I Love Being Single

I have been single for about 9 years. It’s been an interesting near decade of ups and downs that I have tackled on my own. While social, I am naturally an introvert. That means that I have also spent a lot of time really getting to know myself.

During that time, I chose to stay single. I also met a lot of awesome friends and found my career path. In meeting new friends (or seeing old ones), I get asked the same questions all the time. “Why are you still single?” or “I never see you dating anyone.”  I know that it’s always out of a good place in their hearts and they want to see me happy. I really do appreciate the kinds thoughts and love. However, it’s that last part that irks me a bit. My response is usually a bit shocking to some people.

I love being single.

Yes, that is correct. Personally, I am so happy when it’s just me. Yeah sure, I have hung out with a couple of guys here and there, but only for short periods of time. The thought of starting something with someone doesn’t invoke positive or exciting emotions for me. I lean closer to dread and anxiety. People have a really hard time grasping the fact that not everyone wants to be with someone.

The purpose of this post is give visibility to two very large misconceptions about what it means to have a happy and fulfilling life:

1. Being in a relationship

2. Having children

For some people, being in a relationship, or with the “one”, is not an end game goal. For a lot other people, or the same people even, neither is having children. Some of us just don’t want that white picket fence life with 2.5 kids. Personally, I think it would be awesome to have kids, but as a gay man, I’ve prepared myself with the fact that will most likely not happen.

You do not need either one of those to be happy or feel fulfilled! I certainly don’t. I said I would love to have kids, but it isn’t the end of my life if I don’t. That doesn’t make me selfish or an asshole. It just means that my happy is different than other people’s happy. My happiness and fulfillment comes in the form of traveling and writing. It also comes from developing myself and my potential while become self-aware of who I am. It can be really frustrating when I open up to people that I am not interested in dating or relationships and they start giving me that shit of “Oh you just haven’t met him yet” or “You’ll meet him when you’re not looking”. That just takes away from my vision of happiness.

I am not looking because I don’t want it! That shit always makes me feel like people think I am one of those single people frustrated with dating and just “done” with everyone. I am not that. I am not frustrated with dating or relationships. I just don’t want them nor do I partake in them.

To dig a little deeper into who I am, I like the intensity and passion of meeting new people. It’s sustaining or working on that love the following days as a relationship is where I check out. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.  It just isn’t a fun idea to me. It’s dreadful. To those who know me, that really speaks to my adventurer personality. I also like to keep my time to myself.

I am not interested in getting to know someone on that deep of a level, and vice versa.  Some people probably consider me a high-functioning sociopath, but I am okay with that. When it comes to the sex, I do not need to be in a relationship for that. I can meet guys for casual sex (being a gay man has its perks) or just jerk off. I especially love having sex with someone when we are initially attracted to each other. That stage is the hottest. After that I get bored. I don’t like the routine of it all and I like being able to flirt and have crushes on whomever I want.

I want people to understand that I’m happy. I am so happy. I know what I like and what I don’t. This free-spirit life, not being attached to any one person or thing, is who I am. I am not looking for my “other half” because I am not a half. I am a full person. A happy person.

Look, I think relationships are great for people who want to be in them. I respect that a great deal (the good ones, anyway) and I really do hope that those who are on the hunt for love find what they are looking for.  It just isn’t my cup of tea. So please don’t force that shit down my throat. Let me just be.

I make myself happy. I fulfill my own life. I don’t need anything more than that. I’ve found that the greatest love of all comes from learning to love yourself. Actually, Whitney Houston found that. I just believe it.

2017: Getting Shit Done

If you look back through some of my posts from the last year, you would think I was the most miserable son of bitch on the face of the Earth.

Honestly, I felt like it. I felt like the world had kicked me down to the ground and kept stomping the fuck out of me. The past two years were an emotional shit show for me. So many things happened, and at the same time, that I was drowning. Only a few close people know about them. My social media presence remained upbeat because I didn’t want anyone asking questions or knowing.

I am sure if you are reading this that you are probably wondering what happened. For several reasons, I cannot go into them in such a public forum (although some of my previous posts allude to parts of it).

To be quite honest, I don’t want to focus on that nightmare anyway. I want to focus on 2017, the year that I am getting shit done for myself and moving past the vaguely mentioned experiences.

Near the end of 2016, those several shitty experiences all came to an end and set the stage for 2017. The things that were seriously plaguing me were finally over. It was like the winds blowing my sails into the Bermuda Triangle decided to just change direction and take my tiny boat to happier days.

And happier days it has been! I got a fresh start and was able to start over. It was at this point that I started to feel that 2017 was going to be great. I was going to make it awesome!

I changed jobs at work in December 2016 and transitioned into a role, that I absolutely love, as a leadership trainer. I loved training Servicing and also training other trainers in the art of training. But there is just something about training leaders.

Jumping into this new role in 2017 pushed me outside of my comfort zone and made me very vulnerable, but I am experiencing so much growth of my own skills because of it. It feels amazing being able to make an impact on leaders, which will in turn trickle down to their team members (the only time trickle down economics actually works). I am part of a newer team and doing what I can to help build us up. I am so happy right now!

Personally, my mind has let out this loud sigh of relief. The past two years pushed me over the edge and I fell into a pit of mental health issues. I was seriously balls deep in Depression and Anxiety. My ADHD was out in full swing. I had to start seeing a therapist and was prescribed something for the ADHD to get myself together. So many nights were spent on being victim to racing thoughts, fear, sadness, and fear and not on sleep. I became so fixated on the negativity because I couldn’t see any light. Not even a damn glimmer of it. Life has an intense way of reminding us that nothing lasts forever though.

Many of the things I was experiencing have started to dissipate. I forced myself to start focusing on the good things, and if I didn’t feel like there were good things happening, I fucking made them happen. I was going to get shit done this year. The shit that I wanted, and needed, to do for myself. No more reasons or putting myself in situations where I can’t do shit for myself.

Shit to do #1: Traveling

One thing I decided was that I needed to travel. My soul is the traveling type and staying stationary has negative effects on me.

So I went back to New York and visited family. I went there first because it was where I was from and the first time I was able to travel anywhere for quite some time. I love to explore and it really did me good to get out and check out new places and hang out with one of my amazing cousins. I even went to the hospital I was born in to take pictures!

This is me in Central Park:

I also took myself out every single night I was in NYC. I either went alone or I met up with another cousin. I went out, had drinks, and socialized. Words cannot express how doing that made me feel. I could almost hear the sound of the top popping off and all my mental BS exploding out of me.

While I was in New York, my sister (who really loves to travel) talked to my mom and booked us three tickets to Mexico.

New York was amazing…but fuck..going to Mexico from Christmas to New Year’s Eve was FUCKING SUPERB!! We stayed in Playa Del Carmen. We were there for 9 days and we rocked out that trip! It was gorgeous every single day! Even when it rained, it only rained for 20 minutes and then the sun came back out.

While in Mexico, we hit up several (it’s impossible to do all of them) bars/restaurants on the main strip in Playa Del Carmen. We also went to Tulum where we did sightseeing of ancient ruins. We also went to Chichen Itza where we saw the amazing ancient ruins there as well as went snorkeling! I mentally needed these adventures!

This is me sightseeing:

If you are ever in an emotional rut, I HIGHLY recommend traveling to a place like Mexico. The country is gorgeous (from the tourist side of it), the people are so friendly and genuine, and the scenery is a feast for the eyes! It’s that tropical vacation you long for, but also super affordable! I promise, if you are really going through something, do this for yourself.

I have also booked a trip to Denver for April! So I am moving and experiencing life! I cannot wait to get into the mountains and just be outside in a new place!

Shit to do #2: Personal Goals 

When Old Deller, my laptop, died several months ago, I never got around to getting a new computer. No wait..not that I didn’t get around to it..I just wanted a Mac and those are WAY more expensive than a PC.

Not having a computer probably wouldn’t be such a huge deal for some people. However, I like to write these ramblings of a mad man and share them on my blog. If I wanted to continue writing and building myself as a writer/blogger, then I needed to have adequate resources, like a computer. I don’t like to use my work computer for personal business. So I actually splurged on a Mac computer today! This thing is fucking magical!

I’ve always loved writing and I think (know) being lost in so much negativity was taking that away from me. In other words, I was fucking myself because I was letting my dreams just waste away. I just laid there and let everything run me over. I am also tired of starting something and not seeing it through because of shit excuses.

I also want to get into the beard oil business. This year I registered my blog as an online store and even got an Employee Identification Number (EIN)! Awesome! I have some other stuff around that to figure out, but I have it on my Shit I Need to Do Right Now list.

Lastly, I grew up speaking Albanian, but since I never really used it where I grew up, I don’t speak it like I used to. I am working on relearning and practicing it some more.

Shit to do #3: Personal Upgrades

I first got glasses when I was in second grade. I have always worn glasses, until I became a teenager. Then I transitioned to contact lenses. After that, I went back and forth between contacts and glasses. I have always had corrective lenses in my life.

The past few years though, I found myself thinking about LASIK and eventually making it a goal. Well I can say that as of March 2017, that is one goal I turned into reality. I got LASIK! I feel like I accomplished a bucket list item, and it feels amazing! I can see great, and as my eyes heal my vision keeps getting better. I tested at 20/20, possibly 20/15.

Earlier this year I also signed up for Warrior Dash with my friends from work. I have always wanted to do a physical challenge like that. I have been working out a lot and put on some intense weight.

Last week I signed up for a 6 week workout program with a place called Michigan Kettlebells. It’s going to be intense, but so worth it. It will help me cut down some of this fat I gained and tone up my gained muscle. It will also get me ready for Warrior Dash! I also want to play rugby so this will help me with the training and conditioning of my body!

My goal is to look like this guy (or a watered down version) at Warrior Dash! I even paid for the kilt so I can really experience the event:

I am so ready to continue smashing through my goals! So fucking ready! It is really easy to lay down and die when life hands you a large glass of “Fuck you.” I am guilty of that more than I care to admit. Especially when the shit gets piled on! However, like I said earlier..the negative shit is gone! That means I only have positive things to focus on!

Seriously, if I find something negative to focus on at this point, I brought it on myself and I am a fucking lunatic!

 

I am excited to share this because I have seriously never felt happier. So many great things happening that I just need to let the sun shine on my face!

 

Turning 34

34 is not some spectacular number. It isn’t an awesome milestone age that we look forward to turning like 21. There isn’t a dirty 34 party or anything exciting. It’s just one more step until we get to the main floor of 40.

Or is 34 actually something more? Might there be some value to 34 that could have been missed? I think there might be. How do I know you ask? I have been 34 for about 10 hours. Today, Tuesday January 12, 2016, is my birthday!

As is customary for most adults celebrating a birthday, we look back on the previous year and reflect on how it went. It is a lot like New Year’s Eve, only for me those two days are only 12 days apart. When I wasn’t checking Facebook for birthday wall posts or chatting with friends at work about my birthday, I thought about who I was when I was 33 (yesterday). What did I do well? Where are there areas of opportunity?

Admittedly, this past year was not a great one. I definitely went through some shit. I got hit a few times, most of it back to back. I fucked up big time and had to deal with the repercussions of my actions. I also faced some challenges with my cat Gambit who get very sick. He is an older cat and has kidney disease. He’s been my companion for over 8 years so that was extremely emotional and tough. I also faced some challenges at work which really took a lot out of me. That stress took over my life and was starting to destroy me. It was turning me into someone I am not. All if it caused me to faced a level of depression that I had never known before. Life was just destroying me. The age of 33 was quite the pity party year for me.

Near the end of 33 I picked up a book called The Question Behind The Question (QBQ). This book completely changed my life! Once I read it, I realized what I was doing wrong. I was letting life happen to me. I was playing the victim. With everything that happened to me, I kept asking “Why is this happening to me?” That was the equivalent of me just laying down and letting life run me over a few times.  I learned from this book that instead of having a poor attitude and asking incorrect questions (aka IQ) like “Why is this happening to me?” or “Why won’t she listen to me?” I needed to change my attitude. First, I had to accept that I can only change the things that I can control – myself. That’s right, me. In the end, no matter what happens, the only thing I can change is my own mentality and my own attitude. Instead then, I need to be asking myself these questions: “How can I….?” What can I do….?”

Remember, the only thing I can change is myself, so all of my questions need to include I. Once I took out the “she, he, they” it completely simplified my life. The question with I now focuses on me. That allows me to identify what I can do to make the necessary change in my life. This burden I had placed on myself dissipated very quickly, if not instantly, after this new school of thought was introduced into my brain.

Now, at 34, I’m looking forward while looking back at the same time. Neat trick right? I am looking back on everything that I experienced as well as my valuable lessons from QBQ and rolling those into my future. I think of 33 as the class where I learned the required skills for adulthood. 34 is my trial period where I can practice my new-found skills and way of thinking. I am going to make mistakes and I foresee that I will have slip ups here and there. This is where I will to be more accountable. Luckily 35 will the full live version.

The things that happened to me in the last year are over. They are done. My slate for this year is clean. I am starting fresh. No longer will I play the victim and let life “happen” to me. Now, I am going to make life happen. I’ve already started implementing some big changes in my life (more blog posts about that to come later). 34 will the year that I become the man that I want to be. My focus will be myself.

That makes 34 a huge milestone age for me. I will look back on this year of my life with a smile and pride of what I accomplished. And unlike 21, I will remember this one!

 

Sibling Solidarity

One of the things I value most in the world is the human experience. Nothing is as profound as living and experiencing this marvelous world and the wonders in it.

The most extraordinary experience I’ve ever had, and still have, is the bond between my siblings and myself. My siblings and I are very close. I have a twin sister, younger sister, and younger brother. They are my everything. They are so much more than my best friends. They transcend “friendship.” A couple days ago they showed me the difference between sibling and friend.

I’ve been going through some personal stuff, that I don’t want to get into here, but it’s been tough. Life has thrown some negative things at me. After a while, hit after hit negative things start to take their toll.  That’s where I have been for months. Just worn down. I’ve been living with depression and anxiety for quite some time. It’s been such a dark year. If it could go wrong, trust me, it did. The repercussions from this year will last for quite some time. The impact in my life has been life changing.

The past few weeks, I saw an incline in the depression and anxiety. I lost motivation to do anything positive. I let my house fall into a mess. I skipped days at the gym. When I did go to the gym, I think I just looked sad and checked out. I’ve been wallowing in the cesspool that is my life.

I not normally the type of person to really open up to others with what I have going on. Normally I work through the situation and I am good. I am the kind of guy that listens to other people’s issues. However, I know that it is not good to keep things inside, especially when life keeps beating you down. I do talk to my brother and sisters though. When you’ve known people your entire life and grew up in the same house, it’s easier.

Opening up to friends is not as easy. I learned that this year and it reminded me of who I can confide in and who I can’t. I’ve also learned that because I always listen to other people’s issues, that they get used to me as a sounding board/diary. Over the past few months, when I tried to talk some friends, they always turned it back around to them and basically disregarded what I had to say. It’s always about them. I even watched someone “listen” to me speak, pause to let me finish, then continue on about them self. For someone to wait for you to finish speaking so they can disregard your attempt to open up, that is disheartening. What a terrible feeling. I actually started to use the app Whisper to let out some stuff going on in my head. I felt this would keep me from being a burden to anyone.

I recently met up with my sisters for dinner at the mall. I had told my siblings that for winter hibernation, I was going to buy a PlayStation 4 with the Uncharted series.. I needed things to occupy my time and distract me. Then I got my doctor bill from an ultrasound sound I had on my testicles when I noticed an issue. It was a cancer scare. Luckily it wasn’t cancer. It was hydrocele. You can read about that here. The bill was $424. Just what I was going to use to buy my PS4. So there went that. I told my siblings my PS4 had to wait.

Then the most awesome thing happened. My siblings knew just how down I was feeling, so they surprised me with an early Christmas/birthday present and gave me a PlayStation 4 with the Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection that night.

No one, and I do mean no one, can know what that act of kindness did for me. When I got home with my PS4, I just stared at it. When I looked at the box, all I could think about was my siblings having the discussion to get me this gift because they knew it would lift my spirits. Since I’ve been an emotional train wreck lately anyway, I cried over it, but it was tears of joy. They knew exactly what I needed and when. I was a never burden to them.

The next day, something changed. I didn’t feel alone. The dark cloud that has been hovering over my head the past few months just vanished. Now, I feel like I used to. Strong, motivated, and tough. I know that shit is going to come my way, but I am ready to take it all on. I will not let anything take me down. With a support system like my siblings, there is no way I can’t. I am going to stay positive and motivated. I am going to pick up my life and move forward. We sometimes need the darkness to appreciate the light. Words cannot express just how much I appreciate the light in my life, my siblings (and our mother).

We all have those friends that get us, but siblings are different. They don’t just get you. They know you. They lift you up and lean on you. They are you. You are part of them and they are a part of you because you were born on the same wavelength. There is really nothing quite like it. #foreverfriends ❤️❤️❤️

I dedicate this song to my siblings and our mother, because quite frankly I just don’t what I would be without them.