Anyone who’s watched G.I. Joe back in the 1980’s and 1990’s has heard the phrase, “knowing is half the battle,” when being taught valuable life lessons. The point was that you cannot solve an issue if you do not know one exists. This is true in every aspect of our lives. Still, knowing a problem exists is only half the battle. In my opinion, knowing what to do and implementing it is the other half. You have to know how to troubleshoot and how to solve the problem before you can implement it. Knowing how to solve the problem is the most difficult part for me.
One of the biggest problems I’ve had throughout my life has been the balance between work and life. I did not know how to unplug from work. Being on call 24x7x365 didn’t help matters. Even so, I would spend extra time working on my primary job, my secondary companies, and/or projects around the house in order to avoid dealing with issues at home. Two marriages weren’t ruined by this; they were prolonged by this. This is something I’ve known about. It’s been brought to my attention in previous counseling sessions. What I didn’t know how to do was troubleshoot and solve the problem.
Any time I tried to enjoy myself, the thought of everything I needed to do would creep into my thoughts, causing me anxiety. Work kept piling up on me in a never-ending avalanche of distractions. Even to this day, when I want to spend time with the most amazing person I’ve ever had the privilege to know, the thoughts of unfinished work snakes its way into my consciousness. This, however, isn’t the end of the story. Something unexpected happened. I had fun.
Yes, you read that correctly. I had fun. I’ve had a bunch of old gaming consoles, from the NES to the Xbox One, but I never played them. They just sat there waiting to be nuked by some gamma-ray burst from another galaxy. Another revelation to those of you who might frequent this site: the soon-to-be-ex-wife is gone and a wonderful girlfriend is in my life. One evening a couple of weeks ago, she wanted to bring out her SNES and play some Mario Kart. We played this, and even though she might have gotten upset because she was very competitive, and I was just dicking around, not taking it seriously, we had fun. We then played some UFC games, some N64 racing games, and some Donkey Kong Country. Over the next couple of weeks, we played different games, many of them old-school games that brought us both back to our childhoods. This was the first time in a very long time, I had genuine fun without the thoughts of work smacking me in the frontal lobe. It wasn’t until today, when I was waiting to speak to the social worker, did I fully realize this. I knew I had fun, but I didn’t realize how much fun I had, and without the thought of work or any other topic that I stress about.
Sometimes you know you love someone with such intensity and passion, but you cannot pinpoint every reason as to why. Today, I filled in the coloring book of this love by one more color. I didn’t realize how much she has helped me let go of some of my stressors. I still have a lot of work to do in not letting situations or thoughts invoke stress, but today I realized it is possible to relax and not think about work. Thank you, my love! I love you!