Category Archives: Thoughts on stuff

My 2014 – The Highs And Lows (part two)

JULY

Save FerrisIn an effort to “get away from it all”, Sunshine and I celebrated Ferris Beuller Day. Okay…it wasn’t the actual day, but rather a day we claimed for ourselves. We decided to have our very own “Ferris Bueller Day” where we simply forgot about work, forgot about any troubles going on in our lives, and just be on a mission to have fun together. As I look back, I can say it was honestly one of the most incredibly fun experiences I’ve ever had. It felt like we did EVERYTHING that day…and re-reading that helps give me hope that everything between us will be okay going forward. We can overcome anything as long as we do it together.

I continued to find myself stuck in a rut. The problems were many and my intentions were good, yet I found myself (yet again) fighting a battle against myself. Sunshine recognized this because my “rut” was rubbing off on her and she wanted to snap out of it, too. I fear I’ve been dragging her down for quite some time now.

AUGUST

Not this timeEven though I didn’t know I was clinically depressed at the time, I felt as though I was fighting the good fight in a positive way. You can only fight so much without help, though. Because I didn’t know what was wrong with me, I didn’t know how to combat against it. Again, I had the best of intentions but if I really was doing well, I wouldn’t be writing about it in an attempt to convince myself that I was doing okay.

The realization finally hit me…we weren’t going to be able to afford a family vacation to Florida. Hell…we were nervous about Christmas gifts at this point. I suppose hitting this wall was a good thing because it helped us find our way financially to the point that we’re on a 2-year plan that should (hopefully) end up with us in Florida. Fingers crossed, anyway…

SEPTEMBER

What would you attempt to do if you knew you couldn't failI was training for a 10K that I never actually accomplished. I mean, don’t get me wrong…I ran 10K not once but twice…but it was on my own time and my own terms. I didn’t end up doing an actual 10K event. But still, at this point I was really in a groove and feeling great about where my body was heading. Who would’ve thunk it? I’m actually running consistently!!

My dad gave everybody a scare when we found out he needed to have a stint put into one of his valves. He had a blocked artery that was 90% blocked. It was a very scary time, but everything ended up okay in the end. Thankfully.

013I celebrated my 42nd birthday. Because I didn’t tell anybody what I wanted for my birthday (I honestly didn’t feel like I needed anything), Sunshine and the girls decided to give me a birthday week! Every day was something different. Never anything big, but at the end of the week (on my actual birthday) I had a smile on my face a mile wide because of just how much I was loved by my wife and stepdaughters. I was (and still am!!) a very lucky individual.

OCTOBER

10K!!I ran my first 10K. After weeks of preparation, I went out and ran 8.5km on a training run. I figured hell…if I can run that far, I can complete a 10K!! So on Thanksgiving morning, I went out and completed my mission.  I beat my June 5K event pace by two minutes and was feeling really good as I entered the final two kilometers. I bumped into Sunshine and she ran with me as I finished my 10K. I was high on emotion and feeling like nothing could stop me. Unfortunately, that feeling wouldn’t last very long…

NOVEMBER

I was going through a funk and, as usually is the case, I decided to write my way out of it. I mean, that’s the reason I started blogging in the first place. So I was writing about why I needed positive reinforcement in my life. I wrote about how I felt a weight on me and how I constantly go down a rabbit hole of self-destruction. I was having concentration issues at work and I didn’t want to get up off of the couch. I was hitting rock bottom. Then as I was writing, it hit me: “Jeez…am I suffering through depression? I sure as hell hope not. I shouldn’t be depressed, anyway. I’ve got a great family, a solid marriage, awesome kids, and a pretty decent job that I have the potential to excel at. Why should I be depressed?”

After just a few hours of research, I came to the conclusion that I was, in fact, depressed. The stream of consciousness writing that was the “Depression” post was me actually coming to terms with the situation I was in. Finally…after months and months of issue after issue, I had the answer. Of course, this answer only raised more questions like “Where do I go from here?”

DECEMBER

depression 1After doing some research, I found more and more information that tied into how I’d been feeling over the past year. Male depression is slightly different from female depression. Men tend to feel weak if they admit self-doubt in any way. That feeling turns to defensiveness, which then turns to anger. It’s a vicious circle because you then feel bad about being defensive, then you sink into depression all over again…which is a sign of weakness.

I tried to figure out how I got to the place I did, thinking that it was a recent turn of events. As evidenced by the 2014 recap, it’s quite clear that this has been going on for months and (possibly) years.

Then I got the official word from my doctor: I had Major Depressive Disorder. That hit me like a punch in the gut. I agreed to begin taking medication and changing my lifestyle in such a way that my body would react positively.

stronger than depressionThe medication was difficult to take at first, but then things started to balance out after awhile. In fact, I started to wonder if I was feeling better because of the medication or because it was a placebo. But in the end, I could tell that I was feeling better and Sunshine noticed the positive changes in me, as well.

Unfortunately, a couple of side-effects convinced me to change medications. And unfortunately, the result was very negative…to the point that it almost ruined the holidays for Sunshine and I. Thankfully, I recognized the issues right away and now I’m scheduled to go back to the doctor on the 7th of January. Hopefully I’ll either find something new to try that works better or I’ll revert to the old medication and try to work my way through the side effects.

That, my friends, was my 2014 in review.  While a ton of things happened, I don’t know if I’d considered it a great year.  I mean, last year I got married and then we spent an incredible time in Chicago with our great friend, Random Esquire; the year before I proposed to Sunshine on a cruise ship; the year before that we went on our first Caribbean cruise together and felt like we had the world by the balls.

Right now, I feel like I’ve been kicked in the balls so the year hasn’t been great to me. What this tells me, though, is that 2015 is going to be bigger and better. I’ve seen what’s wrong with me and I’m tired of living this way. I’m taking the steps I need to take in order to correct the chemical imbalance, and then I’ll take the required steps in order to dig deep and really figure out what’s causing all of this.

By the end of this year, I’ll be able to say that I’ve got the world by the balls once again.


My 2014 – The Highs And Lows (part one)

JANUARY

Choose happinessWhile out enjoying brunch with friends, it really hit me that money doesn’t automatically equal happiness. Y’know, normally it’s the people who HAVE money that say those words. Having been a “have not” for most of my adult life, it was always tough to appreciate the little things. It’s funny that a meal with friends was what it took to helped that light bulb go off.

I also found out that I had been blogging with WordPress for five years. While my original blog started on Blogspot back in 2008, I started I Used To Have Hair in January of 2009. It’s pretty cool knowing that I’ve been around so long in an arena where so many fellow bloggers have fallen to the wayside during the same amount of time.

FEBRUARY

I had a tough time trying to come to terms with the fact that my father chose my younger adopted brother to be his best man over me.  I was absolutely gutted when I heard the news. He KNEW that I wanted to be best man because I flat out told him the year before. I felt selfish for feeling this way (and still do), but I think everything ended up working out in the end.

Rugrat - Jan 2015My daughter was having a rough time with her step-dad and actually asked me if it was okay to move in with me. The actual question was, “I was wondering, by any chance, if I could move down there…would I be able to?” There wasn’t any real ending to the story because she ended up talking to her mom and moving on to the next “teenager issue” in her life. Still…I wonder how crazy-fun life would have become if she ended up living with us.

I can look back at a post in February and see where my depression was beginning to affect me in different areas of my life.  It’s crazy to think that I’ve been going through this for so long, but I’m thankful to know that I’m getting the help I need now.

I celebrated my 10-year smoke-free anniversary. Gotta say…that’s still one of my greatest personal accomplishments.

MARCH

Thanks to a fantastic friend, I started my Couch-to-5K journey. If there was ever a poster-child for this app, it was me. I was literally the guy who sat on the couch all day every day and didn’t do anything remotely physical. Thanks to some friendly butt-kicking, I ended up making changes that would affect me for the rest of my life.

100happydaysI actually followed a meme: 100 Happy Days. I recognized the need to find something happy in my world during a time that I didn’t see a lot of good, positive things (again…I should have seen the signs of depression a long time ago). I’m happy to say that yes, I completed my mission.

And yes, even MORE signs of depression were apparent in a post about why I wasn’t happy in my life.  I spoke of trying to convince my wife that I was happy in our marriage. Considering it was only seven months into our “wedded bliss”, you’d think that was a conversation I didn’t NEED to be having. If I only knew back then what I know now…

APRIL

vacationI was absolutely giddy at the idea of taking my family on a vacation to Florida. So much, in fact, that I spoke about it (ad nauseam) in two separate posts. I spoke about how we’d take out a line of credit in order to go on this magnificent trip. I planned out every single detail while I was at the office. I knew the flights, the accommodations, and every single minute of every single day was planned out. I wanted to give my family the trip that I always dreamed of giving them. The problem, though, was that it wasn’t realistic from a financial standpoint. I was trying to find happiness in something that couldn’t be done…thus giving myself reason to be even more depressed when reality set in.

Hell…I even blogged about how I’d change my life if I had the chance to do things over again. Little did I realize that I was just finding more and more reasons to hate myself for the choices I have made in my lifetime.

scaleI was beating myself up over my inability to lose weight even though I was doing a lot more exercise than I had ever done in my life before. Then I tackled anger management issues as they were affecting me at home and at work. How could I have been so blind to what was going on with me?

Then my dad got married again. It was a very odd time for me. I missed my mom but felt good for my dad to finally find happiness again. Still…I felt weird about the whole thing. I suppose that’s normal.

MAY

I wrote an open letter to my 100-year-old self. In the “letter” were self-depreciating comments and little pot-shots that I took at myself. Sure, it was written as a comedic piece…but why do I constantly feel the need to bombard myself with reasons for disliking myself?

30 tenthMy awesome wife, Sunshine, turned 40. I think I did a pretty decent job of giving her a great birthday. I mean, re-naming the birthday to being a “30-Tenth” was a nice start. At the end of the day, I think she was pretty happy with how things went.

My wife saw, first hand, just a little bit of what I grew up with. My dad’s treatment of me was glaring during a family trip to visit him. Sunshine had seen some of it before, but he was firing on all cylinders this particular weekend. It was tough to handle and tough for her to watch. She gained a lot more understanding of my past and why I act the way I do in certain situations.

JUNE

Step father's dayI had a great Father’s Day. All of my kids messaged me and when I got back from a weekend with the Ankle Biter, my stepdaughters gave me a celebration for “Step Father’s Day”…so I got to celebrate all over again. I felt very blessed.

One of the most incredibly heinous acts in Canadian history took place in my former home town of Moncton, New Brunswick. Some lunatic with an agenda murdered three police officers in plain daylight and put the city on lockdown for 48 hours as the man-hunt was on. It was an extremely sad time.

I ran my first 5K! It was a very small event on a very flat, smooth track. I ended up near the back of the pack but none of that matters because I did it and I finished it. It was an incredible feeling to cross the finish line and see Sunshine there waiting for me. That moment changed my life.

5K


New Year’s Resolutions for 2015

A New Year’s resolution is a commitment that an individual makes to a project or the reforming of a habit, often a lifestyle change that is generally interpreted as advantageous.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Year’s_resolution

I hate these…I really do. Every year I try to decide whether or not I’m going to have resolutions. Then I have to figure out whether or not I can actually accomplish what I want to accomplish.

I need to keep myself in check this year. I’ve been battling demons in 2014 and I’m ready to have them exorcised in 2015.

So here are my resolutions for 2015:

1. LOSE WEIGHT. I know…how many times in the past five+ years have I said I was going to do this? Every single time that I start making progress, I end up self-destructing and things take a turn for the worse. Well…after taking a medication that helped me gain 10lbs in two weeks over the holidays, I’m ready to tackle this one more time. I mean, I just HAVE to do it this time. I started my diet on January 1st and I plan on doing my best to track my calorie intake (using www.caloriecount.com) and eat healthier. I’m committed to not just lose weight but to change my eating habits on a permanent basis. I’m determined to be under 220lbs by the end of 2015.

15km2. RUN A HALF MARATHON. This one is crazy, I know…but I’ve told myself that I’m going to do it. I ran my first 5K in 2014, then I ran a 10K twice later in the year. I don’t care about what my time will be; I just want to tackle a half marathon before the end of the year.  I walked a half marathon before (pictured, right), so if I can do that, I can do this. I think that if everything works out according to plan, I’ll run it close to my 43rd birthday. I can’t think of a better present to give myself than the feeling I’ll get when crossing that finish line.

Debt-Free-Sign3. BECOME DEBT FREE. Here’s the good news with this one: I’m almost there! Once Sunshine and I combined our finances last year, my debt almost disappeared. It grew a little bit over the holidays, but it should be back down to zero by the end of January. Once that takes place, both Sunshine and I can begin working on her debt. Because at the end of the day, her debt is our debt and we’re in this thing together. We’ve set out a budget and so far it’s working (check out our combined “saving money blog” to see how we’re doing!). The long-term goal is to take the entire family on a Florida vacation and eventually buy a home with Sunshine. In order to do that, we need to take care of our financial responsibilities. Thankfully, it looks like we’re on our way to accomplishing our goals. 

4. GO ON A ROAD TRIP. One of the fall-outs from my battle with depression over the past few months has been the effect it’s had on my marriage. It isn’t that we’re not in love anymore, but there’s certainly a distance there that wasn’t there previously. We’ve drifted apart as I’ve tried to repair whatever seems to be wrong with me. Something we haven’t done in well over a year is get away together. Whether it’s a vacation or a weekend road trip, we need to get out of the city and spend time inside an enclosed space together. Most people end up fighting in that type of situation; we THRIVE on it. We need to find a way to reconnect and become “that couple” that we were just a couple of years ago. 

5. HAVE A HAPPY, HEALTHY 2015. After a year that ended pretty rough, I just want to be the best “me” that I can be this year. I want to be happy with myself and enjoy my life, which is something I haven’t been able to do in 2014. I need to overcome this depression and and appreciate all the good things that come my way. I don’t want to take anything for granted because I’m finally living the life I’ve always wanted to live with the person I always wanted to live it with.

I don’t know what 2015 will bring, but I know that only I can control myself and how I live my life.


2014 Resolutions Follow-Up

2014resolutionsI had a number of resolutions for 2014. I had personal goals and marriage goals. I think it’s time to look back at them all and see how I did…

scale1. Lose Weight. Ugh. If you’re a long-time reader of this blog then you know about the continuing battle I’ve had with weight. At one point in 2014, I was down to 221lbs. That, my friends, is the lowest I’ve been in years. I was running multiple times per week and feeling great about myself. Obviously, that didn’t last and I end 2014 at 237lbs…ten of which I’ve gained the past two weeks due to my medication change. Because I now realize just how badly my depression has been affecting my body, I’m not beating myself up too much about it. It was an up-and-down year in terms of my weight, so I can say this resolution failed.

christmas-gifts2. Buy Christmas Gifts BEFORE December. This one didn’t happen, but the pre-Christmas financial planning certainly did. We actually didn’t even start buying gifts until December 12-13. You would think this was a time to panic. Fortunately for Sunshine and I, though, we had already begun working on our budget. This meant that we had money to spend on gifts. ACTUAL MONEY. And out of the three primary areas in the HRM (Halifax, Bedford, and Dartmouth), we did the majority of our shopping in the smallest: Bedford. This meant that we could still go to Walmart, Target, and the other major retailers but the line-ups and crowds weren’t nearly as bad. So while we didn’t get gifts purchased before December, there was considerably less running around. The resolution failed, but we ended up winning.

3. Take a family vacation. UGH. I don’t even want to talk about this one. Needless to say, this one was a giant fail.

Debt-Free-Sign4. Become debt free. It’s hard to believe, but this one is almost accomplished. We combined our finances in late October and started our budget in November. As of the end of December, we’re actually doing really good. I’ve got a very small balance on my credit card and once that’s paid off, we can tackle Sunshine’s two cards and start rebuilding towards a financially sound future. I’ll say this resolution was accomplished. 

Healthy Living5. Have a happy, healthy 2014. Well…things didn’t quite end in 2014 the way I hoped that they would. Obviously, the last month has been tough on me and my family. Depression is not easy to deal with but I’m doing the best I can to become the person I want to become. The next couple of months will be vitally important to both me and my wife. I need to become the guy that I used to be. While this resolution failed in 2014, I think it was a massive step forward to having a fantastic 2015. 

date night6. Go on a “Date Night” at least once a month. Even with a budget containing “Date Night” money set aside for us, we didn’t accomplish this task in 2014. While some dates were had, we didn’t do it on a regular basis. This is definitely something we have to accomplish in 2015. Our marriage needs that “us time”, and we just don’t seem to get enough of it. 

7. Go on a road trip somewhere. Believe me…we NEED a road trip. We need to get out of the city together and get away from it all. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen in 2014. Bah.

CBG, Richard Marx, Sunshine8. Attend at least one concert together. This, actually, was easily accomplished. We ended up having the “Year of Musical Sunshine” because we went to three concerts of Sunshine’s favourite artists: Platinum Blonde, Jann Arden, and Richard Marx. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to see any of my favourites, but I’ve got my fingers crossed for 2015. 

Our money9. Combine finances. Thankfully, this actually took place and we’ve been sharing money successfully for a couple of months now. It’s crazy to believe that I’m doing this, because I’ve had trust issues my entire life. I’ve also had terrible spending habits, so blending our income and handling expenses jointly has done wonders for me and for us.

**********

So at year end, only three of my 2014 resolutions were accomplished. I need to do better in 2015. MUCH better.

What about you? How did YOU do for resolutions this year?


When Bloggers Don’t Blog

Most of my blogger friends have stopped writing.

will blog 4 foodWhen I started blogging, it seemed like everybody and their dog was starting up a new blog and writing. I immediately started following a community of bloggers, left comments, and tried to get all of them to read MY blog. If you go back to some of my earlier posts, you’ll see a lot more comments than you do now.

And that’s fine, though…because I no longer write for them. I no longer write for you (sorry). I write for me, whether it’s good or bad. So if nobody reads the blog, I’m actually alright with that. I’m still going to throw my two cents out there and hope that the people who DO read my blog are entertained.

I think therefore I blogSo yeah…other bloggers.

I can give you a list of about a dozen bloggers who used to be in my whole “writer’s circle” who don’t write anymore. Some of them have even deleted their blogs entirely.

It’s funny…the majority of the blogs that I saw were written by single parents or newly-single parents. I mean, that’s one of the main reasons I started blogging, too. I wanted to vent and bitch and make it known to the world that I wasn’t a terrible father or a terrible person. I had something to say and I wanted people who didn’t know me to like me for me…not what people thought I was.

Thankfully, I’ve made some friends through blogging. Some real, good, actual friends. Heck…one of them came all the way from Texas to attend my wedding to Sunshine! Another who flew us down to their home in Chicago as a wedding gift! These connections are real and they’re very important to me. 

To blog or not to blogIt’s a shame that these folks don’t blog anymore, but for the most part it’s because they’re no longer single. Or if they’re single, they’re no longer in an unhappy place. I’ve seen a number of situations where people got happy and simply stopped blogging…or they tried to create a new blog or a new persona and it just didn’t fly. It’s hard to continue your “single” online persona when you’re happily remarried and in love.

I did that for a little while, actually. I’ve been happy for a very long time and once I moved to be with Sunshine, I simply couldn’t find the time to write as much anymore. Of course, I didn’t have much to say other than, “I’m happy”. Maybe I hit a writer’s block (that I still find myself in occasionally). 

So here I sit…writing away and reminiscing about bloggers past. Whether you’re new to the blog or have been around since the beginning, I appreciate that you’ve taken the time to read it. I may not ever make a living as a writer, but hopefully what I write is interesting enough to make you want to come back and read some more.

And for those other bloggers who have stopped…you’re missed. I hope you’ve found true happiness in whatever you’re doing now. 


#PrayForMoncton

I used to live in Moncton. In fact, I lived there for 10 years prior to moving to Halifax to be with Sunshine. I lived in the area that was considered on “lockdown” as of 6:30am this morning. This whole scary situation is surreal to me because just yesterday I was telling co-workers just how peaceful and quiet the city was.

Then this happened.

My heart is heavy and my thoughts go with all of the friends and family of the slain police officers. The Codiac RCMP are in a horrible situation right now…knowing that they are being targeted by some insane gun-fanatic who is intent on killing them, while also trying to hunt the man down through residential and wooded areas.

It’s weird. You always see these types of things happening in small towns in the U.S. but Canada is always the “quiet, peaceful country”, which is something the L.A. Times mentioned in an article last night:

“Killings are rare in Canada. In 2012, 543 homicides were reported in the nation of about 35 million residents. Just six of those took place in New Brunswick. In contrast, Los Angeles County, with about 10 million residents, had 660 homicides that year.”

And the mentality in Canada towards gun control is different than the United States. We’re PRO-gun control. Polls across the country will show that we don’t have issues with our gun laws. We don’t believe it’s a “right”…it’s a “privilege” that you have to earn by submitting to whatever it is you need to do (I have no idea what’s involved because I’ve only even held a gun once in my lifetime).

So to have something like this happen is even more mind-boggling simply because we’re not that kind of society.  This isn’t who we are. These types of things don’t happen here.

I guess now they do.

#PrayForMoncton


An Open Letter To My 100 Year Old Self

Dear CBG.

First off…holy sh*t, dude…how did you manage to make it to 100??

I mean, don’t get me wrong…I’m stoked to know that I’m still alive in another 58 years and all, but we didn’t exactly live the first 30+ years of our lives in the most healthy way. You smoked…you ate anything that wasn’t good for you…you didn’t exercise regularly until you were in your 40’s. How the hell did you do it?

I’m going to assume that at your age, the memory is pretty much shot. I think I’ll do what I can to help re-start those brain cells of yours.

At this stage in your life, you were totally head-over-heels in love with your wife…known affectionately on this blog as Sunshine. You’ve pretty much chronicled your entire relationship with her on this website, from the first date to the proposal to the wedding day. She is the single greatest thing to ever happen to you and I hope you didn’t do anything to mess that up.

If you did…I don’t think we can be friends. Seriously.

But I’m pretty sure you didn’t. Knowing how you feel right now, I just can’t see you doing something to mess up this relationship. I’m hopeful that you two enjoyed an incredible life together, helping to raise two awesome teenage girls, two pre-teen girls, and a little boy. My hope is that they all turned out to be well-adjusted adults who didn’t murder anyone.

If they did…it wasn’t your fault. That really sucks if they did, though. But I’m sure they didn’t. Let’s move on…

My sincere hope is that once the kids were grown and gone, you and Sunshine were able to live the dream you two had of traveling the world together. I also hope the two of you NEVER CHANGED, because believe me when I say that you two are pretty awesome people right now. I wouldn’t want to know that I grew older and then grew crankier or “more mature”. Life is too short to not have fun.

Although in your case, life is really kind of dragging on…isn’t it?

So what have you been doing over the past 50+ years? Were you able to retire at a decent age? Have you kept yourself busy? Did they take your driver’s license away from you?

Dude…how much do you weigh??

I guess I just wanted to apologize for brutalizing your body for the first half of your life. I also want to say “you’re welcome” for starting to live healthier for the second half of your life. I’m pretty sure that change had something to do with you living this long.

You’re not eating out of a tube, are you? Do they even HAVE solid foods in the year 2072??

Okay…I guess I’m done. I mean, what else can I tell you that you don’t already know? You’ve got a helluva good wife, some really awesome kids, and you’ve FINALLY made steps to improve your life…both physically and financially.

I just hope you didn’t mess things up.

Keep kickin’!

 

CBG

Old Man CBG


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