A Man Reviews

We’re not quite there yet. Lots can happen in just a week. But it’s a good time now to think back across 2018 and think about how things have changed. How I have changed. And if there’s one thing I can say with absolute clarity about this year, it’s that it has been a year of change. At the beginning of the year, I was in the same job I had been for fourteen years. I was preparing to move house… again. I was experiencing a fair bit of upheaval in my love life. And I was lacking quite a bit in the way of direction. So it became quite a year. I always knew it was going to be. So many things could have gone one way or the other. But fears were faced and I stepped into a new life that I couldn’t have imagined before.

IMG_9414We often look at the different streams of our lives, imagining that they are somehow separate from one another. I certainly have done that. I have told myself that the way I responded to people wasn’t impacted by the rough day I had at work. Or that the uncertainty I felt in my relationship didn’t change the way I looked at special events. But the reality is that there’s always some kind of snowball effect. And the reason why is simple. Whether I’m at work, with my partner, with my boy or with my friends I’m always me. I’ve come to recognise that more and more. The thing is, like all things in life, I change. I am impermanent.

Having spent so many years in one workplace, it was an extreme challenge to move away from it. I was surrounded by so many friends and colleagues I had known for such a long time. I knew the work I was doing – I would walk in the door in the morning and know all the processes, faces and expectations. I know my role. I knew my place. But it was time for change. Because everything is impermanent, right? I actually didn’t know what to expect when I left. But what I did learn is that I’ll always find another way. If I’m willing to develop myself and my skills, I can always find another job, or even another career. And the thing is, now that I’ve stepped away from the job I did for so long, I realise that I’m not my job. 2018 Learning #1: Your job doesn’t say anything about who you are as a human. Because it is impermanent.

In late 2017 I was given notice by my landlord that I would have to move. Her daughter was going to move into my place, so I had 60 days to find a new one. I must have looked at 25 properties in the course of 3 weeks and I was beginning to become a bit despondent about it. How was I going to find something that I’d feel comfortable in. I needed somewhere that suited me, and that suited my son. Somewhere we could be for a long time. Somewhere near the school my boy goes to. Somewhere we could make memories. But it seemed like every house just wasn’t quite right. We’d look at older places, and they’d be in disrepair, or dirty or like they hadn’t been updated since the 1960s. We’d look at newer places, and the rooms seemed like they’d been built for a local version of ‘The Hobbit’, which wouldn’t matter if you don’t mind not even being able to swing a small kitten. Then I spotted one and went to take a look. Up the street from some close friends, near the shops, convenient for my son’s school and easy to get to. And it was perfect. We moved in shortly after, and with a few plants and a little time getting organised, it felt like home almost immediately. And almost a year later, it feels more like home than ever. 2018 Learning #2: Persist and you will find what you’re looking for. And if it’s meant to be yours, it will be. Because uncertainty, like everything else, is impermanent.

IMG_5978If I can say one thing about my romantic life this year, it’s that it has been consistently inconsistent. There have been moments when I wondered what I was doing. There have been moments of worry. There have been moments of joy. But most of all there has been love, and there has been learning. As I have moved through the year – through times when seeming certainty has been rocked by change (always!) – I have learnt to focus my energies on two things in particular. And the more I think about it, the more I believe that these things are key to any successful relationship. I’m not saying I’m there yet – there’s always a road ahead, and there’s always things to work on. But those two keys are these: keep giving love, even when you think you have no more to give; and communicate your needs and do it clearly and with kindness. For the first, you never really know what’s going on for someone else, no matter how communicative your relationship is. So if you just love and support, you’ll know that you’re doing your best and that you’re giving the other person the best chance to be their best too. The second part hasn’t come so easily to me. It’s hard in a growing relationship to communicate needs, especially when you’re learning the other person’s needs at the same time. But the lesson for me has been that if you can combine these two habits, good things can happen. 2018 Learning #3: Good things come from loving communication. And if there’s a bit of discomfort in getting to the point where you can do this, don’t worry. Because it’s impermanent.

In 2018 I have written somewhere near 40 blog posts, started a new business, changed jobs and careers, found my feet, lost them, been picked up and picked myself up. Thank you to all the people who have been there with me along the way. BMW will be back in 2019. I look forward to sharing more with you all then as a new chapter opens. Until then, merry Christmas and a balanced, healthy, happy and safe new year to you all.

Mike

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