It’s All On Me

I decided to take a moment to weigh myself this morning. I wasn’t really happy with what I saw…

My Weight - 02-25-16 - 235.4lbsNow I’m not stressing out over it…it is what it is. I’m not looking in the mirror and hating myself, which is something I would have done a year or two ago (or, really, the majority of my life). No, instead I’m looking at it and thinking that it’s a challenge I need to overcome as opposed to a hindrance or a reason to hate myself.

Y’see, this was my weight on April 6, 2015:

My Weight - 04-06-16 - 239.2lbs

This was me and my lowest emotionally (and highest physically). Thought when I was let go from my job last summer, I tackled the sidewalks and ended up losing a bit of weight. This was October and my lowest weight in about a decade…

My Weight - 10-14-15 - 215lbs

Yes, I realize it’s a different scale but I weighed myself at home on that day, too. I had lost over 20 pounds and was feeling like a million damn dollars. But the problem was that I was focusing all of my happiness into whether or not I looked a certain way. It’s taken me 43 years to figure it out, but I believe I’m at a place where I know what will truly make me happy…and it’s not the scale.

As I wrote last week, I need to find inner happiness in order to be happy. My job…my family…my weight…none of that will matter if I’m not a happy person on the inside. I feel like I’m getting there…slowly, but surely.

logo-maritime-race-weekendI am running (crawling?) a half marathon later this year and the countdown is on! I fully realize that I will never be able to do it if I continue to sit on my ass…nor will I be able to run any of it if I’m almost 240lbs. So this is my motivation for the remainder of 2016 to get off my ass as often as I can. 

I’m not going to set any goals or targets other than to finish the half marathon regardless of how long it takes me. I also want to lose weight, but I don’t want to put pressure on myself. I want to do it on my own because I want to, not because I feel miserable or my clothes don’t fit or I’m unhappy with what I see in the mirror. 

I’m at a much better place emotionally right now, so it’s a matter of getting the rest of my life in order. I’m the one in charge and I’m in the one who can either make this work or not. It’s all on me…so I guess it’s time to grow up and get ‘er done!!

Hey…I’ve got a FitBit and would LOVE to be consistently challenged throughout the remainder of 2016. If you would like to join me (or invite me to whatever YOU’RE doing), let me know!! Hit me up on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Email and let me know who I should search for. I would love to connect with as many FitBit friends as I can.

 

My 12-Year Smoke-Free Anniversary

Today marks the date of my 12th smoke-free anniversary.

Wow…that’s really quite the accomplishment. When I sit here and think about it, it’s hard to believe that I quit smoking that long ago. Heck…sometimes I forget that I ever smoked at all. That, my friends, is a GOOD thing.

I started smoking when I turned 16. This was back in the 1980’s and it was a completely different culture than it is today. You could still smoke on the high school grounds. Heck, you could even go down to the corner store and buy cigarettes for $0.25 each (yes….they sold single cigs back then). It seemed like pretty much everybody was doing it.

I was always a bit of a nerd and was never really one to be considered “cool”. My friends…especially the guys that I wanted to hang out with…were smoking. They probably only smoked to “look cool”, and back then we simply didn’t know any better. That’s just how it was.

I started by having a couple of puffs…coughing up a lung…and then trying another couple of puffs. I didn’t really care for it, but I got to hang out with “the boyz” and I felt like I was actually fitting in (self-esteem has always been an issue with me).

I’ll never forget my first full cigarette. It was a Mark Ten. It was disgusting. The bell rang as I finished it and I immediately went to class. In a matter of minutes I turned green. I excused myself from the class and went straight to the washroom, at which point I proceeded to throw up so hard that I passed out.

You would think this experience would have scared me off cigarettes forever. Nah…not a chance. I didn’t want the cigarette to beat me. I needed to win. After just a few more days, I was a “regular smoker”.

In the years that followed I became a pack-a-day smoker (and not the 20-packs that Americans are used to…but the Canadian 25-packs…and KING sized, to boot…since I told myself it made the smoking experience last a little bit longer). Sometimes I’d smoke even more than a pack depending on the day and the situation (I could go out to a club and smoke an entire 25-pack in a single evening). When I look back, it really is disgusting just how bad I became. I started to measure time by how many cigarettes I could have (ex: driving 30 minutes would be three cigarettes if I puffed quickly). I would sometimes smoke so much in the evening that I would start to gag and cough so hard that my chest would feel like a brick fell on it. Instead of calling it a night, I would get mad at my body for not allowing me the chance to “enjoy” my cigarette…so I would chain-smoke until I got through an entire cigarette without coughing. OUT OF SPITE.

I loved to smoke. LOVED it. After a big meal…in the car…after sex. It was the perfect end to any day and was the best way to start my morning. I was 100% totally addicted to cigarettes and I didn’t want it any other way.

When I met my ex-wife, she wasn’t too keen on the fact that I was a smoker. But at the time, it didn’t matter. She liked me for me and my “bad boy” image (ugh…I was such a tool). Anyway, we dated for a couple of years and she knew just how much of a smoker I was. She put up with it…the bitter cold in the car when I would roll the window just a crack in the middle of winter, the rolling of the eyes when I would go outside in the middle of a thunderstorm just to inhale smoke, the kissing of the ashtray…she dealt with it all.

But then came the moment that changed my life: she told me that she wouldn’t marry me unless I quit smoking.

She didn’t want to be married to somebody who would be dead long before she was. And then it hit me…she wouldn’t actually marry me unless I quit. She wasn’t bluffing. So I quit on February 23rd, 2004 and proposed on February 28th. At the time, I thought it was the perfect way to make me quit: I’d lose what I thought was the love of my life if I started up again.

As the marriage QUICKLY deteriorated, I began to resent her because she made me quit something I loved to do. Of course, that was just me finding another reason to blame her for something, but I think the feelings were still there and were very real at the time.

Once we split up, I had just started a new job and was sent down to Houston, Texas for four weeks of training. I was just craving cigarettes incredibly at this point, figuring I could now “be free” of her chains and shackles and do whatever I wanted. You could smoke anywhere in Houston…restaurants, bars, elementary schools (although I may want to double-check that last one)…and the cigs were soooo cheap. I mean seriously…three packs for $10? The last time I heard it was over $10/pack up here in the Great White North. So how could I turn that down??

But then the realization of the situation set in. I had already quit for 3 years. I was feeling healthier, my daughter was happy to know that I’d “be alive longer” (her words), I could shovel snow and not feel like I was going to die after three minutes, and I could actually taste food better now (not really that great knowing my weight issues now). At the end of the day, there were just so many reasons to NOT smoke (and don’t even get me started on the cost factor).

So I didn’t…and here it is TWELVE years later and I’m still smoke free.

I’m happier. I’m healthier. I’m the WORST pain in the ass to anybody who does smoke…because all ex-smokers know that they’re the worst critics of those who still do smoke. And above all else, I’m with Sunshine…who, quite frankly, wouldn’t have even dated me to begin with if I was still smoking.

Addiction is a brutal thing, but if you truly know that quitting is the right thing for you to do, you’ll know how to quit and make it last. I’m just very thankful that I’ve been able to do just that.

Five Years Later

I find it very difficult to believe, but Facebook “reminded” me on Saturday that my mom lost her battle to cancer on February 20th, 2011. My mom was an amazing woman and the world is a lesser place without her in it.

To honor her memory, I’m going to re-post what appeared on my blog five years ago.  

I love you, mom. I still can’t believe you’re gone. I know I’m far from perfect but I hope I make you proud.

**********

While going through literally hundreds of photos last night, I stumbled upon something I wrote about my mom when I was just a kid. I don’t know how old I was when I wrote it, but it stayed true until the end…

Goodbye mom. You’re in a much more peaceful place now…no more suffering, no more pain.

I love you.

You will forever be my very best friend.

xoxo

Finding THIS Guy

It’s been a rough few months. A series of emotional highs and lows that have taken their toll on me. The battle is ongoing…through depression and ADHD and unemployment…but every time I think I’m down for the count, I find a way to battle back. I refuse to lose and I refuse to let my life drift into a series of bad life choices; my life has been filled with them and I’m not ready to simply give up and not try to take it back.

I don’t know how, but I need to find a way to get THIS guy back…

Anniversary 14CBG - Marathon 096 IMG_0009 033 5K 100 Happy Days - Day 8

Polar Bear Dip

I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I’ve worked too damn hard over the past few years to simply let life pass me by now. It’s time to live.

The Family Movie Night In

 

Winter 2015
Are we having fun yet?

It’s winter, which means for the majority of the northern hemisphere it’s cold and snowy and there isn’t really a lot to do outside. When the day ends and the family is inside the house, there isn’t normally a ton of things to go out and do. Sure…there are activities like skating and hiking and skiing and sledding, but not every family does that every single night of the week that they’re together. In addition, poor weather can result in more time spent shoveling than anything else (at left is our front doorstep last winter…and yes, the snow was over 4-feet high WITHOUT drifts).

NetflixUsually once or twice a week, my family gets together for a couple of hours to either watch some pre-recorded television or something on Netflix. I don’t know about you, but we have our own little set of rituals that have…something that my own family growing up didn’t really have (eat supper during the news; don’t talk; watch tv with the folks after supper or go to your room if you want to watch something you’re actually interested in). The fact that I’ve got rituals with my wife and awesome stepdaughters makes me have “all the feels”. I’m really glad to be a dad, even if it is time spent inside instead of outside.

PIZZASo what we normally do is have a “quickie meal” for dinner. It could be something like pizza grilled cheese sandwiches (which is a grilled cheese sandwich with pepperoni inside, then cut up into squares and dipped into pizza sauce) or pizza (made from scratch, of course…lol) or even Shepherd’s Pie…as long as it’s something that can easily be devoured while sitting on the couch and doesn’t take too long to make after the work day is done.

Netflix on Apple TVWe have one couch and two small chairs for the girls. We usually have me sitting on the left-hand side of the couch, Sunshine sitting on the right-hand side, and one of the girls sitting in between us while the other girl sits off to the right in a chair. Halfway through the evening, the girls will switch spots in order to get their “snuggle time” in. Our television is in the corner of the living room. It’s not super-huge, but it’s 32″ and that’s definitely big enough for us (for now, anyway). The set-up is small and cozy and fits our family to a “t”. 

We all change out of our work/school clothes and put on t-shirts and pajamas. It’s really a LOT more comfortable wearing pj’s at home, and one of the fun things the girls have done over the years is buy me silly pajama bottoms to wear (ex: Smurfs, Muppets, superheroes, etc.). It also gives us that feeling of comfort…that we’re all there to relax and enjoy what we’re about to watch.

How I Met Your MotherLately we’ve been watching How I Met Your Mother (the girls LOVE Barney, the character played by Neil Patrick Harris) and we’ve been introducing them to the glory that is Friends (my wife and I watched the entire 10-season run last year in a couple of months). Both of those series help us laugh together as a family…and that’s really important to me.

inside outIn addition, there have been some great family films that we’ve been watching together: Inside Out makes the girls cry EVERY time (lol), I really think that The Lego Movie is just brilliant and I find myself catching more tiny details every time I watch it, Tomorrowland is a movie I think that deserves a viewing but could have been a bit better defined storyline, and even The Avengers: Age of Ultron helps me bond with the oldest stepdaughter because she’s really into the “superhero movies” right now.


Sometimes we’ll pop some fresh popcorn, other times we’ll share a bag or two of chips. We may not even snack at all…it really just depends. At the end of the day the only thing that matters is the fact that we’re spending time together during a time of the year when we might just be each doing our own thing in the house…strangers living under the same roof.

Netflix - CBGI, for one, would much rather spend time together in a room talking and laughing and acting silly while watching Netflix than doing our own thing. It’s all about family time…something I didn’t experience when I was young.

Finding Inner Happiness

Inner happinessIt’s been a rough few months. I’m a guy who is constantly trying to better himself, whether it’s physically or emotionally. I’m not content to just fade off into the distance and disappear. Admittedly, there are times when I feel that way, but that’s normally a blend of my depression and ADHD rising to the surface. It’s not who I really am, though.

Being out of work for seven months has taken its toll on me. I’m mentally drained and there are days where I don’t feel like getting out of the house…at all. It’s a constant battle to be positive and happy in the knowing that a good job will come around and I will be where I’m supposed to be.

A couple of weeks ago, Sunshine and I had a heated discussion about how I’ve been giving up on living life to the fullest. The guy that she fell in love with wasn’t the man that I was turning into. I’ve been having issues finding ways to be happy that are long-term and consistent. Instead, I’ve been relying on little things here and there to keep me motivated and happy. When those things fade away, I find myself moping on the couch and not wanting to do anything.

She was absolutely right, too. My motivation to live life to the fullest after being let go from my job last summer lasted for a few months. Just as I was falling into a depression, GoodLife Fitness came along and offered me the chance to join their gym for three months. Motivation was at its peak once more and I was all about changing my life and being as happy as I possibly could.

A couple of “final interview” situations really took the steam out of my sails. I was almost hired for two jobs and when I didn’t get them either time, it felt like a punch in the gut. So when Christmas came around and I couldn’t afford to give the kids (and my wife) all of the things that I wanted to give them, depression began to creep back up.

Christmas ended up being better than I expected, but I was still not myself. And my emotional roller coaster hasn’t been easy to deal with. It’s not that I’m the angry guy like I was a year ago, but one day I’d be perfectly happy and content and motivated to run a half marathon in September (something I still plan on doing), where the next day I’d be depressed and not want to leave the house.

After our “heated discussion”, I made a concerted effort to get out of the house almost every single day. I knew that I could no longer find one specific thing to get me motivated or excited about life…it would be up to me to do that myself. I have to find my inner happiness and live life as best as I can, in spite of whatever obstacles are standing in my way.

I’m trying. It’s not always a winning battle, but I’m trying. Some days are a lot tougher than others. 

Will finding a job finally make me happy? Will losing weight and keeping it off finally make me happy? What can I do to make me happy on a consistent basis?