12 November 2009

My Second Life Story Part 1 : The Darkest Night

As some of you may know I had a major trauma event in my life not so long ago , my wife and partner of 14 years up and left me, which as I may have mentioned and as I'm sure you can imagine knocked me back a bit.

I won't bore you with the details (not today anyway), but suffice to say I entered a long and dangerous depression. I never sought or received any professional help and to cut a long story short I ended up standing on the hand rail of a bridge one snowy winter's night (I'm nothing if not melodramatic) over a freezing and completely lethal river… and I remember looking down into those dark and icy waters and thinking they seemed pretty damned inviting down there.

And that could have been where my life story ended… it very nearly did, but luckily for you my dearest reader, it didn't. Instead of ending it all, I decided to climb down off that handrail and walked off that bridge, just to give myself one more day. Which actually turned out to be a pretty good decision.

Since that dark and snowy night I've turned my life around. I've discovered a talent I didn't know I had, I've found a whole new world of excitement and constant discovery I didn't know existed and I've received the respect and affection I always felt I deserved but never seemed to get.

"Life begins at 40" or so they say, but to be honest I'd always thought that phrase sounded just like the sort of bullshit you would say if you'd just hit 40 and realized that your life had become so drab and pointless that you'd say almost anything to avoid facing that reality.

But guess what! Newsflash folks! Maybe there is some truth to it after all, because My Second Life (as I like to think of it) began… yep, just around the time I was 40.

It's not a life for everyone, but it's working out pretty damned well for me.

Believe it or not it all started on facebook. Throughout my depression facebook was actually very important to me. If was a kind of escapism I guess and it became almost a hobby that gave me something to do. It kept me interacting with people and it focused me on the continuation of my creative nature, at a time that my soul was at its bleakest point and any hope of salvation seemed remote.

It's probably an overstatement to say that facebook saved my life, but in hindsight I think it actually might have done (thanks facebook).

Now in the past, in the long, long ago, I did have a bit of a reputation for being a bit of a ladies man, but honestly I never really thought of myself that way. In fact I've been plagued all my life with low self esteem and some serious self confidence issues (some of you who know me might find this hard to believe, but it's true).

Now I guess it's only natural after a relationship break up that a little flirting with and positive attention from the opposite sex is going to make you feel better and help you on your road to recovery, but after a while I started to realize that I seemed to be getting quite good at it. I was slowly but surely building a healthy friends list, most of which was made up by some pretty interesting ladies. Male friends would even comment on it, asking how I managed it.

Now you have to remember that I'd not dated for over 14 years at this point and my heart had been ripped out and stomped on by the woman I honestly thought I'd spend the rest of my days with… so when my online chatting activities actually landed me a real world date… I was stunned and not a little petrified.

I went on that date and made a good friend in the process.
(Yes Julie I'm talking about you ;)

It wasn't destined to work out in the romantic sense, but that was probably a really long shot anyway considering where I was emotionally at that time. But what that one single date did do for me (and I thank you eternally for this Julie) was it give me back a very much needed spark of self confidence. I was not the pathetic rambling ditch monster of my own self image, I was not a revolting piece of human garbage… apparently.

I returned to facebook and I discovered that I could talk to women even more confidently than before and they wouldn't run screaming! Instead some of them gave me a chance to talk and when I talked… they listened.

As it turned out, I ended up encountering not one, not two but another three women who would all in some way change my life forever!

To be continued…