I am writing this almost exactly a year after a I wrote a document “Things to do in my last year of life”. I extended the three day rule I talk about in Help me to one year. I only had four things on that list.
- Get my company on an even footing so it could continue fine without me. Done.
- Sort a complicated but heartfelt present for my sister’s 60th birthday. Done.
- Find a group of volunteers to run this site without me. Not done. Tried, but harder than I thought to find the right sort of people.
- Meet, kiss, then date a girl I met in a club. I always thought that would be quite exciting. It didn’t happen, but then I didn’t try either!
It was a strange and depressingly short list. I thought get some important stuff sorted, and be ready to check out. I told my therapist all this, and that I was planning to stop therapy in four months.
But here I am, a year later. Still alive, still in therapy. That constant desire to not have to endure life has gone. And I can’t even put my finger on why. I was just in a real state last winter. Lonely, isolated, depressed. This year, not. Which doesn’t mean I am full of joie de vivre either – far from it. But I do feel better than a year ago. MUCH better. Just proves things can change over time.
For me, relationships have always been a massive challenge. Somehow, in Feb last year, events conspired for me to meet three women. The stunningly gorgeous one was such hard work she did not feel worth the effort. The one I thought I connected with really well had her own stuff going on and just wasn’t in town enough to have a relationship. Or else used that as an excuse to not see me again. I was really disappointed. Which left the third lady. Who was nice, and ready to be in a relationship – and so one transpired, and we were together for 10 months. Which is a record for me.
I wish I could report that being in a relationship was transformational. For me, it certainly was not. It was bloody challenging every step of the way! Could I accept her as she is? Could I accept me? As it turned out, the answers to both questions were no. However, despite all my internal struggles, and a few near split-ups, there was something nice about being in a relationship. A pause in the endless searching for a partner that would make everything allright. Something steady and supportive.
I have recently read a book called Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl, a Jewish psychotherapist that survived war time concentration camps. I thought it would be more graphic than it was, and found it very interesting. It is short, so I recommend reading it. I am sure many people on this website have contemplated the issue of “what’s the point in it all”? Viktor Frankl, through observing people in the most atrocious conditions possible, observed that those who survived had something to look forward to in their lives.
Just holding on to some reason to keep living, and that everyone makes their own meaning. I guess in my case I found four reasons that made me want to live another year. Just four things I wanted to do before I died. But it can be hard thinking of even one. Viktor Frankl also said that the meaning of life was actually the struggle itself.
People have said to me this site is inspiring, or just me keeping alive or doing something positive is inspiring. In the last year a couple of friends have said I have inspired them in relationships. And I think – me? Inspiring others? But I am a mess – why would that be??? My therapist reflected that maybe because I am a mess, and because I fight with the blackness, people are inspired. In other words, my struggle itself is inspiring. I hope so – it doesn’t really feel that way to me.
So 2016 starts with a split up from my girlfriend, and pretty low work mojo. Bored at work. Company stable but not doing great. Thinking about doing something different after 17 years in this company. I am miserable without a challenge to focus and inspire me. The thought of change really scares me. As does being single again; inherently I don’t believe I am attractive enough to find anyone I that a) I want to be with long term, and b) wants to be with me. Just thinking of being rejected by women makes me feel sick, let alone the reality. Maybe I need more practice!
So it’s a tough challenge to overcome. And at the same time, an opportunity. To get work exciting again. To have time to enjoy being single. To have the chance to meet someone I am excited to be with. And right now I do a feel a bit more resilient. It is as if being single suddenly is not so bad after a while in relationships. I see the plus side. Which makes a change. I have realised that despite my job and relationship situation, today, writing this, I feel OK. Wonders never cease. I’ll take it – however short lived it may be…..