This post is more about my own personal development and journey as a human being than it is about personal finance. It’s the backstory (well, some of it) on why I’m blogging and why I’m driven to turn this life around and become successful by my own standards. It’s 2017. I’m 34. And it’s time I start making some of my own rules. So if you aren’t into what’s about to go down on WAPH, now’s the time to exit. For those of you who stay, enjoy the list.
I was born an alpha male in 1983.
This was the age of tolerance. Alphas were targeted as bullies, problem kids, and troublemakers. I was brought up in a Christian home and told Jesus wanted me to turn the other cheek.
I was different. And everyone could tell that there was darkness in me.So I retreated inside my mind and did my best to become invisible.
So I retreated inside my mind and did my best to become invisible.
The world wanted me to be meek. I tried to give the Universe what it wanted, making a silent deal that as long as it left me alone, I would comply. But the harder I tried, the larger the chip on my shoulder grew. After my father’s death in 1998, things went sideways. The deal was off and my anger took hold. I loved my rage. It was the only time that I felt there was any clarity in my mind. It was the only time that I felt like I was the one who was running my own life.
The best part was that the angrier I got, the more people wanted nothing to do with me. I found myself getting angry with people that I cared about, sometimes just so I could have some me time. It was the wrong way to live and I didn’t care.
“The nail that sticks out gets hammered.”
I had to learn this the hard way…
I’ve never been the luckiest guy in the world. In fact, I’m the unluckiest guy most of the people I know have ever met. My dad passed when I was 15. I used to play a ton of poker and I still love the game. But I rarely broke even and never won. The woman I love, the love of my life, the reason that my heart beats, got married. It wasn’t to me. The most money I’ve ever legally made was $12 an hour.
I’ve contemplated suicide more times than I care to admit. The last time was five years ago. It was the most I’ve ever wanted to end things. The closest I had come to actually doing it. I wanted it to be over. I was tired of living. I had nothing to live for. The keys were in my hand. I just wanted to find a bridge. Just one little hop and I’d never have to worry about anything ever again. Looking back, I can’t help but wonder if I just wanted to prove myself right. I always said I’d likely be dead by 30…
Related: FIRE – The path I’m not traveling
I could blame anyone or anything for it. Nothing ever seemed to go right for me.
But the fact is, it was my fault. My luck was shitty because I counted the bad and never the good. I kept a tally of every time the universe ever fucked me, in hopes that one day it would make things right. I’d be a millionaire. I’d get my girl back. Everything would be ok. I’d have a house and a new car.
None of that ever happened. And it won’t happen. My problem was not my luck. Shitty things happen to everyone. My issue was my mindset. It was a sense of entitlement. I thought that since the universe had screwed me over so hard that it owed me something.
My life didn’t start to change until I changed my mindset. I became a hermit. My little bedroom became my Fortress of Solitude. I thought long and hard about what I needed to do to find happiness.
Happiness is one of the hardest things to find in this life. It’s one of those rare times when you know you’re at point A but you’ve got no idea where point B is and the journey to it is a complete mystery. It cannot be mapped out.
There is nothing I can do about my dad. He’s gone. I’m still going to miss him and I still think about him every day. The woman is gone. She’s married. She’s happy. She’s never coming back. I signed on a dotted line and the Devil (Sallie Mae) got my soul. Now I need to pay those loans back in full. Because I wasn’t tricked. No one forced me to take my dad and my ex for granted. No one forced me to take student loans out to pay for an education that I honestly didn’t want and am currently not even using.
I stripped my mind of everything.
Not the memories. But the sadness and despair that came with some of them. I tore away the lust for women and recreational drugs and booze. Letting go of my rage was probably the hardest part (I still struggle with it on occasion). I broke myself down to just the bare bones version of myself. And what I was left with was…
Well, it was beautiful.
I was still me. But what I saw in the mirror was different. It was scarred and broken but it glowed. A polished turd, if you will, free from everything that I had done to myself for nearly three decades. I was just a man. A foundation. And I was finally able to forgive myself for everything that I did to me over the years.
My anger and hate had always been my greatest strength. It was time to let some other emotions into the club. I needed to find balance. If you’re not balanced on the inside, you’ll never find it anywhere else in the world. And that’s where I discovered happiness. It’s internal balance. That’s the best way that I can describe it.
The human mind can be rebuilt. You can’t forget all of the bad that has happened to you in this life. But you can focus on the good. You can make the choice to focus on the present and the future. You can let the past stay where it belongs.
The rebuild took time and it’s still a work in progress. I’m making this post in part because of a popular show that’s sweeping through all of North America. I personally don’t care for it. It’s so easy to come up with 13 decent reasons why you should kill yourself.
There are over 300 million people in this country and statistically, most of you are like me. You’re broke and/or broken. You’re depressed about your situation. You’ve probably made many of the same mistakes I have. You need hope. Not because of your situation, but because all of us need hope. The rich and the happy need hope just as much as those who aren’t. Why? Because hope is the bridge between what and who we are and who and what we want to be. It’s a driving force to life change. So here it is, folks.
Here are 13 reasons why I choose to live:
1. Hamster, Gray, and Baby Shark. My nephew and my two godkids. Not only are they beautiful, happy, and healthy, but they’re amazing kids. I don’t get to spend as much time with them as I like, so one of my goals is to become financially comfortable to the point where I can. I want to do more than just watch them grow up. I want to be part of their lives.
2. For the haters. Every time I reach one of my goals, my middle finger goes a bit higher in the air. Believe me, I’ve accumulated my fair share over the years. This next one is for you, hater #345098. GFY.
3. I want to see how wealthy I can become. I’ve touched on my past in this post and a few others. One of my long-term goals is to see just how much money I can make in my lifetime. It’s a challenge. And a fun one. I mean, considering this project started with me close to $40k in debt, what do I have to lose? And what am I going to do when I die? Not like I can take it with me. See 1.
4. My ideal living situation is almost within reach. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna off myself before I attain it and enjoy it.
5. Blogging! I can’t help it. I’m addicted…
6. My heart is often wrong. Logic is wrong on occasion. My gut almost always tells me the truth. I want to spend the rest of my life trusting my gut and seeing where it takes me. If I had done that in the past, I’d probably be in a different situation now.
7. My years of being a little entitled asshole are over. I want to go back to learning new things and skills.
8. Poker. I know, I know. I never win. I’m not done with the ole girl just yet though. I wanna try it with a different mindset. Instead of “The Universe owes me, I’m going all in with 7-2 off suit, let’s see what happens,” I want to attack the game with the mindset “I’m here because I enjoy the game and the competition.”
9. Mama. My bff. Once a year or so we have the super sappy “I don’t know what I would do without you” talk. If I offed myself, that woman would never forgive me. Every morning, she’d drop the kids off at the bus and shake her angry fist at the sky and glare as hard as her squinty little eyes can. I can’t have that on my conscious.
10. Food. Glorious food. There’s a lot of yummies I’ve yet to treat myself to. That needs to change.
11. I haven’t been to Quebec. What? Yeah. That’s right. I have a gamer buddy up there and he’s always talking about it. I spend a little time every week reading about it and looking at pics, asking stupid noob question, etc… NADIA!
12. Tea and relaxation. It’s the favorite part of my day. A hot cup of green tea, one of my favorite blogs, checking my WordPress stats. Man…it really is all about the little things. I feel like starting the day with relaxing and self-reflection is the perfect way to set myself up for success.
13. Growth. I want to constantly strive to be a better man. I’m nowhere near perfect. But that doesn’t mean I can’t aways work towards being better. There’s one person who can’t wait to see the man that I eventually become. And that man is me.
There was one thing that was on the actual list and not this one. I recently had to remove it. Sometimes no matter how hard you hope, what you want is simply unattainable and this was one of those things. I gave it my all and held nothing back.
Thanks everyone for reading. Hope you like my list as much as you enjoy the show.