Our Fake Lives

This post is totally not about the Manosphere. You're welcome.

This post is totally not about the Manosphere. You’re welcome.

I don’t know how much of my life is real.

Less than half, maybe.

Sometimes you just have to stop and shut the fuck up for a minute. Just stop. And every ounce of focus and energy you possess is dedicated to being still. Just breathing. For a moment, there is nothing else. Because you’re not thinking about yesterday. You’re not worried about tomorrow. A total investment in that next breath.

In, then out.

The faintest hint of a smile on your face.

And again: In. Through the nose. Hold it. Just a moment. Then, out. Through the mouth.

That’s one of the few times you can know it when no one else is around: This is real. I’m alive.

Different things make people feel alive.

Not everyone would feel it sitting at a Las Vegas poker table the way I do. Check. Bet. Raise. Re-raise. That’s right. Ship those chips, sucka.

Not everyone would feel it sitting at a keyboard. Tap-tap-tapping until things I think and feel morph into words.

But I hope most people feel it when I feel it most. In a crowd of good people, a bunch of friends, laughing, sharing. Connected.

Less than half my life is real.

It’s not real because I spend a lot of time mentally in the past. A place that no longer exists and where pain and sadness sometimes live.

It’s not real because I spend a lot of time dreaming or worrying about the future. A complete fantasy impossible to predict because we have no idea what’s going to happen five minutes from now.

It’s not real because I watch TV and movies more than I should.

It’s not real because of books and video games.

It’s not real because so much interaction with others happens via a digital device or on an internet platform.

I’ve always wanted this to be me. These words right here. But the truth is: They’re not, and can never be. Because however many hundreds or thousands of people ever read this stuff… they don’t (and can’t) see me as I am. They fill in the blanks like all of us do when we read books and stories. Our brains plug the holes with guesses, and we invent something that isn’t real.

I’ve been divorced more than two years now. In that time, I haven’t met or dated even one person locally who could conceivably be a serious girlfriend or potential stepmother for my son. That fact comes up in conversation sometimes.

“Do you want to have more kids?”

The mathematical logistics suggest it’s not happening anyway.

“Women who read your blog love you, Matt!”

I hear that sometimes, too.

I always answer it the same way: “Yeah, but it’s total bullshit. They don’t like the real me. They don’t know me. They like the version of me they invented in their head.”

And then I remind them what I just told you. Even though I’m pretty nice, reasonably funny, semi-attractive, passably competent, gainfully employed, and open to meeting people, the net result of two years of being alive as a single mid-thirties dad is: zero potential girlfriends. I wish I was kidding.

Maybe you should try online dating!’

A bunch of people know this already, but this blog was intended to be a dating blog when I first launched it. I thought it would be hilarious to be this emotionally wrecked, ticking time bomb, cliché, middle-aged divorced guy doing all the things those guys do, and then tell the stories along the way.

Edgy! Hilarious!

And I was trying to online date, but I was shitty at it in large part because I hated myself and wasn’t emotionally ready to be dating anyone, anyway, and was stupid for trying. Instead of owning that, I blamed my height since so many girls who online date only want to date tall guys, even if they’re only 5’1”, themselves.

That always annoyed me. Hence the name, Must Be This Tall To Ride.

Even though my motives for quitting were wrong (pride), I think I was right to not use online dating in an effort to fill the companionship void after my divorce.

It’s another part of this Fake Life problem I feel like so many of us have.

It got me thinking about this Culture of Disconnection we live in, DESPITE living in the most-technically (and technologically) connected time in human history.

It’s almost as if the more fiber-optic lines we lay, and servers we build, and devices we create, and online communities we join, the less-connected we feel in our actual, physical and spiritual, real lives.

The ones that are true and real when we first wake up in the morning.

The ones that are true and real when we’re standing in the shower shaking out the cobwebs or contemplating whatever today’s top concern is.

The ones that are true and real when we’re with all the people who really know us. When all the digital image management programs aren’t running. And it’s just us, live and in color, being a God’s honest human being with other people.

I don’t mean to disparage the Internet or social media. I am a happy and willing participant, particularly in the blogosphere. (Is that still a word?) And it’s a bona fide MIRACLE that grandparents living far away can FaceTime and Skype with their grandchildren, and that we can more easily than ever before stay in touch with people far away who mean so much to us. It’s so much better than no contact at all, and I’m grateful to be alive when these things are possible.

But when I take an honest, no-bullshit look at my own life?

I lean so heavily on you. I do. Like. Comment. Like. Like. Like. Comment. Like. Comment. Like.

I lean so heavily on escapism. A show I’m binge-watching on Netflix, or some new-ish movie on HBO GO.

And my biggest crutch? This phone. But not to speak. Not much.

Many days and nights, I didn’t feel lonely because I had people there, typing back to me in those little gray text bubbles.

And thank God. This is not a BAD thing. It’s not bad that we can stay in touch with people and not feel lonely for a moment.

But it’s a Band-Aid solution, and not even a particularly good one. Like a shitty, generic drugstore-brand band-aid.

Because sometimes our faraway friends get busy.

And even that little gray text bubble isn’t talking back anymore.

We get afraid. I’m not even sure of what.

But if you’re divorced or perpetually single and don’t live by a bunch of friends and family, you don’t need an explanation. You just get it.

And so the Magic Internet Elves invent all these tools for people. Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Where people can paint whatever picture of their lives they want to.

Awesome. Great. Fine. But is it real?

And they invent online dating. Where people can Swipe Right and Swipe Left and send winks and messages to strangers based on a few strategically selected photos and their best sales pitch.

Awesome. Great. Fine. Now it’s really easy for single people to find each other. But is it real?

And they invent mobile devices to keep us “connected.” Where people can do all the Magic Internet Things no matter where they are with other “connected” people no matter where they are. But is that living?

I don’t know.

But I know that none of us have as much time as we’d like. I know that time goes so fast, even when I’m just sitting at home alone. And I know I don’t want to spend my life dead.

I’m not sure what it looks like. The life where I always smile and know I’m all the way alive again, connected and whole.

But I’m pretty sure it’s not going to happen watching that movie or liking that Facebook post.

Whenever I find myself unsure of what the next move should be, there’s only one thing left to do.

In, then out.

The faintest hint of a smile on my face.

And again: In. Through the nose. Hold it. Just a moment. Then, out. Through the mouth.

Because it always comes to me.

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27 thoughts on “Our Fake Lives

  1. jgroeber says:

    Gees. This is a heavy one. May I begin with- I haven’t been to tons of weddings in my life, but three began with on-line dating. And my husband and I began as email flirters, states apart (we’d met, but I didn’t fully appreciate his in-person version.) You have to play to win, is all I’m saying. As for the real us? I agree about FB, and the Internet in general, for that matter. It’s like we’re all people at a wedding or far flung reunion, catching up, dressed in our finery, laughing or crying, big stories, jazz hands. It’s not every day life, that’s for sure. Thank you for the beautiful reminder to appreciate the person right next to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Yeah. I’m probably too hard on online dating. Even I’ve been to a couple weddings of great people who met that way. I just thought it was a relevant subset of this whole digital life we, perhaps too often, invest in.

      As I type a comment reply on my phone for a blog post I wrote that could ONLY exist with these technologies. Heh. *shrug*

      Like

  2. Ned's Blog says:

    Terrific post, Matt. It’s so true about how the more connected we are with social media the more disconnected we are with the people standing next to us in our lives. It’s also true that it’s a two-edged sword, offering enlightenment as well as stupification (I think I just made that up). I liken all of this to the advent of TV, and how you get from it what you choose to tune into — or out of. I guess we all have to decide what channel we want to watch and how much.

    On an encouraging note, as we’ve talked about before, I went through a similar experience following my divorce almost 10 years ago. Single dad. Two kids. This Thursday I’ll be celebrating seven years of marriage to a woman who is my best friend. We met on a dating website (match.com). Really.

    Connections happen, Matt. And although I am “filling in the blanks” based on your blogosphere persona, I feel confident saying I’m sure you’re a person worth being connected with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Awesome points about tuning into worthwhile (or escapist) things and managing how much. I suppose that’s exactly right.

      I don’t think any of these things are “bad.” Not even online dating. I’m painting a *GASP* cynical picture with broadly generalized strokes that aren’t fair to all of the people who date competently and sustainably online, or who use social media or blogging platforms or their mobile devices for connection and spreading worthwhile messages.

      Thank you for saying very nice things, Ned. Always awesome to hear from you.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Robin says:

    I’ve been in the online dating world for about a year…it can and does suck the very life out of you sometimes. You are right, everyone puts their best foot forward and I’ve met lots of guys who look and act nothing like their profiles or pictures. Since I have no interest in being anyone other than me…I find this disheartening and at the same time interesting that anyone would want to start ANYTHING based on a lie.

    But, when you are my age (don’t hang out at clubs or bars), and you office from home – the single life and dating become an even greater challenge. And unless I want to stare at the four walls, sit at home until one of my married friends has time to do things, or become a hermit…a necessity.

    I firmly believe that there are nice individuals to date you can find on dating sites (I like to think I’m one of them, and I’ve found a few in the last year)…but it’s difficult. You have to have your “red flag” meter on high alert and sadly believe nothing until proven over time. And then you can and do sometimes find a good one who you just don’t connect with on the levels you need to or who isn’t looking for the same things you are – just like “real” life I guess…

    I did laugh the other day when my ex showed up on the same site I am on, having just broken up with his third girlfriend since our divorce. A few days later he told me he took his profile down because it seemed “too sketchy”. I’m sure I could have elaborated but just quietly told him life can be sketchy…and there are a lot of frogs in real life AND on the internet :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      I didn’t mean to sound like I was discouraging people from online dating, Robin, even though that’s probably exactly how it came off.

      I have a courage problem sometimes. It’s super-easy for me to write people notes online. I’m pretty good at it, even when I was all messed up and ill-equipped to be dating.

      It’s extremely hard for me to cold-approach a stranger. But that’s the world I live in now, given the parameters of geography and my social life.

      And this is a major personal obstacle that I am slowly inching toward overcoming. I think I’m going to like who I am and have a lot more confidence in a variety of non-dating situations even once I overcome this personal fear.

      It can be done. And I think it just takes doing it over and over again.

      If I felt like I didn’t have to conquer this fear, I’d be fine with online dating, because then it wouldn’t be the coward’s way out. It would just be another resource.

      As it is, I see it (for myself, only) as selling out and not facing this minor social phobia I have.

      I’m a pretty outgoing, friendly guy. Standing around with four people I know, I’m fantastic at approaching the one person I don’t.

      Standing alone in a room full of strangers where you’re not there because of some common interest? Not so good.

      There are a handful of personal-growth things I’m working on. And that’s a pretty big one.

      Like

      • Robin says:

        Oh…I didn’t at all think you were coming off as discouraging. You were approaching it from your truth, and from where you are in life given your past experiences. Which we all must do. I was merely agreeing with you that as one of those social situations some of us find ourselves in by necessity – it is equal parts good and HELL.

        Believe it or not though, it has been a bit of an empowering endeavor. And if there are things you struggle with and you decide to venture back there, it might be empowering for you too. I’m not good with boundaries – I am a 100% giver and tend to allow people to walk all over mine. Two short-term relationships later and my boundaries are clear, defined, and in place. While scary as hell to continuously put yourself through “first dates” and sometimes 5 or 6 with the same person, you learn a lot about what you DON’T want and a bit about what you do. And from someone who’s self worth took a huge hit during my marriage and even more so later in the divorce -it is freeing to realize I DO have choices in the type of person I want to be in a relationship with. And that I shouldn’t feel bad about letting those go that aren’t for me. Those are my areas of needed personal growth. I’m extremely social – but showing up for a first date is just like a cold call for me. It’s uncomfortable and I don’t want to do it. But I force myself to every.single.time. so it gets easier and easier.

        Wonderfully written and thought-provoking post as always.

        Liked by 1 person

      • dawnkinster says:

        But NOBODY likes standing in a room full of strangers w/o a common interest. I don’t think you should put yourself down for that.

        Like

  4. nights7 says:

    I get it, the loneliness in a sea of “connection”, because I live it too. But here’s the thing, sometimes you have to start with fake feeling, surface level bullshit to decide if it’s okay to get down to the real with that person. Real is hard and it’s not for everyone you meet but if you never wade through the fake now & then you might never make those actual connections where you let someone learn who you really are. That’s true whether you meet a person online or bump into them with your cart at the grocery store. (Obviously I have no clue how to actually meet people.)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Time and money and commitments (certainly children) prevent a lot of people from being able to go join a group or participate in some new, social activity.

      I get that.

      But for every person without those legitimate excuses? I think their lives would feel infinitely more fulfilling if they were part of something with other people who cared about, or liked doing, the same things.

      Inertia often keeps us from trying new things. The comfort of our routines.

      That is me in a nutshell.

      I’d like to start mixing it up more.

      You know… just ’cause.

      Like

  5. Phoenix says:

    You were in your feelings with this one, eh Matt? That’s okay, I was too, when I read your blog today. And you are on the money once again. One day at a time, one breath in and out…there’s a LIVE person out there for you and one out there for me. And I am not a big fan of online dating either, and God bless those that do. But I am totally old-school. I want to meet someone FACE to FACE, not just through FACETIME. I have stopped wishing, hoping and dreaming upon stars for someone to come into my life. I’ll just let it happen when it happens. Less stress off of my back. And don’t be so hard on yourself. I am sure the real Matt is just as lovely as Blog Matt. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      Thank you for all the nice words.

      I think I always come off WAY more whiny than I intend to. I’m not whining. This is no one’s fault but my own, and I’m the only person capable of fixing it. It starts with me stepping outside my comfort zone.

      Less time safely typing. More time courageously living.

      I wasn’t whining about being single. I have such a macro-philosophy on life. Dating for the sake of dating isn’t that great. Falling in love with someone and having it not work out is even worse. As it relates to any serious relationships I have down the road, it’s something that is going to take care of itself through the natural course of time, and I’m going to be very happy that it took however long it took because that was the only way it was ever going to happen with whomever that “correct” person was.

      There are people who use the Internet and their devices in very healthy ways.

      And then there’s me who has sometimes used it as a crutch to simulate companionship, when I should be working harder to see my friends, and make new ones, and try new things.

      Thank you for reading and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Frans van Rossum says:

    Not only a heavy one, but also interesting, lively and… difficult. Thank you, though. It’s inspiring.

    I think I have a sense of what you are circling around. But I don’t know because you don’t define what REAL is (vs. fake as in fake life) .

    The one thing that is tangibly real to me, anywhere and at any time, is the awareness that the seconds are ticking away while I am alive here and now.

    This the ultimate, real Real and it comes in a very small dose.

    So whatever we do, why not be aware of what we do while we do it as each second is ticking away never to return?

    Isn’t that real?

    Some people call this kind of awareness the only way of “living life to the fullest” – being aware, nothing more than being aware of life the moment you live it doing what you are doing, nothing else because it is all you can handle that very second (while you’re thinking god knows what else – because awareness is a conscious state of the unconscious, not a mental activity – being aware doesn’t interfere with doing anything),

    This is my Real (am not saying that I succeed at any given moment, at least not that I’m aware of…. :).

    What is yours?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Matt says:

      A really great comment about mindfulness, being truly present in our lives, and living in the now.

      I think you have an excellent grasp on what would seem to be a simple thing, but most people (certainly me) get wrong all the time.

      We are not mindful. We are not present. We daydream about yesterday. We worry about tomorrow. We concern ourselves with what other people think and feel about us, except we’re just guessing and then reacting emotionally to something that, at best, is only a shade of the truth, and often completely wrong.

      We are fascinatingly moronic. These little psychological games and tricks we play with ourselves. Usually making us feel worse.

      But there are little games and tricks we can play that make us feel better.

      Constantly trying to learn how. :)

      Thank you for reading and commenting so thoughtfully.

      Like

      • Frans van Rossum says:

        thank you, Matt. But you couldn’t answer my simple question. Why not? (another question, one you should ask yourself but should not answer in public)

        I find it sad that ‘we’ (the common conscience?) have come to accept that we are not mindful and not present. That we should have given up on the only tool that guarantees the sense of purpose that we need to sustain our vitality. The one sure-proof way to pursue happiness and be in its presence sometimes.

        It is sad to see people having lost connection with their most powerful tool and substituted it with daydraeming about illusions.

        It is sad to see people have lost the need and desire for simplicity, and the discipline needed to make life simple.

        But it is still available.
        And here, in the form of ‘art’ (what else) are two – admittedly – extreme examples that took a life to achieve. Yes, meaning and purpose take doing, but most of all determination to go after it, which is nothing but true self-respect and self-love.
        It pays off, obviously, to be real and be able to live real, everyone in one’s own specific but constantly focused and disciplined way.

        and if we’re open and ready for it, suddenly and unexpectedly, life plays its part and offers exactly one minute for sadness, joy and relief to shake hands and hug:

        give it all the attention you can muster.

        http://higherperspectives.com/marina-abramovic/

        Like

  7. knace says:

    A brilliant post. Puts into words a big part of why I stopped posting. I still get your blog sent to my email though.:-) And here I am at 0340, unable to sleep, sitting in a hotel bathroom blearily checking my email. *sighs*

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Rest assured I appreciate that I still your name pop up, K. That little square K has been with me a while now.

      I like it.

      I hope you’re well and that you finally got to sleep!

      Like

  8. ‘Divorced … And don’t live by a bunch of friends or family … You just get it.’

    Yep. Yep, I sure do. I think it’s a common human condition and we continue to perpetuate it with our own self limiting expectations of what it ‘should’ be like…(at least I know I do)

    Like

    • Matt says:

      Right. It would seem the choice is sit around and do nothing and be frustrated about it, OR do something differently.

      I’m going to try the latter option.

      Like

      • Finding friends that are like family is a great start…I always have a few each place I’ve lived that I ‘adopt’…or rather that ‘adopt’ me! Lol Certainly doesn’t make it all go away, but helps fill the gaps.

        Because, really, who can be ‘on’ and in touch all the time? Haha that would be exhausting! And certainly no one in their right mind really wants my full ‘realness’ in their face too often! Haha

        Good luck! I’m sure we’ll be here to read your adventures (and enjoy doing so!) on our devices while we avoid our ‘realness’ in search of our own connection! Lol :)

        Like

  9. anitvan says:

    Ok…first of all, as my daughter is fond of reminding me (because at 5’3″ I’m not exactly winning any height contests): “You’re not short, you’re fun-sized!”

    (She is an evil, evil child. I don’t know where she gets it from…)

    Second, good for you for recognizing your personal growth areas. The fear of rejection (if that’s what it is for you…I don’t know, I could be wrong but it kinda sounds like that) is a powerful barrier to living in the moment. I often find myself worrying so much about what *might* happen (ie. Rejection) that it keeps me from enjoying what *is* happening, right then and there in the moment.

    It’s something I’ve been working on as well. I’ve found mindfulness training and learning distress tolerance to be helpful tools.

    And hey, go easy on yourself. Self-growth is a process, a lifelong one, really, and the process itself is worthy.

    Have yourself a great day, Matt.

    Like

  10. Get it? Yeah, entirely get it. So here is the thing Matt, we live what we want to live, what we choose to live. I celebrated my one year of divorced life in May this year. I wandered my house thinking, do I still want to live here? It is terribly big for just one person, hard to keep up. Then I thought, hell yeah! It is an adult house, meant for friends and family and me, dammit for me.

    Breath in, breath out. Get over the inclination to crawl into yourself. The fear of rejection which we all experience, because hell we are divorced and someone we loved has already rejected us terribly and hurtfully. I can look in the mirror and find every single flaw I have, both inside and out, oddly many of them can’t be found by others. Think about that.

    I venture into on-line dating now and then. I am upfront and straight in my profile. The men who actually take the time to read it, not just look at the picture sometimes are worth talking to, sometimes. You have to be brave.

    Like

  11. rougedmount says:

    Seriously, I think I wanted to smack you twice. I was empathetic and in complete agreement with your observations until you, YOU, made a comparison of where you ARE compared to where you thought you’d be. Were you functional when feeling the worst a man could feel? After you lost everything, had to re-prioritize, adapt to live as a part time Dad and an EX husband? Bounced back quickly did you, ready to move on and into an other relationship?
    No
    You were not ready. Even if the most perfect woman had dropped from heaven and onto your lap to impale herself upon you lustfully, you would have been to shell shocked and in self absorbed pain to realize it. Give yourself a break. You are lumping yourself into a group of ‘middle aged divorced guys’ because you got forcibly rejected from the ‘married middle aged guy going soft’ group.
    You have internalized feelings and have used your blog as an expression of your personal dialogue and while allowing you to vent and heal in a limited fashion it has not pushed you to the serious work of de-briding the rot left over from your old life and in a very real sense you are living with a boil…healed on the surface but in desperate need of being lanced and painfully cleaned out so the real healing can take place.
    The platform you chose to express yourself on, has helped to keep you from having hard conversations, disclosing personal fears and pushing you to work through your divorce experience in a timely fashion. The medium is not at fault. Your participation was voluntarily withdrawn while you decided if you were ready to be touched again. Mentally you were in recovery mode which helped to isolate you.
    As to your fake life? Interesting but wrong. Your online version of who you are is your unfiltered, raw and very much ‘real’. It normally takes months even years to get to ‘this’ level of real with people you meet in the traditional way. You’ve met people online in a virtual way. And they are very real, and very absent, and very temporary. They can become your best friends or form themselves into a generic blob of ‘random internet friends’ which never convert into ‘real’. Does it matter? Yes.
    Can you change it, of course. But not completely.
    First. Height for a man is an issue for some women (like me) because of issues they have with THEIR past. It has nothing to do with your suitability or compatibility. It has everything to do with how I’ve processed my life and relationships against what creates sexual tension. If nothing else, it’s only a simple preference and it’s easy to filter out women who have height as an issue.
    Second. If you’ve not had therapy, get it. If you have, get it again. If you can’t afford it, feel awkward about it, then create a dating profile on a free site with the express intent of talking to random strangers about your experiences as it helps to fill the same role as a therapist or support group. Like minded individuals can provide invaluable experience and assistance to each other. Even under the pretense of pretend dating.
    Third. You respond to people on your blog but you don’t react to what they say. React as in not having absolute and measured control. Not react because you were offended or upset or angry. You aren’t pushed and you aren’t marginalized by your followers. The reason is because people value what you have to say, can identify with your situation and are inspired by your reactions to a common and very horrible moment we have either had or can imagine. It makes it hard for you to grow into who you need to be, when people are protecting you and your feelings, which ends up further isolating you inside of a tight cocoon you’ve made for yourself and others are supporting inadvertently because of good intentions.
    Stop the steady purposefully breathing Matt….it’s time to do things that take your breath away and leave you gasping. It’s time to get outside of your comfort zone and truly start living as the person you write as. You need the edge and the freedom it will bring you. Make no apologies. Your time to mourn is over and your time to test new facets of your personality is here. Life is waiting for you and all you have to do is make a choice to greet each day as if it’s the only opportunity you will have to impact someone’s life which in turn will improve your own.
    ~end of therapy rant~

    Like

  12. Tyac says:

    Thank you for this inspiration!

    Our lives are real. If we are living and aware, it’s real. However, our outlook, ideals, and perceptions may not be so real?

    What we post or blog about may be our reality, but how we decorate it – be it a little extra OR understated just might be and only we (the author) would know that for sure. I suppose that’s the “fake” part. Then, when we are out in public, LIVE, and having to engage others, we are so afraid that people are totally measuring us by EVERYTHING we have ever posted and said–those things that they so eagerly “liked” about us behind the scene or screen on social media. This sometimes causes us to question authenticity. What if people are disappointed if we don’t add up, and then talk negatively about us? Well, they are judging us because of us. Right? . . . Assumptions? Probably.

    How can being measured to oneself cause such anxiety? Unless . . . hummm?
    Well, we can only be who we are and all of our experiences makes us who we are. Those things that affect us may change our personality, our consciousness, or our hearts. If people “like” us, they do, and if they don’t, they don’t. But, it boils down to us liking who we are. Usually, we don’t if we are not complete. What completes us is in us. NO one else can do that as we know. Not our past, nor our future….just us being who we are at our best, right now. So, why do we “fake the funk?” There is no need to. If we’re living it, breathing, and aware, it’s not fake. . . .

    . . . People are designed to need one another. More than not, we are truly wanting to know if we are making a difference in the lives of others–a positive difference. We just need to know that what we are doing is good, acceptable, and/or okay. We need to know that we are touching and changing lives for the better. We want our families, spouses, and children to be proud of us. We want to leave our mark on the world . . . ESPECIALLY on those we love. (Sometimes, we don’t hit the mark, which means that there is room for change and growth. If you are stuck, then maybe you still have questions?)

    Matt, I’d say that by now thousands have said, “Thank you for helping me.” That means that you are not stuck. I mean, . . . you (unintentionally) lost something/someone very precious and dear to you to now help save others from the same plight. But, you are not stuck. Embrace the change…as hard as it may be. That may need a little to a lot more time.
    Not only has a new chapter started, but a whole new book is now being written and the characters are changing, and that may be hard to grasp right now. But, you are the author.

    Like

  13. Lynda says:

    I feel very often like you are inside my head at the most opportune times. I spent four hours in a car with my kids today and I spent half of that thinking of little snapshots from the past (mainly negative about their father) and worrying about what the future will bring. What I should have been doing instead was engaging in meaningful conversation with my kids. It’s been 3 years since he left me after having a long term affair with a coworker of his who was also a friend of mine, and yet I often get drawn back into those negative awful memories in my head. I haven’t figured out how to let them go yet, but thank you for reminding me to make that a priority.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. linds01 says:

    I think it’s somewhat real.
    This post of yours written about a year ago sounds like my “right-now.”
    I’m grateful for being a part of your tribe. That is real to me.
    It’s not the totality of my existence, but it is a part of it.
    Just so you know engaging here has helped me to engage in other places. It has grown me and it reminds me of the better person I want to be.
    Actually, I think it’s really real. :)

    Liked by 1 person

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