It’s been a tumultuous month for me. The past 14 months haven’t exactly been a riot, but it’s been great being a stay at home Dad, studying. And I think that on the home front and the study front, I’ve done pretty well. I have occasionally bitten off more than I could chew, but I’m still on top and that’s something.

Recently though, I find myself increasingly wanting to find some more normality with life. Days seem to roll into one another and I dislike the disparity between days that are so full and busy I can barely breath and others so debilitatingly boring that I end up not doing anything constructive at all. One of the major problems I have discovered with being home and self-paced is one of motivation, and this is something that has plagued me my whole life. I am a very passionate person, and I love to jump fully into things with my eyes open and irrespective of consequence, but to take this action independently is something I’ve always found incredibly difficult. After reflecting on this recently (in one of my dreary, semi-conscious state of minds, after another night of sleep deprivation) I have come to the conclusion that it might be Freudian in nature. Constantly trying to seek the appraisal of others, and perhaps from my parents.

Whatever the reason, it no longer matters. What matters is the future, and this is the attitude I am trying to embody for (at the very least) the rest of the year, specifically in respect to study and my weight-loss.

At the risk of sounding arrogant, my intellect is both my biggest asset and my biggest curse. Apparently I am smart enough to be able to luck my way through life, smart enough to ‘guess’ the answers to the things I need to know. However, I am also stupid enough to never actually apply these ‘smarts’ in any significant way. In many respects I think the frustration I have within myself for knowing that I am smart enough to succeed in virtually anything I want, but constantly failing to properly apply myself to achieve it; is a primary driver for my decision to finally obtain a university degree. I am sure a psychologist could provide us a number of insights as to what events in my childhood led to these behaviors, just as it would be very easy to simply call me lazy. In either case is, this main point is that I need to retrain my mind and body to be more disciplined. To try and change past behaviors and relearning how to think and to stop taking the path of least resistance; lest I actually have to work hard.

This goes for my weight-loss too. I think both my attitude to study and my attitude to weight-loss are a microcosm for a larger, unhealthy lifestyle. What’s more, is that I am able to create an environment for myself that supports my unhealthy attitudes. I’ve lost 25kgs in 8 months – and most people, especially those closest to me consider this to be a great success. But I know in my heart that I barely tried. The same is true of my studies. My academic transcripts scattered with one or two credits and a handful of distinctions and high distinctions. I know I could have tried harder.

But I’ve never been pushed before in my life by anyone. And unfortunately, I seem to resent anyone who ever does try to push me. I live a life of comfort, when I should be living a life of much greater success.

But how do I train this old dog new tricks?

10 years & 1 day

Today marks the first day commencing the 11th year that will be married to my chosen person, @MrsAngell (that’s her on the left). Happily, I can quite honestly say that as we’ve started getting old together my feelings have changed, but only to be deeper and wider than when we first were married.  10 years, 8 room-mates, 7 houses, 3 kids, 2 degrees and 1 cat later; I’ve become so accustomed to her being around that when she’s missing, I feel as though I’ve lost an arm.

Or a leg.

…That sounded more romantic in my head, but you get the idea.

She has been a part of me for so long that I can’t even quite remember what it was like without her, and certainly it doesn’t feel relevant anyway.  After all, who would want to remember times when she wasn’t part of their lives?  No  one.   And all romantic bias aside, that’s the point.  She is a unique selfless individual who enriches the lives of the people she connects with.  I’m just luckier than most people.

She’s sexy, elegant, polite, caring and intelligent and I challenge people to create a more complete list of desired attributes in a partner.

I told her last night, that managing to reach the 60 year anniversary would be really neat, and she pointed out (rather correctly) that 80 would be “even awesomer”.  Of course I agree, because spending another 40 years seems together seems not only exciting, but an absolute delight.  (we’d both be exactly 100 years old on our 80th anniversary for those who are interested).

And it hasn’t always been easy, and sure there are days and even months I’d sooner rather forget but the number 1 lesson I’ve learned over the past 120 months is that anything can be fixed, provided both parties want to fix it. And obviously that’s what we’ve done – fixed things that were broken and had the courage and care to try new things to make them even better.  A mutual friend recently said to me that our marriage was above all others, the one for which this person held the most regard.  “Real”, “honest” and “role model” were some words used to describe how this person saw our marriage, and how they wished to emulate it. It came as quite a surprise, because we were just living our lives.  It does highlight to me how much I can take for granted AND how much I really do love her.  I think she’d probably say the same thing about me.

Our marriage has survived teen pregnancy, family death, family dis-functionalism, breast-cancer scares, lost employment, dead brokenness and financial windfalls; there isn’t much in the past 10 years that couldn’t have easily torn us apart.  But we are not perfect, and we continue to try to “get it right”.

I was reflecting on some of the reasons why we’ve stood together this long, these are:

  • Mutual rule to never go to sleep angry at each other.
  • Trying to keep perspective at all times.
  • Proportional split of chores.
  • Freedom to be one’s self.
  • Listening, listening, listening.
  • Trying to get involved in the other person’s interests.
  • Knowing when it’s time to step back (being secure enough to let your partner experience things without you).
  • A ritualized, regular “date night” – which for us is each and every Wednesday night, chatting, playing games, baking, watching movies, going out, anything actually, but with basic rules which for us are: must be done together and no computers/iPad/Phones).  It’s not a chore, it’s something that both parties want to do because it’s mutually important to us as a technique to keep the marriage strong and healthy.
  • Similar ideological views
  • Identical and consistent parenting views and techniques.

But I think the main reason we work so well together is because we’re so remarkably different.  This gives us a diverse range of conversational angles, but also that each one makes up for the short-comings of the other.  The simple fact of the matter is that each of us, makes the other a better person.  And we love each other for that.

I love you honey.

Always have.  Always will.

Do I Look Like I’ve Lost Weight?

I’ve been on a new diet recently, and it’s had really good results.  I started out 123.8Kg and a little over a month later, as of today, I’m down to 111.9Kg.

Now obviously by the numbers, this is a great result, but the sad fact is that I dont feel different.  I dont feel like I  look different either, despite what friends and family have  said.  I’m wondering if being obese (that word cuts like a knife, doesn’t it?) effects you psychologically more than we think.  This then, after loosing 10cm off my stomach circumference, which should be clearly obvious – just isn’t to  me in the mirror.  I wonder if I might have some kind of body image problem, or worse still, a kind of eating disorder?

I like to think that I am a level-headed person, but over the past 3 or 4 years I’ve been becoming increasingly self-conscious about my body – to the point that I no longer go swimming!  I’m not really sure what to do from here, but since this diet has been working, I guess I’ll just keep doing it, and hopefully, when my current clothes simply do not fit any longer, I’ll feel differently.