The Middle-Aged Spread

A Year to the day!

Today is exactly a year to the day that my life changed and I have started this blog to document the good, the bad and the ugly in hope that it will not only prove to be therapeutic for me but go someway to help other people move forward in their lives.

First let me start by telling you a little bit about me.

A year ago today, Bank Holiday Monday in the UK, I set my alarm for 6.15am.  The time the sun rose above Southampton to signal the first day of the rest of my life.
I put on my gym gear, grabbed my iPhone, opened Napster and headed out…straight out into this wonderful world we live in – to walk, run and experience some mindfulness.

I had always been a ‘snooze’ kind of guy, choosing a night owl over early bird mentality but after my journey of self discovery it was time to change…time to start my day right.  Exercise, plan and eat well.
As we go on I will share my tips for starting your day right.  I believe that by finding the right start to our day it gives us momentum to carry a positive attitude right through the day which leads to more happiness and focus.
Planning the day and week helps focus the mind on the important things and minimises the distractions which take us off track.

I am a 43 year old father of two from the South of England. My passion in life was football…..that was until I became too old to play at the standard I was used to.
It became too much of an effort and took too long for my ageing body to recover so I had to give it up. I would find that playing on a Saturday would wipe out the rest of my weekend and by the end of my playing days usually Monday and Tuesday too. Where was all that energy that afforded me the pleasure of playing Saturday, Sunday morning and Sunday afternoon for so many years? Age is a bitch huh….at least that used to be my view.

Those of you out there of a similar age will get what I mean, it takes a little longer to get up the stairs – no more taking two at a time!
That reminds me, anyone else make a weird exhale of breath as you sit down on a chair or sofa? How about having to muster enough energy to actually manage to stand back up again?
Those of you who have the current pleasure of being younger will probably believe you will always feel as good as you do now and that your forties are soooo far away. It happens to us all so make the most of it while you can 🙂

I remember winding my Dad up about his receding hair line, lack of fitness and his expanding waist line…..”All bought and paid for Son” he used to say – proud that he had purchased his beer belly outright like it was equivalent to owning his own home!
Now, of course, it’s my hair line and ‘Middle-Aged Spread” that I have to contend with.
I’m pleased to say my Dad is still around, he’s built an extension on that ‘asset’ of his but I don’t rib him about it anymore….not since acquiring my own!
We play Golf together regularly which is great but unfortunately it wasn’t always like that…more about that particular relationship over the coming weeks.

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Growing up I used to think I was invincible, a strange knowing that nothing bad was ever going to happen to me – kind of like I was being protected.
I was naturally fit from years of sport, fast which gave me an edge and according to some people talented at my passion.
I had an issue with that, a very big issue. Adjusting my behaviour so that people didn’t feel inferior to me. I would care for people, even those who I didn’t take to.
I would want to please my parents (later my partners too) and not want to impose myself on others at the fear that they would think I was cocky, arrogant or worse still a dick.
It was a balance I tried daily to master – Confidence vs Arrogance.
So scared of being perceived as arrogant that I wouldn’t allow my confidence to shine. Seems ridiculous now but growing up you don’t know everything despite feeling like you do.
Wait…..What?…..What do you mean we don’t know everything growing up?
Hate to break it to you peeps but whether you are 15, 21, 30 or even 43 it’s a fact.

It’s a good life lesson to learn, being humble and listening to other people’s opinions and advice.
Even if your Ego tells you to resist just take some time to actually listen, you may not like what is said or even follow the advice but doesn’t it make sense to learn from other people’s mistakes rather than wait until you experience it for yourself?
The saying “no point reinventing the wheel” is right, why waste time making the same mistake?
Some people say there are no mistakes only lessons and I like that although the amount of lessons I have experienced should mean I have a doctorate by now!

I’ve learned that our parents were doing the best they could. There is no right or wrong, no school or university course on parenting – you learn on the job.
No matter how prepared you think you are you are not.
Don’t worry though, if you are at the stage in life where you are thinking about having kids you are in for the most wonderful experience of your life.
The love you feel for yourself, your parents, a sibling, a friend or partner is nothing to what you experience the moment you first lay eyes on your child. I’ve been fortunate enough to have that experience twice and that feeling has not waivered since.
10 years ago this year was the first time, a beautiful baby girl who has grown to be the most caring, wonderful young woman a father could ever hope for. I say young woman because that’s what she would have me believe she is. She has been a premature teenager for a number of years already, scary for sure but lovely all the same.
The second time was 7 years ago, a bouncy baby boy this time. We felt very lucky to have a natural balance in the household. I remember holding him in my arms after he was born…how long before I experienced the difference between a girl and a boy?
All of 2 minutes before he decided to use my arms as a toilet and crapped all over my favourite number 9 Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt!  Now aged seven he finds this rather hilarious.

I have learned that all of the resentment I have built up was actually all about me and not anyone else. Such a hard lesson to learn and one that I recommend everyone takes the time to understand. Seriously life changing that one and much, much more about that soon.

To summarise for those of you still awake I had a great upbringing, a very fortunate start to this life.
Two loving, supportive parents and plenty of family and friends around me all of which contributed to make me the happy, loving little boy I became.

So what changed…

Sunday February 22nd 2008. ‘Knock, knock’ at the door. It was my Dad.

“I’m leaving your Mum” he said.
WTF? Where has this come from? I was 33 and it made me feel like I was 13 again.
The range of emotions were strange for me, a bit like going through puberty. Nobody wants that experience twice do they!
Selfishly I questioned if my life…this life I held in such high regard…was actually just a farce.
The confidence I had built through my life disappeared and I couldn’t reason with myself that it would all be ok.
Add to that other life ‘challenges’ that followed – a work disciplinary and a back operation (to name just two) made this time feel like nothing I had ever experienced before and I struggled…big time.

The Negative Wolf had woken up…stretched out his claws…eaten his fill of prey…put on his best suit and was well and truly ready to go to work on me.

So that’s a little about me, enough to introduce myself and set the scene on what’s to come. As the weeks go on I’ll share more experiences, elaborate on some of the above and explain how I turned it all around with a little help from my friends and an amazing Earth Angel.

In exactly one year I have managed to tame that Wolf, become even more confident than I was before, let my light shine, help other people and still have time to get my Golf Handicap down to 14.
Football will always be a passion and an important part of my life but Golf comes a close second nowadays and serves as a multi-purpose hobby.

As a Sport – a life skill that will serve me both now and in the future.
Social – a common interest that I can enjoy with my Dad and the Golf Society I joined.
Meditation – when I’m on the course my Ego lies still, leaving me to live in the moment and make the most of being outside in this beautiful world we are so fortunate to be part of.

I will endeavour to write this blog twice a week.
On a Monday covering the topics below.

  1. More on what happened in my life prior to a year ago that led me to the realisation that things needed to change
  2. The changes I put in place to move from a mostly negative mindset to a life changing (mostly) positive one
  3. Experiences I have had in the last year from the changes I put in place
  4. Tools and techniques so you can implement the ones you resonate with into changing your life for the better
  5. Kaizen – The Japanese word for constant improvement. I will share how I see this working for everybody in their daily life
  6. My weekly focus areas so you can understand how these practices can be used in everyday life

On a Friday to update you on my experiences of these so I can share any lessons learned to save you time on your own journey.

There will be tears, laughter and some great self help information so I hope you all enjoy reading it and stick around long enough to find out the full story.

Please comment if you wish so I know there is at least one person listening as I believe that if this helps just one person then all of my lessons will have been worth while.
If reading this you feel you are ready to ask for help then please contact me on the website (www.mj3coaching.com) and I will do all I can to help get you on the right path for you so you have the chance to experience growth in your life too.

Happy Bank Holiday!

Speak soon
Mark

Focus Areas w/c August, 28th 2017

  • Maintain a morning routine when back at work
  • Speaking my truth
  • Eat healthily 

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