I Hate the Fact That I Miss You

I have a tendency in my life to romanticize the past.  It’s this bad habit of remembering all the good times and feelings, even if they were few and far between.  I struggle to recognize the reality of how unhappy I was with whatever I am missing.

These feelings of longing aren’t just limited to my intimate relationships or people from my past.  I miss the places I lived, careers I’ve had, and even drugs I’ve done.  Some of this stems from regret for the choices I have made.  Maybe I gave up too soon or stayed there too long.

The majority of the time I revisit the past and the things I miss, they are never quite the same as I remembered.  They don’t feel the same.  They don’t invoke the feelings in me that I hoped they would.  The sex isn’t as good, the views aren’t as beautiful, the drugs never get me as high.

I’ve spent a great deal of my life brooding over the past.   I sit and think about how I could have made different choices that may have led to a different outcome.  Hoping that somehow I will get another shot at my past.  It’s always the story of “well if I had just done X differently.”  It becomes nothing more than an exercise in futility.

Habitually, I miss people, places and things for all the wrong reasons.  A fair amount of guilt and shame tend to accompany my feelings of nostalgia.  I often wonder why I spend so much time ruminating over what has been done.  There’s nothing I can do to change what’s happened; so why do I let it drain my life today?  I know that previous statement is very obvious and clearly not profound.  But it’s something I always struggle to accept.

And there in lies the key to this life lesson; acceptance.  Acceptance is the only thing that can give me freedom from my past.  It allows me to find inner peace and say goodbye to what once was.  One of the most quoted pieces of literature on acceptance come from The Big Book of AA:

      “And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me, and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.”

Acceptance is the most obvious, yet powerful tool I can think of when it comes to dealing with the past.  It should be the most simple principle to apply because its makes the most sense.  Whats done is done!  There’s no time machine.  I can’t right the wrongs I have done.  But, I can accept was has occurred and move forward making positive changes in my life to ensure that I don’t make those mistakes again.

Many people before me have said that the past belongs exactly where it is; in the past.  It’s normal and natural to miss something or someone.   Reminiscing over the good times.  However, If I want serenity and happiness today I need to leave my past alone.  I need to live in the present and build for the future.  I can draw on the experiences and the lessons I have learned to be a better person today and in the future.  Spending time and energy focusing on what could have been keeps me from creating what will become.

“Yesterday is history and tomorrow’s a mystery
But baby right now, its just about you and me”

I May Not be as Batshit Crazy as I thought – Dealing With my OCD Thoughts

Up until recently (Im 35 now) I never understood the thoughts that I obsess about on a daily basis. The things that just pop up into my head and I play out in my mind OVER AND OVER again. Sometimes I even have conversations out loud with the person or thing I am obsessing over.  I just figured this was either all natural and normal or I was just a deeply disturbed person.  Either way my thoughts tortured me continuously.  From the moment I woke up until I Xanax’d myself to sleep I would just obsess over these horrible thoughts.

Some of the times I did not mind some of these obsessions.  For instance, I would have thoughts of running into people who wronged me as a child and exacting my revenge on them.  However, many of my obsessions would come on so strong they would literally make my head tingle with anxiety and feel of nauseous  deep in the pit of my stomach.  The unwanted thoughts were derived from fears and insecurity. Things like what my girlfriend or ex-girlfriend would be doing with another man.  Thoughts of gloom and doom, like how my life was a complete failure.  I would have unwanted thoughts about someone randomly hitting my dog with their car and killing her.  I would then allow the thought to continue on as far as to how I would kill the person after they killed Maddie.

I continually had obsessions of myself failing at all my business ventures and as a person. I would picture myself losing everything I had.  My life as I know it, my money, the people I love and it would end with me committing suicide.  These obsessions occurred so often that I started accepting them as a likely outcome for my future.  My unwanted thoughts had just become to much for me to handle and I doubted everything and anything positive in my life.

One day I was driving and I was listening to Howard Stern and he was talking about his OCD. He and his guest were talking about the obsessive thoughts and something just resonated with me. It was like listening to a part of my story.  Once I heard this and thought about it an odd sense of calm came over me.  It was like finding a small clue to solve a huge mystery.  For a brief period of time my obsessions just stopped.

Now I only really thought of OCD as people who was their hands 100 times in a row or touch light switches 26 times before they could leave the house.  I later found those were examples of the compulsions.  The obsessions or unwanted thoughts are what drove those compulsions.  To oversimplify this all, this condition stems from “faulty wiring” in certain parts of the brain.  I talked to my therapist about my thoughts on OCD and he recommended I read a book called “Brain Lock.”  I related to so much in this book.  The more I read the better I felt.  There were so many examples of people in the book with the same exact obsessions and odd thought I experience.  For example, many people besides myself have irrational fears and thoughts when they are holding a knife or dangerous object that they may use it on someone they care about.  I used to have these unwanted thoughts often and they really made me feel like I was an evil, demented person.  In reality they were just unwanted, irrational thoughts that I would never act upon.  All these insane thoughts I had could finally be explained and there was hope to have a life without them.

Brain Lock lays out a 4 step plan to deal with these obsessions.

  • Step 1: Relabel
  • Step 2: Reattribute
  • Step 3: Refocus
  • Step 4: Revalue

Essentially, what I do with these principles is tell myself its just an unwanted thought and I do not need to pay attention to it.  Then I direct my attention to something else that is constructive. For example when a thought about my demise may come up, I will stop the obsession in its tracks and turn my thoughts to my work.  I an write, read something uplifting or exercise.  The book coined the slogan “its not me its my OCD.”  This may sound really fucking cheesy, but I can repeat this simple statement daily and it truly helps me deal with the obsessions.

Don’t get me wrong these unwanted thoughts continually pop up in my mind and haunt me still to this day more often than I would like.  Sometimes they kick my ass pretty bad.  However I now understand the skill set to handle these obsessions.  Some times they still get the better of me and they take me to a dark place that’s very bad for me.  I still have a lot of work to do, but I can see the progress I have made in 3 short months.  The feeling of freedom from unwanted thoughts that sabotage the good in my life.  These results make me very hopeful for the future.

How The Undefeated Can Feel Depleted


Being an entrepreneur almost ensures my life is a roller-coaster ride.   If I look at how chaotic my life’s been for years, this like seems the only route for me.  I have to learn the hardest ways possible.  Extraordinary amounts of pain accompany my process. A part of me feeds off the adrenaline rush this lifestyle can produce. The highs are high and the lows are very low.   I’m an addict in many facets in my life.  Chaos, turbulence and adrenaline have been my drugs of choice for as long as I can remember.

I have a nasty habit of comparing myself to others.  This is a quick and surefire way for me to feel less than and defeated.  I see what others have and covet their success.  I make assumptions about their success without knowing the whole story.  They may not be happy, healthy or have the material wealth that I may think.

Sometimes I can’t see past the dismal future I create in my head.  I look at myself as a failure for not being in the position in life I feel I  should be at my age. I get so far bogged down in my own bullshit, negativity and self pity I cant see that whatever is bothering me is temporary.  If I take action and I’m not afraid to fail and learn from my mistakes I can create success again.  When things get so bad in my life I feel I can’t continue on.  I want to pack up and run away.  I use techniques I’ve outlined below to get back on track

    1. First, try to only look at today.  As hard as it is, let go of what was and try not to stress over what is to come.  Just worry about this moment, of this day, right now.  When I am really down trying to handle anything more than that is just way to much for me.  Its like they say in AA, “Just for today.”  I used to hear guys tell people in programs “you can get high tomorrow, just stay clean today.”  They would repeat that to them every single morning until the urges started to cease.  Staying focused on the present is incredibly difficult, but when I can do it my life certainly gets better.
    2. Create a structured routine.  Make lists of what I WANT to do with my day.  I put them in chronological order if possible.  I make a decision about what are the most important 1-2 items that if I do today will allow me get to all the other less important items done as well.  Set a time frame to get those 1-2 things done for the day.  If I find I’m spinning my wheels, I take a break for a couple of minutes and come back to the the task at hand.  The mornings are especially important for setting the stage for a productive day.  I like to get up have my shake, do some reading, look over my to do list and set a positive tone for my day.  Then the first thing I like to get out of the way is going to the gym.  Having a good workout helps me focus throughout the day.  If I don’t go early it is on my mind the rest of the day.
    3. Spend time with positive people.  Stay as far away as possible from the pessimists and Debbie-Downers.  Surround  yourself with happy people who make you laugh and smile.  That type of behavior can be infectious and hopefully it’s a bug you will catch.
    4. Exercise – Whatever your personal thing is DO IT.  It could be weight lifting, crossfit, running, sports, yoga, rowing, dancing etc.  Maybe this would be a good time to try out a new form of exercise to see how it makes you feel.
    5. Talk with people you view as successful and share what you are going through.  Ask for their feedback and ALWAYS offer something in return for their time.  Don’t expect people to take time out of their day to help you out (Even though many successful people will because realize the importance of giving back).  Always make sure you can reciprocate the favor somehow.
    6. Give back to others.  Talk to others about what is going on in their lives.  You may not have the answers,  but you can listen intently.  Sometimes that’s all someone needs is someone to vent to.  The quickest way to get out of  your own head is to listen to others and give back.  Do something nice for those you love.  It doesn’t have to fancy or even something you do for a significant other or family member.  It could be for your pet or a friend.  Some days I find real clarity and peace spending extra time with my dog. We go for a longer walks or I let her play for an extra 30-45 minutes at the dog park.  Seeing how happy and carefree she is running around chasing a ball reminds me of the simple things in life that can bring about so much happiness
    7. Play!  That’s right play.  Go do something you find fun to do.  It could be something you have not done in a long time or something you have never done.  Just go out and do something different and find some joy in your life
    8. Get out of your comfort zone.  This may seem like something that could make you feel more defeated if you fail.  But for me, no matter what the outcome, I am always happy I did it.  For instance, I am newly single and I am a little rusty when it comes to talking to women again.  I was out on a date and I wasn’t interested in her.  An amazingly beautiful girl came into the restaurant we were at and sat down at the table across from us.  When my date got up to go to the bathroom I quickly snuck over to the other table and started chatting up this beautiful girl and her friend.  I was a bumbling fool, all pent up with nerves and anxiety.  The whole thing kind of turned into a debacle when my date came back and saw me talking to the girls at their table. BUT, I was happy I had the balls to take the risk and chat up this girl. Normally I wouldn’t have had the courage to do it and made an excuse.  Its like building a physique or your strength, it takes a lot of reps to reach your goals
    9. Rest – Some days I’m not feeling it.  I feel burnt out, I have no energy, no drive. Everything I do is done half-assed and needs to be redone tomorrow.  Allowing myself to rest is difficult for me these days because I feel I need to work harder than anyone out there in order to achieve financial success again.  However, many times I am working hard on working hard.  There are times where I am creating bullshit busy work for myself to feel a sense of accomplishment. I feel my stress and anxiety build, creating psychosomatic health issues.  At this point I need a mental health day and to catch up on rest. I like to unplug from the world and read, write or any other activity that is not taxing on my mind or body
    10. Get help.  I see a therapist every week.  It’s hard work to make change in your life.  But the hard work seems to be worth it.  I’m not where I need to be yet. But, with the help of my therapist I am much more mentally successful and healthier than I was even a month ago.
    11. Get some sunshine!  This can be hard to do if you live in certain parts of the country during the late fall and winter.  For me a couple hours out in the sunshine always does me a whole lot of good
    12. Stay away from social media.  It tends to be negative and mind-numbing nonsense.  My feed tends to be depressing news stoiries, people bitching about life and random stupid shit I could live without seeing.  Don’t get me wrong there is a time and a place for all of this, but when I’m down it’s not what I need.  Plus I have a tendency to check on people from my past and cause myself a great deal of pain for no reason.
    13. Make your bed.  It’s something I learned in AA (In my opinion 12 step programs have the best sayings and practices that make such a difference. And no, I am not a member anymore).  It may sound odd, but It’s on of those little things that has a large psychological impact. Controlling something as minute as whether or not my bed is made has been a springboard in controlling much larger aspects of my life.  Even if my life and world is chaotic, when I walk into my bedroom and my bed is made, a little piece of my world is in order.   I can lay down at night in a clean, nicely made bed and go to sleep. Its a small way of taking care of myself.
    14. Gratitude!!!!  I FUCKING HATE THIS ONE!  I will not lie, this is something I struggle with.  However, gratitude is the skeleton key to a better perspective on my life.  I Make a list of the things I am truly grateful for.  I reflect on how these things and people have enhanced my life and how good I really have it.

Take a look at this list, experiment with these techniques and see if they work for you.  They are not set out as a rigid guideline of what works.  These are merely a few actions I have found helpful for me.


Fuck My Funk – How I Came out of my Slump

Coming out of mental and emotion tailspin is never easy.  At times I allow myself to spiral out of control very quickly.  I get lost and am not sure how to turn things around.   The last 2-3 months I have gone through this pretty badly.   During this period I’ve been experimenting with actions and ideas that are turning my attitude, mindset and ultimately my life around.  Theses are the things that are working for me.

Motivational videos – I wake up and the first thing I do is watch a video on my phone.  I try to find something to watch the night before so I have it ready for when I wake up.  Sometimes I’m really feeling one video that’s working and Ill listen to it a couple mornings in a row.  Lately I will listen to these videos several times a day.  It gets me through the gym, work and whatever else I’m doing.

Exercise – Within an hour or waking up I head to the gym.  I like to get it out of the way first thing so I can spend the rest of my day focusing on other tasks.  Exercising gets the endorphins going in my body and helps me let off some steam.  Some times my friend will drag me with her to Hot Yoga.  Recently I started doing sprints with my dog after the gym.  We walk a block and then run a block.  Its cold as shit out in Philly and Im really out of shape from a cardio standpoint. But, it forces me out of my exercise comfort zone and all I can think about is just trying to breath and keep up with her.  She loves running so it allows me to connect with her more as well.

Write – For me its cathartic.  I get to take all the shit that’s eating me up inside and put it on paper and see it for what its really worth.  Writing has allowed me to take an outside perspective on my internal feelings.  I can better evaluate whats going on with me and weed out the real problems from the bullshit

Force myself to do things I’m fearful of – Doing things that take me out of my comfort zone helps me build confidence.  It enables me to face my fears and learn to trust in myself.  I become more cognizant of that fact my fears live only in my head.  The consequences for taking these little risks are never as bad as I imagined.  I learn that I am able to handle rejection and failure and keep moving forward towards my goals.

For example; Sunday I was at the gym and a really cute, fit girl came in and started working out near me.  I wanted to strike up a conversation with her, but my game is pretty weak.  I was afraid to speak to her, so I decided I was not going to leave until I did.  I had already finished up my workout.  I was forced to do exercises I don’t normally do until I built up the courage to go over, introduce myself and talk to her.  It took me about 25-30 minutes of doing ab exercises that I hate, to finally go up and start the conversation.  She was nice, nothing bad happened.  She didn’t run away screaming “stranger danger”.   Ultimately, she wasn’t really feeling me and I didn’t get her number, but the outcome didn’t matter as much to me.   I just needed to do it for me.  I needed to show myself that I have courage to do what I fear.

Ask myself the question “how does this serve you” – This is a concept I learned in rehab.  Whenever I have negative thoughts or want to take negative actions I ask myself that question.  The majority of the time, just saying these five words will instantly stop me from following down the negative path I am heading.  It takes the power away from the negative thoughts and allows me to refocus my energy and attention.

Pray –  I know this will make some people cringe.  I’m not religious.  I don’t practice nor am I here to proselytize a certain religion.  I’m not even really sure I know who my God is.  What I do feel is that something greater than myself is out there.  Every night before bed I get down on my knees and talk to God.  I give thanks for the days events and I ask for the strength to work on my character flaws and defects.

Sometimes I ask for a reprieve from whatever is bothering me at the time.  I feel there is a certain sense of humbleness and humility in asking God, the universe or whoever for help when I am struggling.  For me it helps right-size me.  I do believe in the saying “A prayer without action is powerless.”  If I don’t do the work things will never get better.

Laugh – The power of laughter is something I lost touch with until recently.  Statistics say that the average child laughs about 300 times a day.  While the average adult only laughs 5 times daily!  Somewhere along the way I lost my sense of of how important it is to laugh.  I need to fill my life with things that make me smile, laugh and feel good.  Laughter helps me deal with my problems and not take things to seriously.  Lately when I need a laugh I go to YouTube and look up Dave Chappelles old stand up.  No matter how many times I’ve watched it I’m laughing my ass of seconds.

Give back – Going out of my way to do for others is 100% foolproof way for me to get out of my own head.  Whether its having a conversation about whats going on in their life or helping them build towards a goal its always effective.  If I am truly engaged in what they are doing or saying I don’t have the capacity to worry about whats going on with me.  Its a nice break at times from myself.

I train a friend of mine at the gym three times a week.  She is a HUGE pain in the ass.  She whines and complains the whole damn time.  I often wonder why I put myself through the aggravation.  Then I realize there are so many reason why this is good for me.  It’s great practice for me to be creative with my problem solving skills.  It gives me insight into the perspective of people who may not be as driven as I am.  People who want results, but don’t really want to put in the work.  It forces me to look at aspects of my life where I fall into that category.  There are so many benefits that better my life from helping someone else better their’s.