Pushing thru it #mentalhealth


Day 4 is basically done. While I haven’t done everything I would have wanted it has been a good week. Today was a real mixed bag. But I persevered, practiced some self care and am ready to rest. 

Work has been very interesting lately. As my comfort there has increased I have ventured out of my shell. I have been engaged in writing some tips which has been very well received. It has been very cool to merge my work and interests. 

A week ago I mentioned to one of my bosses an idea of running an after work game club. The idea was approved this week and it fell to me to be the organizer. So I have gone from hiding in the ranks to organizing a company project. Sigh, time to take stock and figure out how to balance this. 

On the other hand this has been a tough week for calls. I have been receiving some calls that I have taken to calling dementors, because they suck the joy and life out of me. These are not challenging calls in terms of constant arguments, or having to answer lots of questions. Instead these are people whose issues is not solvable, and they want to just rant. Which can be very draining. 

It has been a mixed bag for sure. On the plus side the kids have been very good. I have not been coming home to a huge mess or lots of extra work. Aside from some annoying health issues this has been a good home week. 

So I have some work to do. I need to plan in order to balance things. But this week has shown the use of such planning. I just have to keep my mind on what is important. 

Day One was a success #lonelydad #kids #mentalhealth


Kim and Danny left this morning at 0 dark thirty for a week at boy scout camp in Yellowstone. That left me at home with the other kids. But I had a plan. And sitting here before getting myself to bed for my long Monday I can say the day was a success. 

My primary goal was to not sit around and do nothing. To be at least a little constructive. And follow my principles while doing so. Well I did that. I delegated some necessary work. But I also led by example and made sure that I was active as well. 

So now the house is still clean. The yard has been fully trimmed. The menu and chores for tomorrow have been outlined. And I have done all this without the normal incentive of waiting for Kim to get off work tomorrow. 

So yeah, I am feeling pretty good about myself. If I can keep up this effort through the week that will be really good. It is like the adage about character meaning doing the right thing even when no one is looking. If I can do this through the end of the week on my own it should mean I can really do much more when Kim is here to help. Instead of just using her presence as invective to do the minimum. If that makes any sense. 

R.E.S.C. What it means to me #7Habits #Mentalhealth


One of the things that is asked of you with the 7 habits is to create a Mission Statement. Figure out what is truly important to you and then write that down in the form of a statement, a manifesto if you will, that you can use as a guideline for decisions moving forward. I have spent some time working on this. And came up with my four guiding principles that I want to use to guide my life moving forward.

Respect

I will live my life and make decisions that show respect. Not just for others but also myself. For others that may mean treating others with respect. From dealing with them honestly and openly, to respecting their choices and decisions. I may not always agree with others choices, but I can at least show respect for them. This can mean something as simple as showing up on time (or a little early) for planned events. To being as nuanced as not speaking ill of those who have made choices I may not agree with. That is a lot harder than it seems. And is a goal which I strive for, I am not all the way there yet by a long shot.

I will also begin treating myself with respect. That means making choices and decisions that are best for me. Eating better. Getting more exercise. Sleeping better. Making sure I practice proactive self-care.

Encourage

I will encourage others and myself. When someone wishes to do something I will encourage them. If they are working on a project that does not directly involve me I can seek to encourage them. This can be as simple as a pat on the back for my co-workers when they are dealing with a difficult customer. Or as long term as working with my family members in log term activities like school, work, Scouting.

This does not mean I have to act as a constant cheerleader. But I can still do my part to encourage folks when they undertake activities. Telling my kids I know they can get themselves a meal instead of relying on the parents.

Sharing

I have been on this planet for 50 plus years. I have had an extensive education. I have worked a variety of jobs. And consider myself to be pretty well read on a variety of topics. In short, I know things (although I do not drink). The thing about all that knowledge is that it is useless if I do not share it. So my fourth principle is to share what I know.

As a father, one of my main jobs is to teach my kids. From something as simple as tying a shoelace, to as complex as how to write a coherent essay. As a husband, my wife and I are constantly teaching each other things (even after 20 some years.) At work, I have learned that teaching others what I know has the benefit of solving problems ahead of time which reduces everyone’s workload.

Curiosity 

I know a lot. But that does not mean I know it all. I think that one of the hallmarks of success for me is to keep learning. That could be learning how to do something at work that benefits my position there. Or just learning something that I can share with my colleagues.

It could be as meaningful as learning about the complex nuances of current events: local, national and international. Or it could be as mundane as learning who acted in a current movie or who a certain player is playing for. Or it could be about learning to play a new game or a different way of playing a game I already know. It all comes down to keeping an open and inquisitive mind. Because there is always something new out there to learn about.

Those are the guiding principles I choose to follow. That will affect my choices and decisions. Should I agree to do this new project for the Scouts? Who does the cooking and cleaning around the house? What am I doing for a vacation? I can look to my 4 principles to determine the answers to those questions.

What is going on? #Mentalhealth


Whoa FRG, where have you been? What is up with all the silence? Inquiring minds want to know.

I have been working, working hard. And enjoying what I would call the next step in a process. Also exploring some alternatives. It has been very good.

First, I have been working very hard at the new job. I have mentioned before, but my current work is far busier than my previous job. There is a constant flow of calls that keep me busy. Which is a good thing, because I can really focus on work.

I have also been working very hard at perfecting my skills at the job. I thought that I was good at customer service. And I was. But it had been a long time since I had to really focus on the customer part, instead, I had been focused on the service side of things. So I have been spending the last couple of months focusing on the customer side of the call. Learning new skills and really challenging myself to improve. It was not easy. There were times that I despaired. However, the week before I took this recent vacation I saw the result of all that work. I was promoted to Tier 2, which is the next level at my work and comes with a raise. That was really satisfying. It had been a long time since I had really focused my attention on learning skills specifically for work.

Second, if I think of my mental state as a work in progress, then over the last few months I have moved to a different stage. When I was at my lowest stages of Depression and Anxiety this blog was an outlet. It allowed me to really think through a lot of stuff. It helped me to identify where I was at.

In the last few months, I have begun to actively begin to address what I can in my life to move past those stages. Instead of coping and learning to adapt to who I am, now I am focused on actual improvements. That is a big step. It is about taking preventive steps instead of focusing on protection.

At my work, we have been working our way through the 7 Steps of Highly Effective People. I have been reading my way through the book. Which is helping me work on prevention, instead of reacting to my mental illness.

All of this means that the reason I have not been writing as much is due to my taking a more active role in life. Being proactive about the things in my life that create anxiety and depression. I still have to live with those. But if I work at the 7 steps, I can begin to live more of my life rather than focusing on protecting myself from those dreadful parts of my life.

I plan to keep writing. I hope to use this blog as a space to share the ways I implement the 7 habits. And of course keep up family updates. Stay tuned for more writing. 

It was a whirlwind #Family #Kids


This last week was my first use of Paid time off from my new job. I took the week off to spend time with family. My brother and his family came up to visit for a couple of weeks. I was able to parlay 3 days of PTO into 9 days off from work, due to the holiday week. Which is a nice deal if you can manage it.

I am really glad I did so. I had a really good time with everyone. Did a number of different activities. Had some good food. Good conversations. The cousins were able to spend lots of time together. But now it is time to pause, recuperate, and get ready to resume normal activities. Before I really do so I wanted to take some time today to reflect and review. And I choose to do so with pictures from the week.

There was loads of fun family time. Visiting with each other. Enjoying a birthday celebration for those who we will not see closer to their actual birthdays. Playing on a lake. Exploring a museum. Playing around the house. And some bowling.

There are some missing folks from these pictures. Sorry I could not get good shots of everyone. Of course, those who were missed most were off on their own adventure. Kim and Emily were at the family Girl Scout camp. Which they enjoyed immensely. But they were missed all the same. So I would be remiss if I did not include a picture from the camp:

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As is clear from the pictures, a lot of fun was had by all. It was a good week. Now it is time to resume ‘normal’ life. Or at least time for me to return to work along with Kim. While the kids get to enjoy some true time off with no camps of other activities for at least a week.

 

It was an exciting year, full of fun, challenges, and changes #Kids #Life #Mentalhealth


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First Day

For Emily, it was her last year of Lower El. The last year of Ruch kids for Mrs. Clarice.  It was another good year for her. She continued to be the social butterfly. With friends of all ages. There were challenges, particularly the running club. But she persevered for the most part.

It was another great year of Girl Scouts for her. Kim took over the Troop officially. They had a good year, although it was exhausting just to see Kim on Mondays between Scout meetings. Emily did have a stellar year of cookie sales, reaching her goal of 2000 cookies!

She continues to mature and grow. She is smart as a whip when she wants to apply herself. And is a joy for all her teachers to have in class. She is more than ready for the next level next year though.

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Last Day

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First Day

This was a big year for Danny. First year at a new school. The first year of Middle school. First full year as a Boy Scout. I cannot say enough about how much he has grown this year: mentally, emotionally and physically.

We were a little worried about he would do academically at the new school. There were some initial challenges. But in the end, the picture below is him after accepting awards for the Arrow Club (requires a 3.5 GPA for at least 2 quarters) and Excellence in Social Studies. Turns out he really thrived in a more traditional academic classroom over the openness of the Montessori.

Socially he has also grown, he has made friends at the new school that he enjoys spending time with. And watching him at this last Boy Scout Camp showed me how well he is capable of handling himself in large group settings.

For Boy Scouts, he continues to enjoy himself. Kim has joined him as well as Assistant Scout Master (Yay Super Mom Kim!) He earned his first rank. And seems to enjoy the meetings and being a Scout. Which I think is really good for him.

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Last Day

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First Day

Last, there is this guy. As you can see there was a lot of growth for him. Physically he continues to mature. His first year of High School was full of challenges. There were some successes along the way. And I envision a bright future for him.

James discovered a love of singing this year in Men’s Choir. While not naturally gifted he does enjoy the singing. Which balances out his wrestling to keep him balanced. Wrestling season was solid for a JV year. He continues to enjoy the physical challenge.

Academics were a challenge. Poor study habits, laziness, and health conspired to keep him from realizing his full potential. And then there were the emotional issues.

We finally recognized the symptoms and got James the help he needs as he was diagnosed with Depression (damn genetics.) Of course this after a nearly wasted quarter, many arguments and trials, followed by a scare when he decided to simply run away one night. All is well now on this front.

All of the above were not helped by his learning the challenges of teenage relationships. That contributed to the wasted quarter and the stress that led to the attempt to simply run away.

However, after getting the help that he needed he was able to turn things around. Turning a failing semester into an average Semester. He now has the understanding of what he needs to do in the future to succeed, and I think the emotional balance that is also needed to get there.

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Last Day

It was an interesting school year, to say the least. Made even more interesting by my own life changes as I transitioned to a new job.  We could not have done as well as we did without the aid of Supermom Kim. Here we are at the beginning of Summer break.

The kids all have activities. Summer enrichment programs take up the month of June. Everyone has at least one camp. James starts with his wrestling camp. Then Emily has her first sleep away camp. Later in the summer, Kim joins Emily and then Danny for other Scout camps. While I work, due to the lack of vacation time that comes with a new job.  All in all, life remains good for the most part.

Quick update post #Life #Mentalhealth


Yeah yeah, I know I have not been posting (again.) Life took over the last couple of weekends. Anniversaries, Kids events, weather, celebrations. All of them conspired to take control of my weekend mornings that I usually reserve for writing time.

Look at this space for a couple of big post this weekend. I plan to write a recap of the kid’s school years. Which should be a very interesting analysis. I also have a personal study into the effects of my anxiety on my work and the concept of patience. And with summer vacation beginning I will hopefully have more time for writing moving forward. Stay tuned.

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