fashioned self imposed time out.

It was time to get the sectors of my life in order, starting with finances, fitness, mental health, my kids, and my home base.

This base to which I tethered to was not what it should have been. It was rotting from the inside out.

My finances were suffering, I was increasing my debt after I had just spent 3 years whittling it down from $75,000 to just under $23,000. But I was racking up credit card debt with my traveling, wining and dining women, and spending money on meetups with new friends. Something had to give, and it was my wallet.

I had never fully committed to doing all I could to get my debt down. I had hoped I could just wing it by half-assing it, and it didn’t work.

The debt principles I’ve lived with my whole life were being ignored in the pursuit of a good time, and while I had a lot (a whole lot) of fun, when I got back to see the receipts I was writing checks my ass couldn’t cash.

My kids were suffering from my absence. My oldest daughter had a panic attack in November and was going through the teenage angst a bit early, and with me not there to help her, it was left to her mother, who tried her damnedest to carry it, but ultimately couldn’t. She needed her dad. She needed the calming presence that I had become to her, but I was gone a lot. She couldn’t keep it in line.

We ended up having to work with my daughter in therapy, and had I not been here for any of that, I don’t think she would be where she is now. But more on that later.

My home was being neglected. For four years I’ve lived here and not once have I made an effort to really take back control of my house. Landscaping, keeping it clean, minor repairs, all left undone while I tromped around not caring if they ever did get done. I didn’t have a nice place that I could call my home, it was a pit where I threw my shit in between airport visits.

My work was suffering. As an owner of a small business, I had to step away time and time again, leaving others to handle issues that should have been handled by me. Important, company changing issues that need my attention. It was only after COVID hit that I understood the scope of what my company was dealing with, and if I wasn’t there to face it with the other owners and employees head on, let’s just say we’d be on thin ice.

And finally, my mental health needed a reset. I was constantly traveling, driving, eating out, staying in Airbnbs and hotels, all over the place. I was tired, burning the candle at both ends at times, meeting new people but never having time to really get myself right. Vacations weren’t vacations, and it was becoming difficult to balance it all.

So, against everything inside of me that was saying keep going, let the world sort itself out, I stopped and held up. I was planning trips for April, May and June, and then COVID hit. I still could’ve gone, I thought. Rack up some more debt but then be done and take the winter to catch up.

Wasn’t happening. Not even close.

Presence Required

When COVID hit in March, the uncertainty of it all hit my life like a ton of bricks. My business started to suffer due to closures of customers, trucks backed up, and we were left to scramble to figure out what to do. Had I not been there, I don’t know what would’ve happened. But the team all got together and after having to furlough several employees and part ways with a couple of others, we had stabilized in May. Small business has been kicked in the nuts during this pandemic for sure, and my team made it happen.

My daughter, after having multiple panic attacks and increased anxiety, went to intense therapy with me at her side. It was a struggle at first as she did not want to talk about what she was going through, but with our family together again, my ex and I co-parenting strongly with my presence there, she started to improve little by little. She was put on medication after seeing what a small dose did to improve her mood. She was put on the same medicine I am on, Zoloft, and we’ve seen her life improve this summer and do a complete 180 in terms of her outlooks on life.

My attendance in her life at this crucial moment was imperative. She needed the calm, guiding, levelheadedness that I provided, as well as her mother’s staunch work to keep her calm. Our whole family came together and broke through. It would not have happened unless I hit the reset button.

After gaining 15 lbs over my travels, I had to take care of my fitness once and for all. I hired a personal trainer to help me get to my goal, life goal of 15% body fat. I knew I was headed back down a road I didn’t want to go to, and while in decent shape, I wasn’t where I wanted to be. So I dropped everything and started to seriously take my fitness into account. I threw out all the old, bad food. I started getting to sleep at 9-10pm instead of 1-2am. I had already stopped drinking, but I took more steps to remove bad food from my life. No more eating out at fast food, no more carbs. The time to fuck around had passed.

And with that, I decided to completely renovate the outside of my house. I started by tearing out all the old landscaping and redid the entirety of my home in new mulch, landscaping guard, and decor. New hose reels, siding repairs, wood trim replacement, chairs, tables, and power washing. I was determined to get control of my home again.

My debt needed to be reigned in. I cancelled all credit cards except my business one. I started to throw entire paychecks at my bank debt from my divorce. I then chewed through my credit card debt. Knocking out over $14,000 in just 4 months, I currently sit (as of this blog post) at $8000 left to pay my ex-wife for my settlement. And I’m not looking back.

All of this combined has improved my mental health. I joined a men’s group to continue to improve my mind as well as help other men try to work on their lives. My home, now handled, became a place of peace, where I could work and live without stress. As of this writing, I’m sitting on my improved back porch typing, with everything cleaned, fixed, and improved.

The Goal

So what’s the point of this self imposed exile?

It was and always has been about getting better.

When you feel like you’re the best you can be, you don’t see that there are ALWAYS areas you can improve.

My whole life has been 75%. I would do up to about 3/4 of the improvement then stop and do something else.

Not this time.

This time, I will see it through. This is my future. I’m trying to shape my life the way I want it, and half to 3/4 ass isn’t going to cut it.

It’s time to stop playing games and start pushing through the tough bits to get to where I want to be.

Debt free except the house.

15% body fat.

Stress reduced living.

Making moves in my side hustle.

Continuing to help men get through their lives.

Monk mode is needed for you to get better.

Take the time to work on yourself with no distractions, no apologies, and no bullshit.

You have the keys to it, you just have to cut out the meaningless crap to get through it.

And it never stops.

My self imposed exile will end at the end of this year. At that time, I will have:

  • Lost almost 100 lbs
  • Paid off over $75,000 of debt
  • Created a safe, healthy mental environment for myself and my family
  • Made my home a better place to live

All of this to take off into 2021. Regardless of what happens, I’ll know that the steps I took this year put me ahead for good, and I’m not looking back.

Storms

The phone rang about 2 that afternoon, I was in the middle of working on some things for work. It was my oldest daughter…

“Ally’s having a seizure.”

Fuck.

With a rushing heart, I ran out of the office and bolted to my car. Jumping in and driving as fast I could.

When I arrived at my ex’s home, I found my 10 year old completely out of it laying on the ground with her mother rubbing her head. She was still recovering from her first seizure after 8 months.

Dammit.

We had seen such improvement, we thought we had the epilepsy kicked. We only needed another 16 months of no new seizures….but, alas, that’s not how the story’s going to go.

As her mother got up to tend to other things, I laid with my daughter on the floor of the bedroom and rubbed her head. I didn’t want this to happen, but it had. That’s the deal.

She had gone into the other room to play with the cat and that’s when my ex and my oldest daughter heard a thud. They called out to my daughter, but no response. Then they heard another thud. When my ex got there, my daughter was leaning against the wall, unresponsive to words, and my ex knew.

She laid her down and held her as she had the seizure, which was in many cases, different from the ones before. No convulsing, no foaming at the mouth, but my ex knew this was happening.

After my ex had administered the meds to bring my daughter back out of her seizure, she had a gigantic headache and slept for 14 hours. A seizure is like running a marathon for your mind and it wears you out.

So, in the quiet of the room, I looked at my daughter resting after this incident and just kept saying, “When is shit gonna calm down. Fuck.”

Guess what Mr Beckett? It doesn’t.

When Times Are Tough

Without a doubt, this is one of the most challenging times for many of us, and I’m not an exception. As a small business owner, I’ve had to lay off my part time staff, hoping that one day soon I can hire them back. Everyone is surrounded by uncertainty and government handouts only help for so long.

Still, it speaks volumes for people who are struggling right now that it’s EVERYONE that seems to be going through some shit on some level or another. It always helps when people who are struggling just like you understand and empathize with you on your journey. That’s one of the brightest spots in all of this.

But it still doesn’t answer the questions that we all have that generate self doubt in all of us everyday. Why? Why does this happen?

People try so hard to control what can’t be controlled, they sometime forget to read that sentence again. “You can’t control what can’t be controlled.”

Which is why the only thing you can do during a storm is seek shelter and wait until it passes. You can scream at the storm to stop, you can run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, you can jump up and down in anger, but the storm is still going to strike.

Which is why, after 20 years before of looking up at the sky and asking “why me?” I was calm, collected, and smiling as I looked at my daughter post seizure sleeping after it passed. I knew that there wasn’t shit I could do about what had just happened except what I could do.

So I calmly called the neurologist, who explained that because of my daughter’s recent growth spurts, she may have to increase her medication, got my daughter comfortable, kissed her forehead, and went home to contemplate my situation.

I had a business in the balance of all of this uncontrollable mess, a daughter who has now relapsed into epilepsy, another daughter who’s in intensive therapy over out of control anxiety, family issues, and all the other bullshit that life throws at us everyday.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t sleep much the next two days. But all of that mental masturbation as I contemplated what had happened didn’t help one bit. As a matter of fact, after hour one, I started to work on solutions that I could actually DO, as opposed to pie in the sky bullshit that only landed on the flip of a coin or worse, the spin of a roulette wheel.

One of my most used sayings is “it is what it is” and it continues to ring true in these unprecedented times.

Two things to remember:

  1. It can always be worse. No matter what you’re going through, imagine there are thousands of folks going through worse.
  2. You can’t control it, you can only control how you react to it, or better yet, how you prepare for it.

There will always be a segment of the populace who labors under the false assumption that their complaining will change their outlook. It never does, it only adds to the misery of how they are living their lives.

You can only control:

  • Your actions
  • Your perspective
  • Your reactions to events

This is it. There’s nothing you can do with things you can’t control.

It’s been a long time coming for many people as they continue to get smacked in the face by life to just lay there and cry instead of getting back up. They think if they lay in the fetal position after the punch they’ll get left alone only to find out that life continues beating their ass as they lay there.

Punches and kicks don’t stop because you tell them too. At some point, you gotta hit back.

If you want life to stop hitting you, you have to be tougher to absorb the blows.

But you also have to register that fact that there’s nothing you can do. You can contemplate, you can pray, you can do a whole host of things, but stuff is still not going to change until you realize that you must adjust to it all.

The simple fact that the hits keep coming in your life isn’t your fault but it doesn’t change that they’re going to keep coming at you, for better or worse. If my daughter’s medical bills pile up right before I’m about to make a payment on my debt, there’s nothing I can do about that except move forward with my current plan and tweak when necessary.

My joy of seeing my daughter eight month seizure free was dampened by the most recent seizure, but in the big scheme of things, there are children having daily….hell, HOURLY seizures that can’t be controlled with medication.

And with a simple increase in medication and a bit of expense to restock seizure ending meds in the long run is much better than being whisked to a hospital every week with life threatening seizures.

It can always be worse, but it can also be better.

That’s why, regardless of what is going on, you need to construct a plan, sort of a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” type of plan. And you need to go over it every day and twice on Sunday. Have it as a part of your life.

Plan for the Storm

Let’s be honest, there’s no way to completely plan for every little eventuality, is there? Health issues are unpredictable. Financial windfalls and shortfalls happen very quickly. Which is why what this pandemic and ensuing fallout from it is showing us that there’s nothing wrong with being prepared.

Despite the fact that my daughter had another seizure, I was prepared for it.

We had a plan. Contact the neurologist. Understand the symptoms and what was ahead. Know that the medication amount hadn’t changed and we were going to have to raise it. Know that a keto diet may be in the cards. Know about CBD oil and it’s effects. Run through all of these plans.

Which is why I was set back, but not set out. As unpleasant as the eventuality was, I had to keep it on the table. You can’t whistle on the train tracks all day without knowing what to do when a train is coming, especially on a bridge…(for you Stand By Me fans out there).

You have to have a feel for the track when a train is coming. Which is why the reaction to run as the train came was the only one, and it was a distinct possibility that Gordie knew about as he kept feeling the track.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best is your best stance, especially financially.

In my life currently, I am going on month number 2 of monk mode Beckett.

I am working on paying down my debt, once over 75k to now under 19k with more to come. I have cut every last expense in order to get me over the hump and put me in a better position come 2021. My plan, regardless of what happens, will still be in place. I have contingency plans for job loss, for homelessness, for lack of clothing, for lack of food.

I have contingency plans in place for my daughters. If I die, they have millions coming.

If their health, either mental or physical, becomes an issue, I have avenues to work with. We have different paths that we take to get to our destination, and most often the ones with the most hardship are the ones we avoid, but are also the ones that get us there the quickest.

Every situation you can think of can help you craft and mold a plan to ride out the storm. Which is better? Riding it out in a metal shack with holes in it or a brick house that has been built to withstand the chaos?

You build and you re-build, but you never cower and hide. You make it stronger than before the storm, but you keep re-building. You keep preparing so you aren’t surprised like you were the last time. Adaptation is a key component to a full life.

Death? Life insurance. Job loss? Updated resume on file and hard copied. Health issues? Doctors, specialists and people who know how to treat these conditions. Divorce? Several attorneys that can give you advice. Finance? Invest, have a plan, learn about money. Expenses? Only pay for what you need and pay cash as much as you can. Many ways to skin a cat.

This won’t be the last crisis we have. This won’t even be the last crisis we have this MONTH. So you have to be better and prepare for all things, even the worst things like death, so that you can continue to persevere in this life of yours. Get stronger in all aspects of your life and you’ll weather any storm life throws.

The storms aren’t stopping, all you can do is prepare.

And even better, be the storm yourself.

Promises

Photo Credit: wordsIseek.com

Back when my marriage was spiraling out of control towards the inevitable conclusion of divorce, I was having to justify my decision to end this union with all of my family, friends, and co-workers.

The unavoidable question would always start the conversations.

“Why did you do it?”

There were many reasons I tried to justify my actions, with these being the primary:

  • Sex was non-existent
  • We were two people running a business, not a marriage
  • No communication
  • Lack of understanding
  • Change averse
  • Staying married for the kids was toxic for said kids

But the biggest one, after 4 years of reflection of my decade long marriage, was one thing.

I didn’t keep my promise.

I had made a promise to my then girlfriend, future wife, and future ex on a cold day in Noblesville, IN at a Wal-Mart. And no, I didn’t propose to her there, or the marriage wouldn’t have lasted longer than Black Friday.

It was a serious conversation we were having about her father, who disappeared from her life for 5 years. She straight up told me about this rough time in her childhood, where she literally didn’t have a childhood because of a crazy ass mom and a dad who left her. She was essentially abandoned by her dad and in absolute disgust, her mom took her anger for her dad out on her, her sister, and her cousin. There they were, living together while their mothers did everything but raise them, and their father, at least for two of them, had essentially abandoned them.

She didn’t trust men, and why would she? Having that stuff happen made me realize that despite all of my parent’s issues, they stayed together, worked on stuff together, and truly loved each other. What compels a man to leave his family, even if he didn’t like his wife?

So there we were, on that day, talking about my commitment to her.

How I wouldn’t leave her….

How I wouldn’t run when the going got tough….

How I would be different than her father…

All because I wanted to make her happy.

I was keeping a promise because I thought that was what she wanted me to do. We had been dating for almost a year when this happened, and I wanted her to think I was different. I wasn’t. I failed.

A Choice

So, flash forward to the end of our marriage, my justifications for leaving, and my reaching for anything that would make this choice feel better.

There wasn’t a way to feel better, it just sucked. I had to go through two years of therapy to try and avoid the major issues confronting me and my marriage, and trying to find a way to keep my promise. I kept coming up short. I had written a check that was going to bounce. And it was past me’s fault.

I knew I’d be breaking my promise. It was all my fault for doing so.

I had told her that I wasn’t going anywhere, no matter what. I had made vows to the same commitment. I had reneged on my promise.

I hadn’t just broken it, I had shattered it, ran a lawn mower over it, and taken a sledge to the rest.

I’d made a promise to not leave her, no matter what, because I’d be proving her right, because men leave.

At every therapy session, at every discussion with my then wife, at every family function when asked “How are you guys doing?”, I had to think about my answer very carefully and lie to cover up the promise I made.

So here I was, breaking promises to family and friends to keep the promise I made to my wife. I had to miss events, I had to tell my friends I couldn’t hang out. I had to tell my co-workers they couldn’t count on me because my wife needed me to be there. And be there ALL THE TIME.

What promises are worth keeping? What promises are worth breaking?

NONE.

But what do you do when a promise you made is affecting your life so adversely that keeping it is destroying your soul?

What do you do when a promise you keep is keeping you from making other promises or worse, breaking promises to other people you love?

What the hell did I do? I was torn between a choice of the promise I made to my wife and promises I was breaking to everyone else, especially myself….

That was the reason I had to have two years of therapy to convince myself of the correct answer. No one was going to understand it except me, and even then, I would get backlash from all of the family and friends I was trying to protect by making this decision.

In other words, it was a shit sandwich with no choice but to take a bite.

When you make too many promises to too many people, you’re eventually going to be forced to break all of them….no matter the situation.

So I had some soul searching to do as I pondered my decision. I knew I needed to take my life back, because I had made a promise to myself to change, put myself back in charge of my life, stop doing things to make people happy and start doing things that made a difference in my own life.

And I knew, when I made this choice to leave my wife, EVERYONE was going to hate me for it. When you choose your own self interest after years of choosing everyone else’s, you’re bound to be on part of the journey alone because of all the hurt feelings. Once again, a shit sandwich….

So, I made my decision. And 4 months later, I was alone in a gigantic house, no furniture, going to my mother’s place for dinners, 40 year old grown man trying to get his life together. But I knew that my decision would have short term consequences, the long term of being able to look at myself in the mirror again was severely outweighing the short term stuff.

But I still couldn’t escape the fact that I broke my promise. I screwed up royally, and this break would affect me for the next 4 years, in all facets of my life.

Getting Passed It

My life was a mess, but it was at my own choosing. I’d much rather rebuild from the rubble into something I wanted versus trying to balance all the promises I made that I couldn’t keep. It was me trying to make myself happy versus trying to make the world happy.

I still had lit the fuse….and the shit had blown.

So, I continued therapy to make sense of the rubble and piece it back together into some semblance of order in my life.

I remember a night in particular, drunk off my ass, three days before my closing with a shit ton to do to the house, deeply in debt, depressed, suicidal, and having empty sex. I was stressed beyond belief, contemplating bankruptcy. It was then I was at rock bottom, and I saw me for who I really was. This was my decision, but this was what I needed in order to be who I wanted to be.

You always second guess decisions that are going to adversely affect your life as if they are even needed. You look back and wonder what you could’ve done differently, but as I stared at my drunken reflection in the mirror, I realized that the promise I broke freed me from a life that wasn’t real, that wasn’t me. And I needed to break the promise in order to get on with my life.

But I knew it was going to suck, and it sure did. But slowly, the rubble of the broken promise started taking shape into a life that I could actually have to make the promises I really wanted to make. The promises that I knew I could keep.

You can’t pick the promises you want to keep. You have to have the confidence to make a promise you’ll be sure to keep. Breaking promises is a serious issue and I, of all people, know the consequences of it.

You have to be able to understand that you make mistakes, that we all make promises sometimes that we shouldn’t, and we all do horrible things to ourselves in order to keep them, JUST TO MAKE ANOTHER PERSON HAPPY IN THE SHORTEST OF SHORT TERMS.

Promises are what you do for people, not how you feel for people. If you truly love someone, you won’t have to make a promise because your presence, your true self is enough for that person to know you are there for them. A promise is a task, not a goal.

But you still have to keep them. You still have to have your integrity. A promise is an extension of yourself to someone else. And if you can’t keep your word, you really don’t have much left to keep.

Which is why, 4 years later, after countless hours of guilt, shame, and perceived failure, I can finally make promises again, but I’m careful what I promise and who I promise to. You have to take what you can do very seriously because when people count on you, you have to come through for them for yourself, not for what they can give you. A promise is trust in yourself, what you can accomplish, and who can trust you.

Because if you can’t trust yourself, who the hell can you trust.