Friday, December 2, 2016

Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans!!

I have found in recent weeks, while doing my farm work with lots of time to think in the tractor, that I was overwhelmed with a feeling of love and warmth...for life! In coming to terms with my new reality, I certainly haven't handled it very well at times and never expected it to be the challenge it has been. It has indeed been a very intense few weeks. But as I get a grasp of my life as it will be in the future (because it will never be the same again), I've been processing many thoughts. I've moved through the anger, the frustration, the bitterness - to a point of realization of how many good times I've had and shared with my wife. More than half of her life, almost half of mine that we've been many special memories. I am not going to be driven by that anger and frustration that I have gone through in the past few weeks. I am not going to cling to the bitterness of our ending. I will one day start dating again, I will find somebody else - as the old saying goes, "If you're bucked from the horse, you've got to climb back on!" Dare I say it in this politically correct will be a different horse obviously - I'll be riding a different filly :) I am a big hearted person. I love to share and give of what I've got. I am excited about the prospect of sharing what happens in and around my life with a special lady in the near future.

I really do feel strongly, when that special someone comes along...she can't be a jealous girl. She has to be ok with the fact that I have two beautiful children. She has to be ok with the reality that I will have an ongoing relationship with my ex-wife, hopefully as a good friend at some point down the track. I do have many great memories with her - she played a starring role in my life. There were some incredible experiences we shared intimately, they will always be with me. Much like some of the greatest hits from musicians...the songs play on long after the relationships end. Sonny & Cher "I got you babe", Ike & Tina Turner "Nutbush City Limits", Shane Nicholson & Kasey Chambers "Once In A While". Sadly they're no longer together, but they made some great music while they were!! The good times are very real when they are happening - the memories will last a lifetime.

This life changing event did in fact lead to the darkest time in my existence. Despite my ongoing battle with depression, and willingness to share openly of my story, I genuinely believe that for the first time I experienced suicidal thoughts. It was very real to me, and yes it was very frightening. My life purpose seemed no longer to exist. I didn't feel like a lost a part of who I actually felt like I lost all of who I was. In doing so, the will to live, the need to stay on planet earth no longer seemed relevant to me. Of course those feelings were very real, and I had to acknowledge them for what they were - FEELINGS. They were however not my truth, and I had to find a way to stay in the game...until those feelings passed. At a time when I felt most vulnerable, I made a conscious decision to not have a single beer...until. That was only for a couple of weeks - and I believe my mental stability bounced back fairly quickly, as I continued to feel DOWN but not OUT!!

One of the most daunting prospects for me has been to accept that I am again single. Although many would perceive me to be bubbling with confidence, I grew up a very shy, insecure teen - and even into my early 20's. I spent most of my formative years thinking 'I am not worthy', wishing I was better looking, taller, more confident. My self-esteem was almost non-existent, and by the ripe old age of 23, I totally believed I would die an old bachelor :( So despite working hard on myself over the years, and developing a level of self belief in my abilities - all those feelings of insecurity came flooding back. Again I must acknowledge them for what they are...yes they are feelings - but they need not be my truth, or my reality. If you understand that my wife was only my second ever girlfriend, and the first one I shared physical intimacy with - you might be able to get a grasp of my fears. I have joked in recent years, "I wish I had enjoyed this level of confidence in who I am way back when I was single!!" Note to very careful what you wish for!! Now I am again single, it doesn't feel too exciting at all.

I don't know that I will ever understand why my wife and I couldn't resolve our issues. However my commitment to a core belief remains rock solid..."All thing happen for a reason". To understand is unimportant, to accept is critical. It's a bit like unconditional love. There are people in your life who you will continue to love without question, at times despite their actions, or your ability to comprehend their actions. In this situation, for me to not submit to complete acceptance would simply paralyse me - to have me suspended in a state fit for the living dead. I don't choose that for my life, and I definitely hope my wife can soon find her way clear of the pain too. Honestly I never imagined that the old say, "Happy wife, happy life", would translate to getting rid of me. But hey, if that leads her to true happiness, that's a great outcome. I still want that for her - even today.

One of the most fascinating things I've had to work through in recent weeks is my perception. The hardest part to cope with has been letting go of the illusion of what I wanted in life. I'm sure most of us dream of the perfect relationship with a life partner. To be cut loose from such a long term relationship is absolutely terrifying. It felt like having your parachute cords cut, and going into freefall a few thousand metres above the ground. But what if you weren't flying so high after all, and the cords cut were the ones holding you down? That is the power of perception. Perhaps only now that I've been cut loose can I truly soar high. I also believe that sharing life experiences makes a huge contribution to the lives closest to you...for better or worse. If positively aligned, this can be incredibly uplifting. I guess it can therefore have an equally destructive contribution and drag you down should your life directions change.

Today I find myself fighting a battle much bigger than 'me' on a daily basis. Sadly what seems to energise me was depleting my wife. I think she understands that the old me no longer exists...and he's never coming back. Farmer Gregie the Superhero (in his own little bubble!!) hosting farm tours and speaking out publicly about the injustices inflicted on Aussie farmers nationwide, is here to stay. I will continue to make things happen to the best of my ability, I do accept as John Lennon sang so eloquently in 1980..."Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans". I am still a hopeless romantic, and believe in old fashioned love. I have a quiet confidence that the right woman will one day pop up in my circles, and I'll be thrilled to have her join in on this magical mystery tour that has become my LIFE!!

Farmer Gregie ;)

Music will always mean a lot to me...preach it Garth!!!

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

LIFE - The Good...the Bad...and the incredibly UGLY !!!

LIFE - It is what it is...that can't be denied!

As sure as the sun will come up tomorrow - some will condemn my desire to share personal thoughts and feelings in this blog. Just as most of my favourite musicians are openly lambasted for their willingness to pen heartache and heart-break into song...Taylor Swift, Gary Allan, Keith Urban, Sara Evans, Joe Nichols, Rob Thomas, Adele and Ed Sheeran have resisted calls from some sectors to STOP SHARING!! I along with millions of hardcore fans am eternally grateful, as so often their lyrics resonate with our own personal struggles as mere mortals - helping us wade through the quagmire that is 'our' life.

There must be a valid reason for my 'over-sharing'. Perhaps it will help you through some of your own battles? Maybe something I say here will prove to become a lightbulb moment...for you! Either way, we'll agree to disagree if you don't like what I do or say. Actually, I have a strong feeling if you are a non-believer in my methods you won't have read this far anyway. Good for you - you've personally made the right choice. If you're sill reading...DITTO :)

I believe strongly that 'all things happen for a reason'. Now more than ever before in my life I must maintain faith that this in fact is true. There are times when things simply do not make sense, and I guess that will remain the case - until they make sense...for as long as it takes!!  2016 shaped as a tremendous milestone year for my family - with our 21st wedding anniversary, wife's 40th, daughter's 18th, son's 10th...and now I can add another that I didn't see coming. You see, after 21 years married - I am now 21 days single. So many of you have undoubtedly gone through a breakup in your own life, but until you experience it personally you really have no comprehension of the range of emotions you are about to be subjected to!!

Despite having experienced the depths of clinical depression back in 2010, I have never before felt as devastated, as gutted as I have in the past few weeks. I've never before felt as emotionally wrecked as I did right then, when the news was broken to me. A sense of numbness flooded over me - and every aspect of life seemed to hold no meaning whatsoever during the ensuing days. The pain seemed even more extreme than mourning for the loss of a close friend or family member...through death.

In an amazing twist of irony, I am quickly coming to terms with what has happened - and why. To say I didn't see it coming is a just felt that way. To be honest, my wife and I have been battling our own demons (actually we've both been mainly battling my personal demons) for many years now. Obviously over the 22 year relationship, I came to know this woman incredibly well. She has an ability to read people better than anyone I've ever met before. Her instincts have rarely proven to be far off the mark!! if I genuinely believe in 'all things for a reason', and I continue to trust her judgement - things are already starting to make more sense. The irony you ask? It is actually my confidence in her perception of reality that is helping me cope with a truth I'd been denying.

When the bad news hits you (if you are the recipient), you can't help but take it very personally - and focus intensely only on your own emotions. There's a physical illness that washes over you with an intensity like never before. Initially I held no consideration of what a huge life decision this was for my wife. For a woman who is so zealously devoted to family - she must have agonized over this decision for months...if not years. And knowing me as she has for 22 years, she obviously feels that all hope for us is lost. My actions, my choices over a protracted period of time have put her in that position - and I'm sure she is as crushed as I am. If anything my admiration for her has been elevated - not diminished. She did what I was unable to do, in calling time on a troubled relationship that was not moving forward. That decision would have been heart-wrenching, but the action was hugely courageous.

Hindsight is 20/20 indeed!! I always believed that we would talk things through, and work things day. But 'one day' drifts into months and then years, before it finally arrives. In my case - that day became a finality, not a reconciliation. If you are struggling in a relationship worth saving, then get to work on it NOW. To wait will only enhance the odds of complete failure.

Perhaps one of my most redeeming features is to look towards BIG PICTURE solutions. It may also be my downfall, as my desire to help others may at times come at the expense of my personal health and well-being...and that of my immediate family.

I will be forever grateful that both my ex and I have a tremendous support base in our immediate and extended families. They have given us both strength in our time of most need, and you just can't put a value on that. The past three weeks have felt like hell, but thankfully, day by day the intense pain is subsiding. As for our dysfunctional relationship...she is an amazing woman, and I do have my 'amazing' moments - but sadly we couldn't find a way to be 'amazing together'.

Please understand - I'm not looking for sympathy. I'm definitely not about to start playing the blame game. There is no right or wrong here, but rather an inability to resolve differences. If it sounds like my clinical assessment is devoid of emotion, believe me the past few weeks have been anything but!! It's just that I am quickly coming to terms with the gravity of my altered reality. There a two beautiful young people on the planet, who desperately need for their Mum and Dad to be supportive role models. I consciously want to deny the opportunity for anger and bitterness to control my life. No matter what has come and gone for me - the constant in my kid's life remains, and she is the best Mum they could have ever wished for.

I've been left to do a lot of soul-searching. I am a heavily flawed human being and that, I will never deny. There are some valuable lessons I must learn moving forward. I will continue to question my purpose in life, and remain hopeful that the right answers will be forthcoming. My family of 4 has now become 3 - but my kids still have two parents who love them unconditionally. If I can become a better person out of this very painful experience...then everyone wins. Hoping to continue playing as important a role in my kid's lives as they will in mine.