And that time is now. What a better time to make changes in your life than in the new year? It has been a long time coming, and I have been avoiding the inevitable, but the time is now. Everyone faces trials and tribulations in their lives, in some way or another, and how we cope with them is entirely up to us…
I have been dealing with things at my own pace, and in my own way for the last three years; more or less just letting life kind of pass me by and not taking a whole lot of responsibility for the way it goes. Needless to say, that needed to change and I am working on it; a work in progress if you will. Three years ago, give or take, I became a single dad; that is not news to anyone who knows me. At that point, I took on a lot more responsibility than I could have ever imagined. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not one to give up easily at all, well this time I did. I let it get the best of me and gave up. What did I give up on? Myself. I gave up the person who I was. It took me quite a bit of time to realize it, and honestly, I am ashamed of it. This is in no way a stab at my children, my ex-wife, my father, my mother, or anyone at all for that matter; just me. To avoid annoying you with all of the details, because you could revert to previous posts to find out more, my wife and I parted ways and I began living this life as a single dad. At that point, I did what any man would do.
Scratch that, I did what any GOOD man would do. Because yes, I could have been like so many other men out there in the world and abandon my responsibilities as an adult and a parent and went about my days living a real bachelor life. I, on the other hand, did not. I went about my days being super-dad. I delved deeper into the lives of my children and become engrossed in what their lives, I spent as much time with them as I could, I devoted every bit of my spare time with them. On top of all this, I moved my father into my home to help him out as well. His health had been on a decline and I did not want to wake up in the middle of the night to a phone call that something had happened. My home is always open to my family to the ones I love, with open arms, I will welcome anyone who needs help because that is the kind of person I am. Having my father there eased a great deal of trouble on my mind, as I did not have to worry about driving over to check on him daily, and on top of that I did not need to search for a daytime babysitter for my son. Great, burdens eased. Not. It became a little harder on me mentally and physically.
Do I regret any bit of it at all? Not in the least bit. Do I want any of it to change? Not a chance. What I am getting at, is that I gave up on myself. I gave up on any chance of me living a normal life of a single, 32-year old man, decent looking man. At this point, I devoted all of my time to family, and only family. Little to no time was devoted to me, to Shane; that was gone. I can count on both hands how many times I have gone out to a bar or out with with friends over the last three years. Without delving too much into my personal life, I can count on less than three fingers how many women I have so much as even kissed. And why? Why did I do this to myself? At first, I thought it was because I was doing it to rebuild myself and find my center, find out who I was, be a happier person. In a very long, roundabout way, that is exactly what I did. That is what this is about, I fell, I lost who I was, and now I am picking myself up, this is my time to rebuild.
Three years ago, Shane Bradley was lost. No real direction, no owners manual, no search and rescue teams, no Google search could help. I thought what I was doing was what would make things easier for me. Boy, was I wrong. I turned away helping hands, shoulders to cry on, friends to be there for me; I secluded myself completely. I wanted to face it all on my own, I wanted to conquer my demons by myself. The result, I became the demon I was trying to escape. I sit here typing this up, breaking the shell of a man that I became piece by piece, getting my voice heard, becoming me. This was at no fault of anyone but my own, I realize that now. Everything that has happened to me in the last three years has been a direct result of how I treated myself. They say if you love something, let it go, if it comes back it’s yours…or something like that. Truth be told, I let myself go, completely, and without knowing. This is me coming back; my mind, my heart, my soul.
I remember a time when people could have described me as a happy-go-lucky, always happy, always smiling, always laughing guy; a fun person, a loving person; people who know me now would have never guessed that. Hell, my daughter could still remember when I was “fun”. Instead, I come home from work every day sour, a scowl across my face, and just gloomy…at all times. Those days are over. Today, I am taking control of my happiness. I put aside my own happiness because I thought I has to constantly give to be happy, that I had to take care of everyone I knew to be happy, and just be completely self-less. I was wrong. I now realize that it is entirely okay to be selfish at times, in fact, it’s needed. You have to take care of yourself to be able to take care others. I got a little teary eyed and choked up when I realized that I am not 100% sure if my four year old son has even seen his daddy actually happy. Like truly happy. And that is NOT okay with me.
My goal here is not to only find who I was again, but to take that person and combine him with all of the knowledge, pain, troubles, and wisdom that I have now; an improvement. I want to become the best possible version of myself. I have to. I need to take better care of myself; mind, body, and soul, in order to take care of those around me. It is perfectly acceptable to take a little “me-time” to recharge who you are and unwind. I have every intention of doing that from this point forward, unwinding when needed instead of letting it all build up inside until I break down. Nobody likes a fuddy-duddy. Here’s to a new year, a new me, a new adventure.
What’s your adventure?
**SIDE NOTE** A big help for me, in my life has always been music. The biggest help through my troubling times as been the song “Man In The Mirror”, yes, the Michael Jackson song. But my favorite version is sang by James Morrison, look it up if you need a pick me up or you want to fix who you are.