Rise

“Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

5 months ago, as 2020 was turning into the dumpster fire we see today, I made a decision that would change my life.

I decided to change my life.

I had been tripping around America for almost a year, meeting new people and wonderful women, exploring, going on excursions to new cities by myself, enjoying the new life that I had yearned for for so long.

But a funny thing happened as I was doing this…

I realized I wasn’t where I wanted to be.

Not in terms of location, mind you. I saw much of the US that I’d never seen and was doing it alone, for the first time in my life.

But the base, the home, the foundation of myself wasn’t where I wanted it to be.

I was making major strides with women, a weakness I had vowed to correct. My game was getting better, and I was meeting and enjoying beautiful women all over the country.

I had met the men of FoE and forged tighter bonds with them.

I had met Twitter people who became friends and more. Great folks who I truly thank for having in my life.

New things started occurring when I came back from my last trip. And no, it wasn’t COVID, but the timing was the same.

Hard Realizations

It was time for a good ol’ fashioned self imposed time out.

It was time to get the sectors of my life in order, starting with finances, fitness, mental health, my kids, and my home base.

This base to which I tethered to was not what it should have been. It was rotting from the inside out.

My finances were suffering, I was increasing my debt after I had just spent 3 years whittling it down from $75,000 to just under $23,000. But I was racking up credit card debt with my traveling, wining and dining women, and spending money on meetups with new friends. Something had to give, and it was my wallet.

I had never fully committed to doing all I could to get my debt down. I had hoped I could just wing it by half-assing it, and it didn’t work.

The debt principles I’ve lived with my whole life were being ignored in the pursuit of a good time, and while I had a lot (a whole lot) of fun, when I got back to see the receipts I was writing checks my ass couldn’t cash.

My kids were suffering from my absence. My oldest daughter had a panic attack in November and was going through the teenage angst a bit early, and with me not there to help her, it was left to her mother, who tried her damnedest to carry it, but ultimately couldn’t. She needed her dad. She needed the calming presence that I had become to her, but I was gone a lot. She couldn’t keep it in line.

We ended up having to work with my daughter in therapy, and had I not been here for any of that, I don’t think she would be where she is now. But more on that later.

My home was being neglected. For four years I’ve lived here and not once have I made an effort to really take back control of my house. Landscaping, keeping it clean, minor repairs, all left undone while I tromped around not caring if they ever did get done. I didn’t have a nice place that I could call my home, it was a pit where I threw my shit in between airport visits.

My work was suffering. As an owner of a small business, I had to step away time and time again, leaving others to handle issues that should have been handled by me. Important, company changing issues that need my attention. It was only after COVID hit that I understood the scope of what my company was dealing with, and if I wasn’t there to face it with the other owners and employees head on, let’s just say we’d be on thin ice.

And finally, my mental health needed a reset. I was constantly traveling, driving, eating out, staying in Airbnbs and hotels, all over the place. I was tired, burning the candle at both ends at times, meeting new people but never having time to really get myself right. Vacations weren’t vacations, and it was becoming difficult to balance it all.

So, against everything inside of me that was saying keep going, let the world sort itself out, I stopped and held up. I was planning trips for April, May and June, and then COVID hit. I still could’ve gone, I thought. Rack up some more debt but then be done and take the winter to catch up.

Wasn’t happening. Not even close.

Presence Required

When COVID hit in March, the uncertainty of it all hit my life like a ton of bricks. My business started to suffer due to closures of customers, trucks backed up, and we were left to scramble to figure out what to do. Had I not been there, I don’t know what would’ve happened. But the team all got together and after having to furlough several employees and part ways with a couple of others, we had stabilized in May. Small business has been kicked in the nuts during this pandemic for sure, and my team made it happen.

My daughter, after having multiple panic attacks and increased anxiety, went to intense therapy with me at her side. It was a struggle at first as she did not want to talk about what she was going through, but with our family together again, my ex and I co-parenting strongly with my presence there, she started to improve little by little. She was put on medication after seeing what a small dose did to improve her mood. She was put on the same medicine I am on, Zoloft, and we’ve seen her life improve this summer and do a complete 180 in terms of her outlooks on life.

My attendance in her life at this crucial moment was imperative. She needed the calm, guiding, levelheadedness that I provided, as well as her mother’s staunch work to keep her calm. Our whole family came together and broke through. It would not have happened unless I hit the reset button.

After gaining 15 lbs over my travels, I had to take care of my fitness once and for all. I hired a personal trainer to help me get to my goal, life goal of 15% body fat. I knew I was headed back down a road I didn’t want to go to, and while in decent shape, I wasn’t where I wanted to be. So I dropped everything and started to seriously take my fitness into account. I threw out all the old, bad food. I started getting to sleep at 9-10pm instead of 1-2am. I had already stopped drinking, but I took more steps to remove bad food from my life. No more eating out at fast food, no more carbs. The time to fuck around had passed.

And with that, I decided to completely renovate the outside of my house. I started by tearing out all the old landscaping and redid the entirety of my home in new mulch, landscaping guard, and decor. New hose reels, siding repairs, wood trim replacement, chairs, tables, and power washing. I was determined to get control of my home again.

My debt needed to be reigned in. I cancelled all credit cards except my business one. I started to throw entire paychecks at my bank debt from my divorce. I then chewed through my credit card debt. Knocking out over $14,000 in just 4 months, I currently sit (as of this blog post) at $8000 left to pay my ex-wife for my settlement. And I’m not looking back.

All of this combined has improved my mental health. I joined a men’s group to continue to improve my mind as well as help other men try to work on their lives. My home, now handled, became a place of peace, where I could work and live without stress. As of this writing, I’m sitting on my improved back porch typing, with everything cleaned, fixed, and improved.

The Goal

So what’s the point of this self imposed exile?

It was and always has been about getting better.

When you feel like you’re the best you can be, you don’t see that there are ALWAYS areas you can improve.

My whole life has been 75%. I would do up to about 3/4 of the improvement then stop and do something else.

Not this time.

This time, I will see it through. This is my future. I’m trying to shape my life the way I want it, and half to 3/4 ass isn’t going to cut it.

It’s time to stop playing games and start pushing through the tough bits to get to where I want to be.

Debt free except the house.

15% body fat.

Stress reduced living.

Making moves in my side hustle.

Continuing to help men get through their lives.

Monk mode is needed for you to get better.

Take the time to work on yourself with no distractions, no apologies, and no bullshit.

You have the keys to it, you just have to cut out the meaningless crap to get through it.

And it never stops.

My self imposed exile will end at the end of this year. At that time, I will have:

  • Lost almost 100 lbs
  • Paid off over $75,000 of debt
  • Created a safe, healthy mental environment for myself and my family
  • Made my home a better place to live

All of this to take off into 2021. Regardless of what happens, I’ll know that the steps I took this year put me ahead for good, and I’m not looking back.

Storms

The phone rang about 2 that afternoon, I was in the middle of working on some things for work. It was my oldest daughter…

“Ally’s having a seizure.”

Fuck.

With a rushing heart, I ran out of the office and bolted to my car. Jumping in and driving as fast I could.

When I arrived at my ex’s home, I found my 10 year old completely out of it laying on the ground with her mother rubbing her head. She was still recovering from her first seizure after 8 months.

Dammit.

We had seen such improvement, we thought we had the epilepsy kicked. We only needed another 16 months of no new seizures….but, alas, that’s not how the story’s going to go.

As her mother got up to tend to other things, I laid with my daughter on the floor of the bedroom and rubbed her head. I didn’t want this to happen, but it had. That’s the deal.

She had gone into the other room to play with the cat and that’s when my ex and my oldest daughter heard a thud. They called out to my daughter, but no response. Then they heard another thud. When my ex got there, my daughter was leaning against the wall, unresponsive to words, and my ex knew.

She laid her down and held her as she had the seizure, which was in many cases, different from the ones before. No convulsing, no foaming at the mouth, but my ex knew this was happening.

After my ex had administered the meds to bring my daughter back out of her seizure, she had a gigantic headache and slept for 14 hours. A seizure is like running a marathon for your mind and it wears you out.

So, in the quiet of the room, I looked at my daughter resting after this incident and just kept saying, “When is shit gonna calm down. Fuck.”

Guess what Mr Beckett? It doesn’t.

When Times Are Tough

Without a doubt, this is one of the most challenging times for many of us, and I’m not an exception. As a small business owner, I’ve had to lay off my part time staff, hoping that one day soon I can hire them back. Everyone is surrounded by uncertainty and government handouts only help for so long.

Still, it speaks volumes for people who are struggling right now that it’s EVERYONE that seems to be going through some shit on some level or another. It always helps when people who are struggling just like you understand and empathize with you on your journey. That’s one of the brightest spots in all of this.

But it still doesn’t answer the questions that we all have that generate self doubt in all of us everyday. Why? Why does this happen?

People try so hard to control what can’t be controlled, they sometime forget to read that sentence again. “You can’t control what can’t be controlled.”

Which is why the only thing you can do during a storm is seek shelter and wait until it passes. You can scream at the storm to stop, you can run around like a chicken with it’s head cut off, you can jump up and down in anger, but the storm is still going to strike.

Which is why, after 20 years before of looking up at the sky and asking “why me?” I was calm, collected, and smiling as I looked at my daughter post seizure sleeping after it passed. I knew that there wasn’t shit I could do about what had just happened except what I could do.

So I calmly called the neurologist, who explained that because of my daughter’s recent growth spurts, she may have to increase her medication, got my daughter comfortable, kissed her forehead, and went home to contemplate my situation.

I had a business in the balance of all of this uncontrollable mess, a daughter who has now relapsed into epilepsy, another daughter who’s in intensive therapy over out of control anxiety, family issues, and all the other bullshit that life throws at us everyday.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t sleep much the next two days. But all of that mental masturbation as I contemplated what had happened didn’t help one bit. As a matter of fact, after hour one, I started to work on solutions that I could actually DO, as opposed to pie in the sky bullshit that only landed on the flip of a coin or worse, the spin of a roulette wheel.

One of my most used sayings is “it is what it is” and it continues to ring true in these unprecedented times.

Two things to remember:

  1. It can always be worse. No matter what you’re going through, imagine there are thousands of folks going through worse.
  2. You can’t control it, you can only control how you react to it, or better yet, how you prepare for it.

There will always be a segment of the populace who labors under the false assumption that their complaining will change their outlook. It never does, it only adds to the misery of how they are living their lives.

You can only control:

  • Your actions
  • Your perspective
  • Your reactions to events

This is it. There’s nothing you can do with things you can’t control.

It’s been a long time coming for many people as they continue to get smacked in the face by life to just lay there and cry instead of getting back up. They think if they lay in the fetal position after the punch they’ll get left alone only to find out that life continues beating their ass as they lay there.

Punches and kicks don’t stop because you tell them too. At some point, you gotta hit back.

If you want life to stop hitting you, you have to be tougher to absorb the blows.

But you also have to register that fact that there’s nothing you can do. You can contemplate, you can pray, you can do a whole host of things, but stuff is still not going to change until you realize that you must adjust to it all.

The simple fact that the hits keep coming in your life isn’t your fault but it doesn’t change that they’re going to keep coming at you, for better or worse. If my daughter’s medical bills pile up right before I’m about to make a payment on my debt, there’s nothing I can do about that except move forward with my current plan and tweak when necessary.

My joy of seeing my daughter eight month seizure free was dampened by the most recent seizure, but in the big scheme of things, there are children having daily….hell, HOURLY seizures that can’t be controlled with medication.

And with a simple increase in medication and a bit of expense to restock seizure ending meds in the long run is much better than being whisked to a hospital every week with life threatening seizures.

It can always be worse, but it can also be better.

That’s why, regardless of what is going on, you need to construct a plan, sort of a “hope for the best, prepare for the worst” type of plan. And you need to go over it every day and twice on Sunday. Have it as a part of your life.

Plan for the Storm

Let’s be honest, there’s no way to completely plan for every little eventuality, is there? Health issues are unpredictable. Financial windfalls and shortfalls happen very quickly. Which is why what this pandemic and ensuing fallout from it is showing us that there’s nothing wrong with being prepared.

Despite the fact that my daughter had another seizure, I was prepared for it.

We had a plan. Contact the neurologist. Understand the symptoms and what was ahead. Know that the medication amount hadn’t changed and we were going to have to raise it. Know that a keto diet may be in the cards. Know about CBD oil and it’s effects. Run through all of these plans.

Which is why I was set back, but not set out. As unpleasant as the eventuality was, I had to keep it on the table. You can’t whistle on the train tracks all day without knowing what to do when a train is coming, especially on a bridge…(for you Stand By Me fans out there).

You have to have a feel for the track when a train is coming. Which is why the reaction to run as the train came was the only one, and it was a distinct possibility that Gordie knew about as he kept feeling the track.

Prepare for the worst, hope for the best is your best stance, especially financially.

In my life currently, I am going on month number 2 of monk mode Beckett.

I am working on paying down my debt, once over 75k to now under 19k with more to come. I have cut every last expense in order to get me over the hump and put me in a better position come 2021. My plan, regardless of what happens, will still be in place. I have contingency plans for job loss, for homelessness, for lack of clothing, for lack of food.

I have contingency plans in place for my daughters. If I die, they have millions coming.

If their health, either mental or physical, becomes an issue, I have avenues to work with. We have different paths that we take to get to our destination, and most often the ones with the most hardship are the ones we avoid, but are also the ones that get us there the quickest.

Every situation you can think of can help you craft and mold a plan to ride out the storm. Which is better? Riding it out in a metal shack with holes in it or a brick house that has been built to withstand the chaos?

You build and you re-build, but you never cower and hide. You make it stronger than before the storm, but you keep re-building. You keep preparing so you aren’t surprised like you were the last time. Adaptation is a key component to a full life.

Death? Life insurance. Job loss? Updated resume on file and hard copied. Health issues? Doctors, specialists and people who know how to treat these conditions. Divorce? Several attorneys that can give you advice. Finance? Invest, have a plan, learn about money. Expenses? Only pay for what you need and pay cash as much as you can. Many ways to skin a cat.

This won’t be the last crisis we have. This won’t even be the last crisis we have this MONTH. So you have to be better and prepare for all things, even the worst things like death, so that you can continue to persevere in this life of yours. Get stronger in all aspects of your life and you’ll weather any storm life throws.

The storms aren’t stopping, all you can do is prepare.

And even better, be the storm yourself.

Promises

Photo Credit: wordsIseek.com

Back when my marriage was spiraling out of control towards the inevitable conclusion of divorce, I was having to justify my decision to end this union with all of my family, friends, and co-workers.

The unavoidable question would always start the conversations.

“Why did you do it?”

There were many reasons I tried to justify my actions, with these being the primary:

  • Sex was non-existent
  • We were two people running a business, not a marriage
  • No communication
  • Lack of understanding
  • Change averse
  • Staying married for the kids was toxic for said kids

But the biggest one, after 4 years of reflection of my decade long marriage, was one thing.

I didn’t keep my promise.

I had made a promise to my then girlfriend, future wife, and future ex on a cold day in Noblesville, IN at a Wal-Mart. And no, I didn’t propose to her there, or the marriage wouldn’t have lasted longer than Black Friday.

It was a serious conversation we were having about her father, who disappeared from her life for 5 years. She straight up told me about this rough time in her childhood, where she literally didn’t have a childhood because of a crazy ass mom and a dad who left her. She was essentially abandoned by her dad and in absolute disgust, her mom took her anger for her dad out on her, her sister, and her cousin. There they were, living together while their mothers did everything but raise them, and their father, at least for two of them, had essentially abandoned them.

She didn’t trust men, and why would she? Having that stuff happen made me realize that despite all of my parent’s issues, they stayed together, worked on stuff together, and truly loved each other. What compels a man to leave his family, even if he didn’t like his wife?

So there we were, on that day, talking about my commitment to her.

How I wouldn’t leave her….

How I wouldn’t run when the going got tough….

How I would be different than her father…

All because I wanted to make her happy.

I was keeping a promise because I thought that was what she wanted me to do. We had been dating for almost a year when this happened, and I wanted her to think I was different. I wasn’t. I failed.

A Choice

So, flash forward to the end of our marriage, my justifications for leaving, and my reaching for anything that would make this choice feel better.

There wasn’t a way to feel better, it just sucked. I had to go through two years of therapy to try and avoid the major issues confronting me and my marriage, and trying to find a way to keep my promise. I kept coming up short. I had written a check that was going to bounce. And it was past me’s fault.

I knew I’d be breaking my promise. It was all my fault for doing so.

I had told her that I wasn’t going anywhere, no matter what. I had made vows to the same commitment. I had reneged on my promise.

I hadn’t just broken it, I had shattered it, ran a lawn mower over it, and taken a sledge to the rest.

I’d made a promise to not leave her, no matter what, because I’d be proving her right, because men leave.

At every therapy session, at every discussion with my then wife, at every family function when asked “How are you guys doing?”, I had to think about my answer very carefully and lie to cover up the promise I made.

So here I was, breaking promises to family and friends to keep the promise I made to my wife. I had to miss events, I had to tell my friends I couldn’t hang out. I had to tell my co-workers they couldn’t count on me because my wife needed me to be there. And be there ALL THE TIME.

What promises are worth keeping? What promises are worth breaking?

NONE.

But what do you do when a promise you made is affecting your life so adversely that keeping it is destroying your soul?

What do you do when a promise you keep is keeping you from making other promises or worse, breaking promises to other people you love?

What the hell did I do? I was torn between a choice of the promise I made to my wife and promises I was breaking to everyone else, especially myself….

That was the reason I had to have two years of therapy to convince myself of the correct answer. No one was going to understand it except me, and even then, I would get backlash from all of the family and friends I was trying to protect by making this decision.

In other words, it was a shit sandwich with no choice but to take a bite.

When you make too many promises to too many people, you’re eventually going to be forced to break all of them….no matter the situation.

So I had some soul searching to do as I pondered my decision. I knew I needed to take my life back, because I had made a promise to myself to change, put myself back in charge of my life, stop doing things to make people happy and start doing things that made a difference in my own life.

And I knew, when I made this choice to leave my wife, EVERYONE was going to hate me for it. When you choose your own self interest after years of choosing everyone else’s, you’re bound to be on part of the journey alone because of all the hurt feelings. Once again, a shit sandwich….

So, I made my decision. And 4 months later, I was alone in a gigantic house, no furniture, going to my mother’s place for dinners, 40 year old grown man trying to get his life together. But I knew that my decision would have short term consequences, the long term of being able to look at myself in the mirror again was severely outweighing the short term stuff.

But I still couldn’t escape the fact that I broke my promise. I screwed up royally, and this break would affect me for the next 4 years, in all facets of my life.

Getting Passed It

My life was a mess, but it was at my own choosing. I’d much rather rebuild from the rubble into something I wanted versus trying to balance all the promises I made that I couldn’t keep. It was me trying to make myself happy versus trying to make the world happy.

I still had lit the fuse….and the shit had blown.

So, I continued therapy to make sense of the rubble and piece it back together into some semblance of order in my life.

I remember a night in particular, drunk off my ass, three days before my closing with a shit ton to do to the house, deeply in debt, depressed, suicidal, and having empty sex. I was stressed beyond belief, contemplating bankruptcy. It was then I was at rock bottom, and I saw me for who I really was. This was my decision, but this was what I needed in order to be who I wanted to be.

You always second guess decisions that are going to adversely affect your life as if they are even needed. You look back and wonder what you could’ve done differently, but as I stared at my drunken reflection in the mirror, I realized that the promise I broke freed me from a life that wasn’t real, that wasn’t me. And I needed to break the promise in order to get on with my life.

But I knew it was going to suck, and it sure did. But slowly, the rubble of the broken promise started taking shape into a life that I could actually have to make the promises I really wanted to make. The promises that I knew I could keep.

You can’t pick the promises you want to keep. You have to have the confidence to make a promise you’ll be sure to keep. Breaking promises is a serious issue and I, of all people, know the consequences of it.

You have to be able to understand that you make mistakes, that we all make promises sometimes that we shouldn’t, and we all do horrible things to ourselves in order to keep them, JUST TO MAKE ANOTHER PERSON HAPPY IN THE SHORTEST OF SHORT TERMS.

Promises are what you do for people, not how you feel for people. If you truly love someone, you won’t have to make a promise because your presence, your true self is enough for that person to know you are there for them. A promise is a task, not a goal.

But you still have to keep them. You still have to have your integrity. A promise is an extension of yourself to someone else. And if you can’t keep your word, you really don’t have much left to keep.

Which is why, 4 years later, after countless hours of guilt, shame, and perceived failure, I can finally make promises again, but I’m careful what I promise and who I promise to. You have to take what you can do very seriously because when people count on you, you have to come through for them for yourself, not for what they can give you. A promise is trust in yourself, what you can accomplish, and who can trust you.

Because if you can’t trust yourself, who the hell can you trust.

The Chasm

Photo Credit: Suicide in Judaism

Four years ago this week, one of my good friends from college ended his life.

He was having a huge custody dispute with his ex-wife after she cheated on him with one of his friends. He was fighting for visitation rights for his two kids after he and his ex got into a fight and he was arrested and slapped with a restraining order. He had struggled for over a year with the divorce proceedings, losing his cool time and time again and seeing less and less of his kids.

So, the great equalizer, so he thought, was breaking in to his ex-wife’s apartment on a cold December Sunday and blowing his brains out in her dining room.

I can’t be sure of why he acted with such horrendous judgement. I can’t be sure that he was tired of the process and had no where to turn. He was alone, fighting for his kids, and getting kicked and punched in a metaphorical sense by the courts and his ex, so it seems plausible. He was looking for a symbolic gesture, the ultimate “fuck you” to his ex. I can’t put myself in his situation, although I’ve seen similar things happen to men, but I can’t possible fathom what he was thinking that terrible Sunday.

The story that seems to stick from his family and friends is that he was going to “make an example to his ex”.

What ended up happening was nothing like he planned.

His ex, after the initial shock, quietly called the police, had them clean up the mess, fake mourned with the kids, and resumed her life. Everything this horribly symbolic gesture he thought was supposed to get out of her, regret, sadness, misery, being lost, pining for him to come back, didn’t transpire. She cashed the life insurance check, went to the funeral, and then went on with her life.

That’s cold shit. But it’s also fucking reality.

The bottom line in this sad situation is that the only people affected by his selfish act were his kids, who don’t have a dad anymore, and his family, who are without a brother, uncle, and son.

The harsh truth: His ex didn’t give a flying fuck about his death.

His family has suffered for years this time of year because he decided to make a life ending decision. Instead of a holiday filled with happy times with him, his family mourns every year over the loss of this man.

And there lies the crux of why men are doing these terrible things to themselves.

Suicide in the United States is quickly becoming an epidemic. 7 out of 10 suicides are men. These men are similar in mindset to my friend. They feel they have to struggle with life’s problems alone, lest they be ridiculed and made to feel inferior for not dealing with their problems “like a man”. These men don’t go to therapy, as they think it makes them look weak, won’t solve their problems, or is a taboo brought down by other men who “have their lives together.” Society in general wants men to grow up and deal with their problems, but they give them absolutely no road map on how to accomplish that.

I’m sure, never in his wildest fantasies about his suicide, would he have imagined his ex coming in, taking a mop and bucket to his mess, wiping the walls with a wash cloth, and moving on with her life. Raw, isn’t it? It’s a messed up situation that he was hoping would end in his ex crying on his remains. But his story, just like all the others, ends the same. He’s not here anymore by his own hand. A selfish act intended to make a huge point ends up only costing some drywall, carpet, and bleach.

The chasm, or the breach that he was looking into, was one of symbolism, pain, hardship, and hopelessness that many men face everyday. But the issue here that I’m getting at is what they think they are doing by sacrificing their lives for some unknown principle, belief, or slight against someone, doesn’t even affect that person most of the time.

Men who feel they have no where to turn will often take their own lives because they lack any sort of out for their overwhelming feelings of depression. Many don’t want to go to therapy, join a men’s group, or talk to a religious leader because they fear they will look weak, be ridiculed, or have their dirty laundry aired to the congregation during Sunday brunch.

So they double down on doing the things they were doing that weren’t working to get out of the hole they’re in. Their feelings of potential embarrassment about being “broken” or needing help override their very real need to seek out professional or group help.

Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help

As I write this, I think about my own denial about getting help for my issues, until I actually broke down and went to a therapist. While therapy is STILL to this day looked down upon as being weak for men to do by society, it was the greatest thing that I have ever done. Not only did it help me get out of a tailspin of a marriage, it also got me my life back. It got me through the depression and rock bottom parts of my divorce where I was contemplating doing the same damn thing my friend did 4 years ago.

I got help, and I’m here today to tell men once again that getting help from someone, any one, will save your lives. But you have to reach out. Trust me, the help is there. I’ve found a men’s fraternity that has given me new life and more help than I could ever imagine. These new fraternities or men’s groups have the potential to help men so much. Therapy and talking to a neutral party can help a man get out the shit that’s weighing him down and making him suffer. The times are changing, but men’s problems are still the same. There are many outlets for you to grow and get better, but it starts with you getting over the idea that you, yourself, can get out of this mess. If you could, you wouldn’t be in it any more.

The chasm that many men face is too daunting, too difficult, too dark to try and traverse. So they give up and fall in. What they don’t see, what they never see, is the bridge just off in the distance, or the chasm closing a few miles down, or the path down the chasm that takes them to the other side with a little bit of work. Their vantage point is one of hopelessness, only seeing where they are standing at that point in time, looking down at their feet and the endless below. They can’t see, or perhaps don’t want to see, the whole picture because it doesn’t fit in their narration of how their life tragically ends. They put an emphatic period on their story by falling into the chasm without even stopping to think who it will affect, how, and why.

She Doesn’t Care

This brings me to the other issue of this blog post, that of the why. Many, many men commit suicide over a woman in their life. They see that she’s cheated on them, so just like my friend, their great equalizer is supposed to be a tragic death throe as their ex dives at them in horror at what they’ve done.

Let me be blunt guys.

The only women that you’re hurting when you pull the trigger are the women in your family. They’ve lost a son because he couldn’t get over a girl who easily got over him. Your sacrifice doesn’t mean SHIT to any girl that you feel it will. Your ex-wife or girlfriend doesn’t care about you killing yourself because of her. She’s already rid of you and all you’ve done is pointlessly, selfishly, ended your life to see what she’ll do.

You won’t fucking see it because you’ll be DEAD.

Many men don’t think any of this through when jaded by a lover or ex.

They just pull the trigger.

The pain of your loss won’t be felt by anyone except those that love you. You are selfishly stealing years away from them because you can’t handle the fact that a woman cheated on you, or left you. This is where you precisely need to “man up”.

Go to therapy, unplug and take control of your life instead of letting a woman with no interest make you do terrible things to yourself.

Crossing the Chasm

I miss my friend. I miss him every day. I miss him even more now knowing that I didn’t reach out like I should have, but even if I had, I don’t think he would’ve taken my help. What can men do to help? What can men do who are struggling? How can they cross the chasm?

I will recommend to men exactly what I did.

First, recognize you have a problem and you can’t solve said problem without help. It’s okay to ask for help. It’s okay to reach out if you’re struggling. How will you overcome obstacles if you don’t have help?

I think of it like my Spartan career. When I trifecta’d in 2016, I needed a team of people to help me overcome obstacles. Sure, the ones I did alone made me feel like a bad ass, but still, I needed help with a wall, the rope climb, or a traverse wall, I had to have another man help me out. No shame in admitting that, nor is there shame in accepting the help. I still got my medal and my t-shirt, and I did it with teamwork. The same goes the other way. You can help others who need it by reaching out and asking them how they truly are, how their life is going, and where their hangups are.

Men have to realize that ANY chasm is not an impossible task. There are bridges, other people, and choke points that will get you across. You just have to believe. Just like lack of belief is strong in determining if a man will take his own life, the reverse can help save it. If a man knows there are ways out of his situation, he will be more willing to trudge on and fight. It’s when that belief doesn’t exist that he will spiral down into telling himself it’s hopeless.

It’s not hopeless, gentlemen.

It’s never hopeless.

I’m a shining example of what can be done if you truly reach out for help. I’ve only gained in my masculinity and my manhood by asking other men to help me achieve things in my own life.

Guys, if you are struggling with thoughts of suicide and depression in your life, the first thing you have to do is recognize the problem. The second thing you need to do is seek help from either a therapist, religious leader, or a men’s group of like minded men. The third? Action.

These things alone will help pull you from the chasm and get your life back on track. But be prepared to understand that it’s still on YOU and that you must take these steps to get your life back. The men can help you on the path, but you still have to take the steps to make it happen. Accountability and tough love are in for you, because you aren’t special, your problems are the problems of many other men, and a greater man can overcome these problems with relative ease compared to you.

You can’t just float and hope the wind blows. You still have to take positive, real ACTION for your life to get better. That’s the way it is and that’s the way it will always be. But the sooner you take action to pull yourself away from the chasm, the quicker your life will become a special work of art that has meaning to you again.

Guys, suicide and depression are real problems. I’m not going to pretend they don’t exist. But you have to reach out and get help. You have to accept you have a problem, you have to accept that you need help, and you have to accept the action needed to be taken by you to get past this.

Don’t be a statistic like my friend. I miss him every day. His family misses him. He took his life because of issues he couldn’t get over. He didn’t ask for help. He is no longer here. Please, please reach out for help.

My DM’s are always open on Twitter. My email is bubonicplague7@gmail.com. Reach out for help. I’m here for you.

The Waiting

Photo Credit: “Hard Promises” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers 1981

One of my all time favorite Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers albums is “Hard Promises”, an album that really took TP and his band new and amazing directions. Stevie Nicks makes a guest appearance on the album, and this album was the same time the smash hit “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around” was recorded on Nick’s album “Bella Donna”.

When the album came out, I was 5 years old. One of my first vivid memories was driving to visit my grandparents and listening to “The Waiting”, one of my all time favorite songs by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. I remember driving down to Franklin, IN on a warm, crisp autumn Sunday, listening to the radio. I remember hearing my mom and dad talking, being in the car with my brothers and older sister, all making our way down to visit. We would always hit the Jerry’s restaurant on our way back up from the visit. It was a knock off of a Frisch’s Big Boy, but it was locally owned and was a great place for families to gather after church or visits to family on Sundays. I just really remember the song, the feeling it gave me on that day, and what it meant to me, then and now, which I’ll be sharing today in this blog post.

“The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you see one more card
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part.”

That song, for some unknown reason, really stuck in my mind. This was about two people who were in love but had to wait to realize this love. For me, it seems every time I heard this song, I was in a holding pattern always hoping to be somewhere new, but never, ever going out to get to that new place. Hope and faith are only as good as the person who makes them happen.

What Do You Do When It’s Not Happening?

I’ve been contacted in recent days by no less than half a dozen men, telling me their stories about how they are working to turn their lives around. Several have inquired about my 31 Days To Masculinity journey, day 26 as of this writing, and how I’ve managed to swear off of porn, alcohol, and other vices in my quest to become a better me.

Yes, I’ve had many successes, however, my goals are still not there yet. I want to reach 15% body fat. I want to do Spartan races next year, I want to continue to grow my side hustle and start a new YouTube series (Journey’s Edge with Tim Beckett, stay tuned for details). I want to continue to help men in their individual journeys while showing them mine and what they can accomplish when they put their heads down and work to make their life theirs again. I want to be debt free except the house and be financially independent. I want to date around and continue to hone my approach game as well as get into an LTR with a woman who supports me and my mission.

While some major things have been checked off my list, look at all the things I still have to do! And even when I write this, I’m overwhelmed at all that I want to accomplish. I can tell you that over these past three years, I have developed several key talents that have made it better for me. I have developed perseverance. I don’t give up as easily as I used to. I have developed being humble and taking the losses to learn what I can do better.

But one aspect that I haven’t been able to get control of is my impatience. And this is the heart of this blog post. I’m terribly impatient and I want to achieve my goals immediately because if I do, I can move on to the next goal. I fall back into an old mindset that if I get to my goals I can either relax or be happy. “If I get there, I’ll be happy.” It’s words I’ve uttered more than once in my life and it most certainly has been uttered by millions of men when they try to change their lives.

But here’s the deal. I was always concerned with “The Waiting”. It wasn’t happening fast enough.

When you are sitting home alone because you’re broke and can’t go out to meet women, what are you doing in the meantime? When you are sitting around watching TV, what could you be doing instead? My impatience has been preempted a bit by my work on other goals. This is the mindset I’ve been trying to have and while effective, it can escape me sometime and I can fall back into the “when will this happen?” routine.

Many men have come to me in the midst of their fasting, no porn, no sugar, etc, points in their life and are wondering if it all is really worth it. They are struggling with this dramatic change in their lives and many men fall off within 2 weeks of making the change. They sit and just wait for things to get better, as opposed to going out and making other aspects of their lives good. Or like I did, they won’t do anything and HOPE their lives will turn around, and the waiting absolutely destroys their minds. It isn’t easy. I never said it was.

But recently, I’ve really been noticing these spells of impatience that I have, especially with 31 Days to Masculinity running in my background. I haven’t approached as much as I wanted to, simply because I was involved in other things. I’ve been focusing on myself, my physical shape, my daughter’s health, and my finances to try and get my life to where I want it. So when I’m not seeing as many girls as I’d like or approaching as much as I’d like, I get down on myself and then I get impatient.

So I have to say to myself, “Tim, shit’s not going to happen overnight. Things take time to develop. Work on other aspects and address those as you wait for this part to take shape.”

It’s difficult dating being a father of two, business owner, and entrepreneur, but that’s not an excuse. I own my life and when I do things I’m not happy with (or in this case not doing things) I get down on myself. The pity party starts. The good news? I know when this feeling comes I have to chin up and get to work on other aspects of my life, even when this aspect isn’t where I want it to be.

Keep in mind also, with dating, my standards have risen. With many women waiting in the wings who I could sleep with and I’ve chosen not to (ham planets, psychopaths, or girls with no direction or intelligence), I can say that my lapse on the dating path has been self induced. Is it a lapse though? Or is it a move to vet better knowing that I’m a better product? I think it’s the latter and it makes me feel better about my direction.

Get Through It

One of the main things I tell men is that the best way to get through any addiction is to just tough it out. It’s what I did and I feel better for it.

There are no tricks, there are no shortcuts.

If you want to stop porn, you have to stop it and get rid of all the catalysts for your masturbation habit. Trash the skin bin, trash all of your bookmarks, get rid of the stuff that tempts you.

I didn’t like myself when I masturbated. I was slave to something that I thought I couldn’t control. But guess what? I could and do control it now.

I go to a bar and order a WATER. Wanna talk about self control? I get weird looks but I also get resounding thanks when I escort dumb shits out of the bar who have had too much. I saw how I was when I had too much to drink. I saw what I became. I didn’t want to be that person anymore. So here I am.

But guys….IT’S DIFFICULT.

It’s supposed to be. If it wasn’t worth it, it wouldn’t take this work to get there. My shoulders wouldn’t be on fire every time I get down to do my pushups. My stomach wouldn’t hurt in the midst of a 20 hour fast. My brain wouldn’t fire while I’m waiting for all of the good shit to happen.

But the good shit is already happening! I can take my shirt off without feeling embarrassed. How awesome is that?

The “waiting” in my case, is the best part of my life. It’s what you’re doing while the good shit is coming that truly defines your life.

Which is why Tom Petty says “Oh baby don’t it feel like heaven right now
Don’t it feel like something from a dream.”

It’s because the dream, the thrill of living, beats the thrill of getting something you want everyday and twice on Sunday. You have to get used to loving the journey and not what you get at the end of that journey.

It’s like at Christmas. I love the presents I get, but I really love to spend time with my family, because you never know when you’ll not be there to see them.

This is why it’s important to take the impatience you’re feeling, the waiting, and continue to enjoy the mission that you’re on. Continue your work and enjoy the time you are using to grow and mature yourself.

I always say to every man that comes to me, struggling to take control of his life:

“It gets better.”

It does. I can attest to that.

So the next time you have time to be impatient about things not happening as quickly as you want them to, try to push through and realize just what you are doing, or how far you’ve come, or where you are going.

Look around at all that you are doing RIGHT NOW and realize that good things are happening, even if you don’t see them.

Be patient. It’s a process that will reward those who follow it with an amazing journey, not a destination. Just remember:

The waiting is the hardest part
Every day you get one more yard
You take it on faith, you take it to the heart
The waiting is the hardest part

The Unending Journey

Scene from “Parenthood” – 1989

One of my favorite all time movies is a show from 1989 called “Parenthood”. This movie, which spawned a series in the past decade of the same name, deals with many issues that we still face in our lives today, and the comedic spin on the whole story of life is one I love to re-watch over and over.

In the movie, four sects of the “Buckman” family live the trials and tribulations of life with all of the classic struggles that families get to experience. From birth, to mental illness, to teen pregnancy, to relationship issues, it covers a wide swath of things that every family deals with, and more often than not, overcomes and grows from.

There’s a particular scene in the movie that I love. It’s a scene where Steve Martin is about to coach his son’s last little league game. His son has been struggling with mental illness and anxiety, and has been the goat each game as he can’t catch a fly ball. So Steve Martin has been practicing with his son, as well as absorbing some of his stress, and has been having problems coming to terms with his son’s issues. Along with those issues, he’s quit his job, has two other kids to deal with, and has just found out that his wife is pregnant with their fourth child.

So, in the midst of all of this crisis, he reaches out to his father, Jason Robards, for advice. And the advice he gives is incredible, and the subject of this blog post.

“It Never Ends.”

The scene in question is a conversation between father and son concerning life’s moments, including joys and crises. Steve Martin wants to know when all the craziness will stop, but Jason Robards tells him it doesn’t.

“It never ends. There is no end zone. You never cross the goal line, spike the ball and do your touchdown dance. Never.”

This one quote, this one snippet, tells you all you need to know about life as a man in general.

This is what unplugging is all about in terms of your life. There are millions of blue pilled men out there that have given up on being prepared for life and accept their mediocrity as a life sentence for not exploring and proliferating their own goals. They want to relax, be safe, be comfortable, and be “themselves” in a fat, oafish shell, just waiting for the next ball game or Netflix series to come out. What they don’t understand, or maybe don’t WANT to understand, is the journey is the goal.

It’s taken me years to figure this out. I was one of them. I was comfortable letting my ex run the show. I wanted to stay out of the fire. I hate getting burned, the pain was unbearable, and the best way out was to avoid the pain.

But then I went through the agony of divorce. The uncertainty of it all, my finances in disarray, the toll on myself and my kids. I’d avoided the fire my whole life only to voluntarily set myself and my life on fire. Why? Because it wasn’t my life. I was living someone else’s life. All the sacrifices were for the betterment of someone else. So, I decided to watch it burn and rebuild a life that I could be proud of.

The most important thing I learned was I could no longer sit this one out. It couldn’t be done. The price of turning my fake life into ashes was I had to build a new life with blood, sweat, and tears. A car can’t drive without someone at the wheel and I was at the wheel now. Any weave, swerve or jive was on me. 10 and 2, seat belt fastened, watching others and keeping myself safe, yet on a journey. But always aware.

So How’s It Gonna Be?

So, now you know the secret of life. The big key to everything and being a high value, high experience, high octane masculine figure in 2019. It’s being present for your life.

I now understand that there will be men who don’t take this mantra personally and up their game in their life. It took me a while to understand that not everyone can or wants to be saved. There are men who won’t wake up, won’t realize what they have to do, and will sleep walk through life. They have that luxury, but I don’t have to agree with it.

So what’s next. Now that you know you have to be present in your life, what do you need to do? Well, a man has to increase his strength and fortitude to be able to manage this Herculean task. A body and mind that are constantly challenged gain in strength. So you have to strengthen your mind, body and spirit. The first and most obvious thing that I always tell a man who wants control of his life is to get control of his body.

Your body, spirit and mind must be melded into a frame that can withstand life’s snakes and arrows (h/t RUSH). Your body reacts to stress on itself by getting stronger and being able to carry heavier loads. Your mind becomes sharper when you throw different perspectives and ideas at it. Your spirit becomes greater when you live outside of your box and appreciate the world around you.

These things MUST to occur in order for you to any say in your own life. You can’t half ass your life. You need to whole ass it. What kind of a person only takes their life seriously part of the time? Answer? One who doesn’t take any of it seriously.

So, remember the words of Frank Buckman well. It never stops, it never ends, you just get stronger.

When you heed these very important words, you understand that you will be a better person for it, and be able to live your life with no regrets.

And all because you didn’t stop. You were making your life happen.

A Letter to Myself

Photo Credit: VisitSpokane.com

Dear Tim,

How’s it hanging? This is you writing to you. I wanted to say how proud of you I am for all that you have accomplished so far in this life. I can say that the last 2 years of this (so far) 43 year journey have been some of the best in your life.

You know, you’ve been through a ton of stuff in the past 4 years. They always say you have to hit rock bottom before you can get to the top, and they weren’t kidding. Between battling depression, anxiety, obesity, and monetary problems, you’ve been there. You were suicidal, but I want to tell you, I’m so glad you chose to live you life. Killing yourself is the most selfish act in the world, but it’s even worse because you wouldn’t have seen the heights that you have risen to as well as the heights that you no doubt will get to in this life.

I want you to know something. I love you and I’m proud of you.

However, this isn’t a reflection on what you’ve done, this is a reflection on what you are and would do. This is a reflection on what you still have left to accomplish. This isn’t a swan song for a live well lived, this is a battle cry for continuing to hoist the shield wall of your life every day. This is setting the “what would I do?” from the “what will I do?”

This is your wake up call, even if you think you’re still awake. You aren’t woke enough yet, sir.

I want you to answer this question. What would you do if you died today? What things would you regret not doing?

What are your goals, wishes, dreams for this remaining life?

Answer truthfully. Because I already know what you are going to say.

What would you regret? Here goes:

You should’ve gone to Argentina when you had the chance. In college, you had a glorious opportunity to go and do a major in Spanish. You would’ve been immersed in a beautiful country for 6 months. Yes, it would’ve been some debt, but the life experiences you would have had can not be replaced. Yet you just wanted to get out of college and get a job, girlfriend, house, car, etc. You know what you missed. Don’t do that again.

You needed to work other places besides your father’s business. You needed to explore your interests, rather than putting yourself in a position that you didn’t have any flexibility. While this has worked out in the end with you owning your own business, fulfilling one of your top goals, it still would’ve helped you more in your life to have those experiences.

You needed to go and try new hobbies. You didn’t have a damn clue on what your interests were until you were over 40 and starting over. You have a life in your 20’s and 30’s meant for exploring life and living, not working and trying to check off someone else’s goals.

You’d regret not dating around more. You know the spice of life and the way to truly find your partner in this life is to date as many women as you can. And yet, you sit in an office much of the time running the same places, never looking for new avenues or new leads. They won’t come to you. Time to switch up and get out there more and more.

I know what you are going to say. There’s a ton more. These are just the ones I can think of on my mind at the moment. Think of your wishes. What do you want to do with the rest of your life? Allow me to tell you.

You want to travel. You want to explore. You want to meet new people. You want to strengthen bonds of people you already know. You want to continue to be successful in business, learning new skills like sales and ownership.

You want to be independently wealthy. You want to get your finances in order. You have 20k left of debt. You can get past this damn wall. You will. You will be financially independent. You want to earn a good salary from your side hustle and writing a book is a huge goal. Get to work.

You want to continue to help men who reach out for help. You want to make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes you do. You want to share your life and make your mistakes an example of what not to do.

You want to continue your fitness journey. You’ve lost a ton of weight, but you still have that six pack that’s waiting for you on the other side of hard work. You want to do Spartan. Get new T-shirts and medals, get more trifectas, compete in the Elites. You’ll get there, don’t stop.

You want to learn new things, read, absorb. You want to learn to box, fight, and protect your loved ones. You want to continue to learn more firearms training, as well as other outdoor activities.

You want to date around. You would love to have a harem. Don’t lie, you know you want two to three women sharing you. And if you keep doing what you’re doing and get out more, you’ll be there. GO TO NEW FREAKIN’ PLACES, BECKETT.

You want to be more involved with your kids. You already do a great job, but you need to do more. You need to exude a masculine leadership and be a role model for your kids. They’re counting on you.

But you know deep down, at some point, you want an LTR with a woman who supports you and your mission.

But most of all, you want to continue to grow. You have come so far, done so much. But this is only the beginning. You have to do more, better, faster, and harder.

You will make excuses, you have in the past. This morning, for instance, you made an excuse that you wanted to sleep in instead of going to the gym. You didn’t. You went. You worked. I’m glad you did. Your body and mind are glad.

No more excuses. Go up to that girl. Ask her out. Take your kids places to experience life. To be the best they can be. To live without regrets.

Bottom line: You’re an amazing person. You’ve decided after a tough divorce to live your life. You are taking opportunities instead of making excuses. But you can’t let up on the gas. The time when you think of giving up is the time you need to push the envelope. It’s time for you to do more, be more, try more and accomplish more.

For 40 years I wasn’t able to say this, but I love you, Tim Beckett. I love every part of you. You are an incredible man, amazing father, and lifelong friend. You have a ton going for you, don’t squander it. I know you won’t.

Love,

TW Beckett (You)

Becoming a Father

There are two moments in my life that I will never forget and will cherish forever. These are the births of my two daughters.

First of all, I will say this, there is nothing, and I mean nothing in this world like being a father. It is a feeling you won’t get any other way but to truly be there from birth to watching them grow up. I can’t describe it. I can only live it and report back. I want all men to feel it, because it truly speaks to us on a basic, biologic level of our existence. It shows you who you truly are when you are able to help conceive and then raise a child.

The births of my two kids will be something I will never forget. My first was the most stressful, the second was a more common delivery, but they were both special to me.

Welcome to Fatherhood

My first daughter was a harrowing experience. I was not only intimidated by the trip to the hospital, but by all that happened during our hospital stay.

My ex (who was my wife at the time) went into the hospital for a planned induction in the AM. After waiting all day and most of the night, there were complications. My ex had to be rushed in for an emergency c-section after my daughter was deemed to big to be delivered (she was over 9 lbs). I went with my ex, held her hand as they delivered the baby, but heard no crying. My daughter was silent. Something was wrong.

As I helped the hospital staff with the umbilical cord and the first diaper, they noticed that she wasn’t breathing very well. They rushed her to the NICU and began to figure out what went wrong. Me and my ex were stunned and worried. This was not the best way to start off our first born experience.

We waited in the room as my ex recovered, and I would make regular trips to the NICU to see what was going on. My daughter had had her first bowel movement while my ex was delivering her, and she had swallowed and breathed in the waste. So she had contracted pneumonia from it as well as sepsis. She was put on antibiotics immediately. They couldn’t tap a vein on her arm, so they tapped a vein in her head. It was a gruesome sight, watching my newborn daughter struggle.

The hospital was a formula supported hospital, which means that they would discourage breast-feeding in the NICU. However, my ex and I found this out when we saw our daughter not recovering as fast. The NICU doctor insisted that she be given formula, but we insisted that breast milk would be required for our daughter to get better faster.

My ex wasn’t allowed to even breast feed our daughter, and times were contentious in the hospital as we did battle with the NICU director as we demanded to have access to feed our baby. Finally, he relented and she was allowed to breast feed. Almost instantly, her condition started to improve.

For 5 of the longest days of my life, operating on minutes of sleep, checking on my daughter and running errands for my ex as she lay recovering, I was a mess. It was hard, but as my daughter’s condition improved, I saw signs that this nightmare was coming to an end.

Finally, after 5 grueling days, my daughter was healthy enough to be released. We were overjoyed, and this experience had taught us some tough lessons right out of the gate on parenthood.

But what the most amazing thing? My reactions to my ex and my daughter as a father were instinctual. I leaped into action immediately as soon as my family needed me, without hesitation. This was an important moment and my first lesson of fatherhood, I was the rock, the foundation, the protector, the provider. At the time of greatest need, I was there. And through the years, I haven’t wavered on my dedication and commitment to my kids and family, regardless of my personal feelings for my ex.

Talk about being thrown right in the fire. But it’s an experience I’ll never forget and it is a part of our family lore for generations to come. The scar on my daughter’s head, (Ala Harry Potter), always reminds me of that trial that I went through. But I know it was worth it because I have my beautiful, healthy daughter. She’s just turned 12. I’m a very lucky man.

A Healthy Delivery

My younger daughter was more of a normal delivery. She was still delivered by caesarean, and was almost 10 lbs! My ex and I decided to schedule a C-section as opposed to trying to go through a delivery and have the same issues crop up from the last time.

We wanted avoid any and all complications. So, scheduling the surgery for the morning of December 30th, we went to the hospital. Unlike the first delivery, my second daughter came right out with a full head of hair and was breastfeeding within 30 minutes.

I got to clip her umbilical cord as well. I think she had a full set of teeth because she tried to bite me! She was crying, a complete opposite of my first child, and I got to put on a diaper, hold her and give her to her mother.

It was amazing because it was just how a birth was supposed to be.

My little girl and ex were released in 36 hours and we recovered at home with very little fanfare. And damn was I glad. After my first child, it was a welcome event.

One of Your Greatest Contributions To This World

There is no greater feeling in this world than holding your newborn baby. It’s something you’ve created, something special, and you can’t begin to understand the implications behind it. And that’s what life as a father does. It makes you deal with those implications headon. There are no cheat codes. There’s no shortcut. This little life is dependent on you to be there, keep it healthy, guide it through tough times, protect it with your own life.

That’s a lot of gravity to take it. Which is why not all men can be fathers.

However, recalling my memories of my kids’ births helps me explain why I became a father, and why I recommend it to any man contemplating his role in our little world.

Almost a decade later, my little girls are growing up. My fathering has changed little as they have grown. I continue to provide, protect, and lead as the patriarch of my family. They count on me to be there, standing a post, holding them to higher standards, and pushing them to succeed in everything they do.

I make them face and overcome their fears, I hold them accountable for actions detrimental to their own success. I urge them to get involved in not only activities that help themselves but perform actions that help others.

My bond with them is stronger than ever and it will only get stronger as I help them face and prepare for the next phase of their lives.

I’m proud to be their father and I love them both very much.