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The following was written by my wife Eve and republished here due to Posterous shutting down.

Changes

My life is undergoing a major overhaul. It seems as if I managed to put the worst of my depression behind me earlier this year and have been making the necessary changes to my life in order to be happier ever since.

It is amazing what people put up with. Bad situations are like bad habits — easy to get into and so hard to shed. Yet, in order to be happy, you need to get rid of your bad habits and get out of unhelpful life situations, as quickly as you can.

This is a lot easier said than done. Lots of times, people just don’t realize what it is that’s making them depressed and unhappy, and stopping them from reaching their potential. I certainly didn’t know it. Little by little, I got into a place where I didn’t want to be, and what’s worse — I didn’t see this creeping up on me. I suppose it’s a bit like the first time you get depressed — you don’t see it coming. But once you’ve felt low a few times, you start to recognize the signs, see them from far off, and can take whatever action is necessary to stop or lessen the impact of your mood on your life.

Once you are in a situation you don’t like to be in, it is hard to recognize that it is within your power to change it. It took a long time for the penny to drop for me but when it did, the ball started rolling and it is now not going to stop until I have the life I desire. I don’t want for possessions or money or status — I don’t want the big house and two cars and a swimming pool. I don’t want a high-flying job in the City, nor the looks of a Greek goddess. I just want peace and happiness. To be able to look at my life and smile to myself and be content and grateful for what I have.

It is going to take a lot of hard work to get there because I have got myself into a great big pickle on just about every level of my life in the last few years (again, without realizing this until it was done) — got lazy and fat, got into debt, lost touch with friends, lost my relationship with God while accruing a massive amount of valueless possessions that overfill my life and mentally weigh me down. It has been hard to remodel my life but it’s also been a priceless learning curve. I am hoping to come out of this a (slimmer) stronger person and I think it’s working because I can already see the changes.

Slimming down was easy to start with and now it’s got hard again — not because of the physiological part of burning fat, but mentally. I have felt rather unmotivated — to go to the gym, to cook, to even be in the right mindset for this. I put my life on hold for the last three or so weeks, but it’s not been all bad — I have just been focusing my mental energy on something else.

There are two biggies that I have been putting off forever — people and money. I finally felt strong and brave enough about a month ago to start thinking about these. I phoned/emailed a few select good friends who got left behind in my past somewhere and made a point of re-connecting. It is amazing how receptive people are when you make an effort. It is a proof of the strength of our friendship to know that no matter how long we’ve been out of touch, the good friends will be there — ready to continue from where we had left off.

I was blessed to get to have my best friend Lea to myself for two whole days, enjoying chinwags and laughter — you don’t realize that you stopped laughing somewhere down the line until you start again. I reconnected with Petra from Slovakia, even got an email from my friend James (this is so significant and such a major shock to the system that I just have to write it somewhere) AND a text inviting me to go see him sometime. I arranged to meet my friends Bob and Lou this coming Thursday for dinner. I even got an email back from my American friends who live in Slovakia, Tom and Sonya. I went shopping with Lulu. Going for lunch tomorrow with Emma. I spoke to Jane-from-Leeds and Jane-from-Slovakia (my Jaraba) on the phone. I arranged to meet my cousin soon to see her new pad.

I also got to spend some quality time with my other half which was just incredible. I am very blessed. He is this amazing person who came into my life, and brought so much peace and love with him that I am still a little shell-shocked almost four months on. I look at him and cannot believe he is mine. I know he’d say ‘believe it!’ now. :) One day, he walked into my life, the next thing I know he found his way into my hardened heart. I still don’t quite know how it happened. We somehow created happiness together.

I am amazed at how much I have been missing all these years. I never saw it. They say you don’t know what you have until you lose it — in my case, I don’t know how much I miss something until I happen to find it again. When I saw Lea walk through the turnstiles at the station, my heart broke. The realization hit me with a force, and I had to tell her just how much I have missed her in my life. We both agreed it’s tragic that we live one hour away from each other and yet see each other once every year. Or Lulu — she lives five minutes from my work and yet we never had a morning coffee together, until last week. The last few weeks have been incredibly humbling — I really must make a little effort and not let my stupid fear stop me from reaching out to my friends. They are the family I chose for myself and my life would be poor without them.

I took a long hard look at my finances and it’s not a nice sight. The debts have been getting bigger and bigger, a little at a time, and I couldn’t see what to do about them. Now I see it clearly. I have tried to save on unnecessary luxuries like the TV licence, holidays, taxis and cosmetics but these savings won’t be enough. I have two options — either get a job that pays more money (good luck to me haha) or move away from Brighton for a bit. When I feel low, I detest the idea of a change. Any change. Moving house is a massive disruption in anyone’s life. We always tell clients that after the death of a loved one, moving house is the second most upsetting upheaval in a person’s life. Moving alone would be bad (with the amount of STUFF I have, anyone would be feeling depressed at the thought of it) but the fact that I may have to downsize for a while in order to get rid of my debts and save up some money was positively alarming.

The way I see this — if I wanted to repay all my most immediate debt, I would need to go live in a shared house for 4–6mths or a studio outside Brighton for a year. Can I do it? Absolutely. Am I looking forward to it? Absolutely not. Am I ready to take the plunge? Um…

But after six years of scrounging money here and there and everywhere through working extra shifts (i.e. sacrificing most of my time off) all the time and still getting into more debt, losing all financial dignity and independence I ever had, selling my soul to the banks (hate! hate! hate!), the embarrassment of having to ask my mum for money (twice! aaaaaaaargh!).. I think I can hack a year in some poky small room somewhere away from Brighton. I had to shift my point of view on this and accept that yes, I am most likely to hate it at first but in the grand scheme of things it is worth every minute of my (di)stress. The only good bit about this is that I may be moving closer to my lovely man, meaning I can see him more often.

When I remember this, I would quite happily go live in a gutter, as long as I can spend more time with him. A gutter with hot running water. And electricity. And a washing machine.

Life is good.