As things fell into place in my life, by my mid thirties, I was safely tucked away in suburbia. Three daughters under eight, a big house in need of hours of careful renovation, nice neighbours who were always willing to have a boozy afternoon bbq, and me quietly sinking into a feeling of desperation and loss. My life was turing out, as a bemused Thoreau put it, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.”
Externally, I had everything in place, but internally I had plenty of work in front of me.
There was something missing. Along the way I had drifted away from my life purpose. Somehow being a writer and author and photographer and artist had morphed into being better on the tools, collecting those tools and lining up for bargains at the supa-centre.
Some things were going Really Good
On the one hand I had my small business powering along – I was fully engaged and connected nd loving what I did. I was even breaking through with a start up and seeing all the highs and lows of taking a brand from the very beginnning.
On the home front, I had three daughters! My wife and I were doing well, and my home was only five minutes by car or fifteen minutes walk from my house. I had a huge garden, backyard chickens, I was planting plenty of palms and tree ferns – things were really great.
Some Things Just Sucked
But on the other hand – I was working longer and longer hours – having a new business and an existing business and doing some consulting freelance meant I was stretched pretty much seven days a week.
I wasn’t healthy – I was nearly 20kgs (48lbs) overweight – I was still “giving up” smoking (for the eighth year running) and I was drinking way too much. I was drinking harmful and hazardous amounts of alcohol – to be clear – I was alcoholic – without a doubt. I’m not going to go into too much detail here, but my drinking had slowly crept up to number one priority in my life. And this had to change.
Making Change Didn’t Come Easily
Even though I was stuck, struggling with an addiction on multiple fronts, I didn’t know exactly how to make the break from old life to new life. So I needed to get total clarity around this and start taking responsibility. But that was never going to happen when I could barely string together two days alcohol free.
Long story short, I did not embrace an inner change, but instead surrendered and left it to an outside change.
I was living in a Pretty Prison, with Golden Handcuffs
From the outside, I was living and enviable lifestyle, but the aimlessness and lack of purpose of keeping up with the Joneses in suburbia meant I was deeply unhappy and unfulfilled. And this manifested in excessive drinking. I was hurting – and the pain showed in self abuse through writing myself off with drink.
My pretty prison was “fine” it was :”good enough” it was “OK” it was always being compared to others who were running a different race.
Breaking free started with me
My first step to breasking free was to stop drinking and face my final hangover – which by the way lasted around three months or so. I was tired to the point of exhaustion from late nights – poor sleep and never quite overcoing my sleep debt. So the first three months or so of sobriety for me was sleeping – Friday nights at 7pm – I would be crashed on the couch. Most weeknights – asleep early and – after a while – I began to wake up early in the morning and I came to recall how much I actually love the morning.
Becoming A Morning Person
In Suburbia, most of the nieghbours only get up early for work – I made 6am yoga class my routine. The early start gave me some time to focus on me and set an intention for the day.
Writing Morning Pages Works
Getting up at 5am means I have some quiet time to focus – and I started writing morning pages – as described by Julia Cameron. I’ve been writing these now for over 18 months and they make a remarkable difference – I can se whan I have and when I haven’t done my morning pages.
Becoming a Minimalist
Living in suburbia, it’s always about collecting more or and storing it – and for me one of the most powerful things I did was to de-clutter and strip everything back to the bare basics. Letting go of that obsession with getting stuff, or having it near you, is life changing.
I’m going to share more of this journey in upcoming blogposts, and I would really appreciate you to stay with me and keep on board. It’s also a great way to ghet to know me and see how good a fit we will make with each other.