Looking At The Path- Not The Obstacles.

I don’t talk much about my battles with depression. It’s been a long time since I’ve felt awful- I really hope it’s a thing of the past. Let’s start in the past for those of you who didn’t know me very well. (Warning: Today’s blog is longer than normal)

I was a gangly, gawky, awkward teenager. Because I stood out, and like most other teens, I was bullied but kept it to myself. At age 15 I remember crying myself to sleep wondering why I was even alive. Replaying shitty interactions in my head to figure out what I could’ve done differently. I will say though, my mother was trying her best to figure out what was wrong since all I wanted to do was sleep and was constantly “sick”. She thought it was something physically wrong with me so I had a bunch of tests done on my blood and lungs. I went along with it because it meant not going to school for the day.

By grade twelve a lot had happened in my life. I fell into a group of friends who, by all accounts, helped me “self medicate.” Every Friday we skipped school for the day and drank. Not once did we get caught or questioned by teachers or parents. This little thrill ride was all I had to look forward to each week. And then that summer hit. Drinking wasn’t the only thing happening.

Getting up before noon was not a regular occurrence- hanging out doing dumb shit all night was. Of course I had friends and girlfriends and we had fun. I just didn’t care if I would make it through my early 20’s. I was driving down a lonely path as my family life was crumbling. Anything from my youth was long since a distant memory. My parents fought more, my dad was diagnosed with cancer, my sister was working through her own stuff; being broke and couch surfing was my new normal.

Suddenly I was an adult. Somehow I lost five years of my life. My doctor prescribed antidepressants to me. I took those for about six months and lost all feeling of feeling anything. That sucked worse. So I went off them on my own accord. Shortly after I met the woman who would become my wife.

She is an incredible woman and we have accomplished a lot together. Being with her- I only wanted to do; and be; the best in my life. We were suddenly buying a house and raising a family. I had something to strive for. A better existence for my kids than what I felt I had growing up. Head down + hard work= happiness? Sort of.

I still have days where all I want to do is sleep. I sometimes don’t want to face the world as I worry that it will crash down around me. How do I cope? This is what has worked for me:

I write daily in my blog. I do my best to focus on the positives in my life. This can be difficult and sometimes I feel like I am bragging, but those of you who know me or knew me have seen me struggle to get here.

I also try and share more positive images on my Instagram with the hashtag #livingmybestlife That is a mantra that sounds hokey, but really works for me. I recently watched a video that sums up the best way to do this. To paraphrase: A skier doesn’t look at the trees that they could crash into, but rather the path between them. Focus on the journey, not the obstacles- or you will only hit the obstacles.

I still have bad days. I know many of you out there also have them. We’re in this together. I’m just Making It Up As I Go like my blog states. Perhaps I’ll figure out the recipe to battle depression. But until then, it’s just a part of me and I really want it to be a part of my past and leave it there.

The Day The Music Died

February 3rd, 1959. I was not alive for this event. But a part of me knows that the music died that day, and you can sense it… Sixty-two years later.

As I have mentioned in numerous blogs, I have an appreciation for all types of music. Music from certain decades- just feel the way that era should feel. A plane crash that took the lives of three Rock N Roll stars is exactly how the style of fifties rock music felt like it ended.

When I was younger, I loved listening to the song “American Pie” by Don McLean. I often discussed the meaning of the lyrics with anyone else who wanted to debate them. But not many really knew the song. Kind of tough to be a 13 year old who dove into the meaning of lyrics while others just wanted to be the first to hear the latest top 40.

However, my first high school girlfriend called a radio station and dedicate the song “American Pie” to me one Sunday afternoon. This was back in the days of being on a corded telephone for hours talking about anything and everything with one another just so we could hear the sound of each other’s voices. (No you hang up…) I remember that day because she abruptly got off the phone with me, then a few minutes later had called me back and told me to tune into a radio station. There was the announcement with the dedication followed by the song coming over the airwaves to me.

The simplicity of that act by her made my day. We listened to the song together while on the phone- two youngsters with no money sharing a precious moment together. I realize now how impactful the song was on that day for me; and how impactful the lyrics truly are in regards to the tragedy that occurred decades prior.

Rock N Roll was generally songs about love and romance. Losing three of the most iconic legends at the end of the fifties changed the face of music going forward. In fact, the following year brought in the wave of boy bands spearheaded by “The Beatles”. In my opinion, their style may not have taken such a grip on the world if it hadn’t been for the plane crash in 1959.

Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and “The Big Bopper” helped solidify what Rock N Roll was in the 1950’s and supercharged an entirely new generation of music in the decades to follow. The loss of their lives, as tragic as it was back then, marked an exact point in music history. A point in history where Rock was about to change. A moment that the world will forever remember in one sentence…

The day the music died.