Ok, one more post for my kids to read sometime in the future.
As I come out of the hole I’ve been in for the last few weeks I am wondering how I ended up down there. I have never been caught so off guard by emotions before so I’m trying to learn from this experience mostly so I can move forward and improve, but also a little because I don’t want this to happen again. So after a lot of reflection, writing, analyzing, I think I have figured out at least one thing about why my relationship went south and why I didn’t see my emotional fall coming.
Over the last few years I lost my contentment with what I had. I lost my love of myself and what I had in my life and was looking for more happiness from the material world. I bought into the lie that more, or better, stuff would make me happier. When your mother and I divorced years ago, I started over with very little stuff. During that time I discovered how great I felt living simply. Sure I wanted to be a little more comfortable, but I wanted to do that in simple ways. I disconnected from the material world and found so much joy in little things. I treasured and valued what I had and I started loving myself because I didn’t have “things” to distract me. That was the first time in my life I remember being happy alone and it was because I’d learned the value of simplicity and self-reliance.
After I got on my feet a little, bought a house and became stable financially, I can remember how the desire for more material things started creeping into my world. I became comfortable with a crowd of people and started putting myself out there too much. My ego grew and I started getting more of my self image from external sources rather than from my newly discovered internal reliance. Basically I got sucked back into the material world and I didn’t realize it.
This is reflected through my desire for a new car 2 years ago. I remember wanting to get a BMW or a Mercedes because I thought I deserved a luxury car and I wanted lots of gadgets. I completely forgot how great it was to have a simple car that was good for road trips.
At the same time I began not liking my house because it was too small and old. I wanted one of those new cookie-cutter houses because they look new and shiny so I could show it off to my kids and friends. I lost my wonder and love for the coziness of our little house and how it forced everyone to be close and share the space.
I wanted new furniture and bought a big, expensive wraparound, power reclining couch to replace her wonderful purple couch and the chair that she’d had forever. That couch was perfect for us for so long and I completely disregarded it while I was caught up in finding something new.
I bought her new cookware for Christmas and was upset when she didn’t want them and returned them. I see now that this was a sign that I had lost touch with where I once was and where she still was. The "me" from a few years ago would never have wanted to buy new cookware. We both enjoyed having the old stuff and really liked the hodge-podge collection of Goodwill dishes we had collected together. Why would I ever think she would want new, shiny Walmart cookware?? I look back and wonder who that guy was?
So basically I fell in love with worldly things and out of love with the core of our relationship which was built on simplicity. I had changed and not in a productive way. This change pulled me away from her and towards the world of new shiny things that held no real value. Because I was caught up in this desire, I didn’t see how I had lost the core of what made me truly happy. So when I decided that I wanted a new shiny girlfriend I was unable to see how I was actually pulling the final leg out of what had been supporting me through this time. This is why I didn’t see the fall. There were signs and I missed all of them. Once she left all I had were my shiny things and they were not (could not) making me happy and I had nothing to hold onto. As cliché as it sounds, I had to lose the most important things in order to see that I had my head in the wrong place.
The lesson for you kids: Be careful where you set your sights. It’s OK to want to improve your comfort level in life but you must always hold true to those core things that make you happy. Lots of things will promise you more happiness but you have to be wary of them. Don’t sell out your happiness to worldly things. Figure out quickly what makes you truly happy and never ever forget them or take them for granted. Treat them like the treasure they are and keep them close.
Thanks for listening
Thanks for listening